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To Series or Not To Series

Let me preface this by saying that I love series.  I mean, really love series.  When there are multiple books with the same MCs and we get to see them repeatedly on their adventures and watch them grow and change.  What I might love even more is when we meet secondary characters along the way who then in turn get their own stories.  That way, we get to see the couples we’ve met previously as secondary characters and get to see that they are still going strong, but we also get to get new and different stories that take place in the same “world” and get to see characters that we’ve already met find their own happy ever afters.

I have a tendency to think in series.  I don’t know why I even pretend that anything is going to be a one-off.  Because even when I write something with the intent of it being a single title, it always changes.  Probably because I love to read them so much.  It inevitably happens.  Always.  The side characters start clamoring for their own stories to be told.

Monday night, before I dragged my ass to bed for the night, I made it to 25K words.  I left it hanging at that point because sleep was imperative.  As I was drifting off to sleep, my mind was writing the scene that I would write last night.  A new character was introduced and I started figuring out where he fit in.  How he was connected to my MCs and what his role would be.  By the time I fell asleep, I was happy with where it was going and I knew by the time I got home from work yesterday I’d be ready to write it.  But when I woke up yesterday morning, a curious thing happened.  I knew the new character.  I knew how he fit in with my MCs and what his role would be.  But he started talking…letting me know that he’d be open to his own tale.  Once I got this one finished, of course.

Honestly, I have no idea why I was surprised.  But I was.  For a few minutes there, I was completely shocked.  And then I very politely but firmly told New Guy to can it.  Because as much as I would love to hear his story, I am currently focused on something else.  My brain is firmly entrenched with Nick and Owen.  So he needed to take a back seat…as least as far as his own romance was concerned.  But I was happy to hear anything he had to say about Owen.  He obliged and is currently sitting in the back corner of my brain, ready to jump in whenever I need him.

I’m not going to say anything definitive right at this moment.  But thus far, things to be going smoothly.  And I might just jump right into another story as soon as I finish this one.  We’ll see.  But Joe?  He’s got a big mouth.  And he’s loud.  And kindhearted and helpful.  And he just wants to find someone who will love him with no agenda.

What do you think?  Are you a fan of series?  Or would you rather read something completely separate every time?

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Productive

I’ve taken up the NaNoWriMo challenge and the muse has been with me.  In three days, I’ve written 16,500 words.  This might not seem like a big deal to you but to me?  Huge.  I’ve never written so many words in such a short time.  I feel very accomplished.

I’m doing things a little bit differently from my norm this time around.  Normally, when I write, I spend a lot of time going back reading over what I’ve written.  I’m constantly editing as I go along; changing sentences, moving scenes, contemplating word choices.  But this time?  I’m not worrying about what I’ve written…at least not like that.  Of course I care about it for continuity sake but I’m just writing the story as it is in my head.  I’ll go back and edit and worry about all those things after I’m done.  I’ll do the polishing after I’ve gotten the whole story on the page, not during the process like I usually do.

I think it’s helping.  Because I’ve gotten more written in the last three days than I ever have at one time before.  See the little progress bar on the left?  It estimates I’m 33% done with the story, if the end result is actually going to end up being 50,000 words.  That’s the goal.  But right now?  There still so much story left to tell that it might even be longer.   But I’m not even worrying about that so much.  Yes, the goal is 50, 000 and I intend to make that.  But I’m telling the story as it’s meant to be told and if that means I get 30,000 words or 80,000 words, then that’s what it is.

Nick and Owen’s story will be what it is meant to be.  I’m giving it shape, but really, I’m just along for the ride.

But can I just say this?  It feels incredibly good to be writing, to be making progress.  I’ve been…in a slump in regards to that lately.  I haven’t managed to get much on the page since I finished Hero Worship, the bulk of the writing for which I did during the summer, and Just polished in August.  Submitted in September.  Accepted in October.  It’s been a bit of a whirl wind, with Worth It and Hero Worship.  And everything that I’ve thought of and written down since and seemed like crap.  So those stories weren’t meant to be told.  At least, that’s what I tel myself.  But this one?  Yeah, it wants to be written.  Who knows what will happen when I’m finally done.  But it wants to be told and that has me feeling pretty good.  I’m going to ride that high for as long and as far as I can.

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

There was frosting everywhere—in my hair, on my skin and clothes, all over the counter, the mixer, the backsplash.  It was on every conceivable surface except for the cake.  I stared in dismay at the disaster that was our kitchen.  This was what I got for trying to actually cook.

It was his birthday, as well as our 5th anniversary, and all I had wanted was to make a nice dinner and a cake to celebrate.  He did all the cooking because I was completely inept.  But I thought even I could handle cake from a box and frozen lasagna.

I had been wrong.

I’d left the pan in the oven too long and now the lasagna was a bit burnt around the edge.  Salvageable but not the most tasty of dinners.   An open window had taken care of the worst of the burnt smell.  And I had managed to get the cake baked, even if it was lopsided, and cooling on a wire rack.  It was after I’d pulled the smoking lasagna from the oven that I realized I had forgotten to buy frosting.  A panicked call to my mother and she gave me a recipe for butter cream frosting.  Easy enough: butter, confectioner’s sugar (which I was surprised to find we actually had) and a little milk.   It was just mixing the ingredients in a bowl.  How hard could that be?

I learned quickly that stand mixers had speed settings for a reason.  Once everything was churning slowly in the bowl and nearly mixed, I thought it would be a good idea to speed up the process.  Whipping the dial to high had been a bad, bad mistake.

And now, he would be home soon, I had frosting everywhere, the cake wasn’t decorated, and the table wasn’t set.  I’d had this plan and now everything was ruined.  Panic started to creep up my throat but a glance at the clock assured me that I had enough time to get dinner on the table and get cleaned up before he got home from work.  He’d never be the wiser if I could keep him out of the kitchen.  A deep breath, and I set to work.  Remembering to leave the mixer on low, I added more butter and sugar until I thought I might have enough to cover the cake.  A few minutes later it was done, and I was glopping the stuff on top of the chocolate confection, spreading it a bit haphazardly.  If he asked, I’d say it was supposed to be funky and artistic.  I’d blame Pinterest, he’d believe me.

The slamming of the front door sounded a second before I heard him call out, “Babe?  I’m home.”

I gave a very unmanly-like eep and raced into the hallway, blocking his view of the kitchen.  He was sorting through the mail.  “You’re early.”

“Yeah, I decided to…” he trailed off as he looked up.  A smirk crossed his lips. “What the hell happened to you?  Did you get into a food fight?”

Crap!  I’d forgotten I was a hot mess.  I gulped as I blushed furiously.  “I was trying to cook dinner.  You know, to celebrate.  But it was a total fail.  The lasagna got a little burned and the frosting exploded.  I think the cake is edible but it’s lopsided and—“

The feral look in his eye made me stop talking.  I swallowed hard as he prowled closer.  He didn’t stop until he was right up in my personal space.  His hands clamped down on my hips and he arched his neck forward until he could lick a long stripe up my cheek.  I shivered.

“Tastes good,” he murmured, his voice low and sultry.

“That’s—that’s good.  I tried to—ughn.”  This time he was licking the frosting off the edge of my jaw.  Arousal shot through me and that fast, I was hard.

“How about,” he began, his lips right at my ear, “we get you cleaned up?  You’ll probably need my help.  Who knows where all this frosting ended up?  I should probably inspect you very carefully, to be sure we get it all.”

I grabbed his hand and dragged him up the stairs.  Dinner could totally wait.