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Saturday, July 30, 2011

From Echoes to Identities...

After test driving a couple of publishers I had the good fortune of finding and subsequently signing with Rebel Ink Press last fall. My first short story with them came in November and after analyzing what I had been doing I revamped a novel I had written and wasn’t happy with and zipped it away to the editor. At the time I was knee deep in a series I’ve dubbed The Sergeants of Echo Company about three marines and their mission to bed three impossibly emotional women. The manuscript I sent E was A Slower, Lower Love and my original intent was to publish it as a stand-alone story. E didn’t have it long before she sent me an email and the opening line was “We need to talk.” Holy bad was it? That was my gut reaction. However, that turned out to be very good news indeed. You see, two lines had E in love with a side character, Logan and she wanted more. That was the beginning of the Delaney brothers series.

So, here I am with a release date for A Slower, Lower Love and no sequels planned out…oh, and the Echo series half finished. What to do? I put Echo aside and started work on the Slower Lower books. In the meantime, a new muse came to live at my house by the name of Bronwyn. She’s a very kinky little thing to say the least. She wears spike heeled boots and carries a whip on her hip, and it just so happens she likes to write BDSM. Now here I am with one series back burnered, trying to get another one complete and here comes Bronwyn wanting to create a series all her own with a serious bent. The little she-devil. Who did she think she was? Needless to say, she’s relentless and in between finishing Kurt’s story and the release of A Slower, Lower Love, Identity Crisis took shape.

Identity Crisis came as freely as water to me and I wrote it in a matter of days. I positively loved writing it and never dreamed it would get the response that it did. I’m new to the BDSM scene as it were and tried very hard to do my research. It paid off. Some of the comments I’ve received are wonderful and most of them include something to the effect that my characters are so believable the ladies wish the men would jump off the page and keep them company a while. And while Ren and Chad did do that for me, Steph did it that much more. He’s the one I want to hop out of the book and introduce himself.

Steph’s story took me a while longer to write. Not only is it twice the length of Identity Crisis, he and Jill have way bigger issues than did Tori, Ren and Chad. And so I find myself half-way through the year with two books released in both series, and the Identity series is getting rave reviews. I started thinking, wow…would the Echo boys have gone over as well? Maybe it was a cosmic intervention that sent me down this path. Whatever the reasons, I’m glad it happened. I’m having a stellar year and wouldn’t change a thing.

As Jillian Stewart pulled her Honda Accord into a parking lot just off a too quiet street in the warehouse district, she peered up at the building looming in front of her in near disbelief. She found an empty spot between two lifted up four wheel drive pick-ups and took the directions out of her purse to confirm the address she’d programmed into her Garmin forty-five minutes prior. Finding that she was indeed at the correct place, Jillian peered out the windshield again. Surely this wasn’t Steele Image. The place looked more like somewhere gangsters would lie in wait in an action movie. Where was the neon sign and bright lights? Where were the throngs of near naked people waiting to go inside? And why was this place nearly out of town? How long would it take for emergency services to get this far out? Jill took pause and questioned not only her safety but her sanity, much as Professor Earlman had when she explained to him what she wanted to do for her graduate thesis project.

“You what?” Dr. Earlman asked Jill, taking his glasses off and tossing them on his desk before leaning forward on his forearms.

“I said I’m going to do an in depth study of the BDSM sub-culture through personal interviews and direct observation coupled with…” Jill paused at the look that crossed Prof’s face. “Prof?”

“I heard you, Jill, I’m just not sure I understand,” he told her, pushing back and swiping a hand over his face. “You…you’re not…you’re so…”

“I’m what? Stiff necked? A stick in the mud? Not suited for this line of work?” Jill demanded, tugging the hem of her more than decent length denim skirt to her knees.

“Well, conservative comes to mind. Not suited to be a sociologist? Hell no. You’ll make a brilliant sociologist. You’re very observant and quite intelligent. If anyone deserves a spot in a doctorate program it’s you. But Jill? Are you prepared for what you’ll encounter during this study?”

“It’s just science, right? Nothing personal. I’m sure as with every other sub-culture, it’ll take some time to assimilate and be welcomed, but being there observing and learning doesn’t necessarily mean fully participating. Does it?”

Taking a deep breath, Jill opened her car door and scooted out. She smoothed her velvety, hunter green skirt down and tucked a strand of jet black hair behind her ear. Giving herself a pep talk, she ran her hand around her waist making sure her fern green silk blouse was tucked in all the way.

“You can do this, Jill. It’s just a few nights of watching and asking questions,” she assured herself, taking a steadying breath. “Purse or no purse?” she pondered. “No purse.” Jill picked up her notepad and adjusting her glasses. Steeling herself, she locked the car and walked toward the entrance.

The heels of her black, open toe pumps clicked on the cracked pavement as she approached an industrial steel door, the only light in the area coming from one dim street lamp nearby. Stopping short, she looked around for a doorbell. Unable to find one, she tapped lightly on the dented surface, listening intently and hearing nothing in return. No footsteps, no voices, no music. Was this a joke? Did that guy she’d tracked down with more tattoos than skin, a rod through his nose and a big fish hook looking thing in his lip, send her on a wild goose chase? He’d said this was a private club. Surely she wasn’t just expected to waltz in like she owned the place.

“You’ve probably been had, Jill,” she said out loud. “You’re pretty gullible and clueless looking. Wonder if the guy I’m supposed to talk to is even real?”

Jill held her ground a few minutes longer and knocked again a bit louder. Just as she determined it was useless and backed up to go, she found herself bouncing off another body. A hard as a rock body to be exact. Gasping, she whirled around and looked straight into a bare chest. Slowly she raised her eyes and looked up until she stared into a set of dark, almost menacing eyes.

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Lila Munro


Anonymous said...

I like your unusual, edgy characters. Cool stuff! Rina

Anonymous said...

Having an enthusiastic response to one series is a great excuse for having to delay another series. Good luck with all of your series.

User1123 AT comcast DOT net

Na said...

Wow, I'm impressed you wrote "Identity Crisis" in only a matter of days. Though I can understand it. Sometimes a story just comes to you and everything flows, No blocks and hurdles. Other times a series takes longer to develop but the end result for both books can still be great stories.

Robin said...

Those look like great stories!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com