I hope the holidays are a time where you can relax and enjoy life, but I know that isn’t always the case. For some people, the holidays are a time where life can feel overwhelming and out of control.
If that’s you, then I hope you know it will pass soon and that you aren’t alone.
I have been spending a lot of time over the past month or so reflecting on my writing and on my life. Kind of where I am and where I hope to be.
I have a few ideas and some goals, but to be honest, I take a lot of things day by day. With a full time job and managing my MS, sometimes the best I can do is make it through the day.
I try not to get too down on myself when I can’t finish everything. I want to update my blog weekly and I find that sometimes I can’t even do it monthly.
I want to advertise more to bring in more readers and I can’t always do that.
I want people to love my characters and get into the series and I find more and more people telling me it should end.
But this time of year isn’t about ‘wants’ and I need to take my own advice and relax.
I have been in a bit of a funk while going over some reviews for the series. Nothing new, really, but looking back over some sites where I didn’t even realize there were reviews has brought out my insecurities.
It’s hard to hear people criticize something you love.
I get it, I really do. If I put my stuff out there, I am asking for feedback.
To be honest, I relish it. I love to hear people’s opinions on these characters who I adore.
I am also accustomed to some of the common points of feedback.
These characters can’t catch a break! It’s so unrealistic! People with HIV aren’t sexy!
That last one has taken me a long time to look past and it infuriates me every single time I read it.
But then I get the ones who tell me I have no idea what it’s like for someone having Multiple Sclerosis.
I have to restrain myself from replying to that one- every single time.
I also take reviews as a way to help me improve. It has caused me to reevaluate some of my decisions and go back over some of my stories.
That’s not to say reviews influence plot, but sometimes people bring up amazing points and they are right.
That’s why I pulled Nothing Matters off the shelf over a year ago.
It’s not because people liked or didn’t like it, but more because I realized the development of Jack and Stephanie had become incongruent with who they were in the series.
I wanted them to evolve and change, of course, but the way I wrote them in the beginning didn’t mesh with the characters I see today and I have been reworking it to bring a better and stronger story to begin their connection.
I also wanted to introduce Brittany into that story- not in a physical way, but at least in a way that showed how important she was to Stephanie and Nikki.
Change is good, albeit hard.
I’ve also been told I should have split the series up into two. One before the kids grew up and one after I moved ahead 9 years.
That probably would have worked, but going back and changing that will be a daunting task and one I can’t do just yet.
I am thinking of ending the current series and moving ahead six or seven years to explore the kids as adults.
That’s still in the works.
I have also been working on a few novella’s that will stand alone for some of the characters. I am starting with Julie and Elizabeth and depending on the feedback, more will come.
I am really trying to write one of Bill during his teen years, but it’s challenging, to say the least.
In the meantime, book 27 will be out in February. If you have been with me through it all or have recently started the series, I hope you enjoy this one.
More drama and more danger- that’s my thing, so it becomes my character’s thing.
This book will bring in the new Stephens’ twins (a plot twist I was told was super unrealistic- but honestly- it happens)
It will also begin with a major event impacting David and Ian and by default, Julie, Bill, Josie, Cassie and Desi.
Here is a little preview… And if you received any gift cards for books- mine are all on sale 🙂
Enjoy and please sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this page.
David froze and felt his anger and fear grow.
“Mr. Frank? What are you doing here?”
“You know him?” Ian asked.
“Yeah, so do you. He’s Katie’s father,” David said as he walked closer.
“David, stay back,” Ian said. “Let me handle this asshole.”
“Where is my daughter? Where is my wife? I know you both know where they are.”
“Why would we know?” Ian walked towards David, trying to protect him.
“Because Katherine was supposed to be with him,” he said pointing at David. “She will be fine if you help her. Get her to sleep with you and change her back.”
David was stunned.
“Your daughter is gay,” Ian said. “What the hell is your problem with that?”
The gun crashed across Ian’s face and he fell back, David half catching him.
“Stop it!” David yelled. “What are you doing?”
“It’s stand your ground. You took something of mine and I am perfectly within my rights to get it back,” Samuel said.
Ian stood up and spit out the blood in his mouth.
“Michigan doesn’t have stand your ground and the last time I checked, this is my ground. This is my farm and my barn and you can get the hell out.”
“Give me your phones,” Samuel said.
“No,” David said.
Ian was hit again and David felt his eyes prick with tears. He handed Samuel his phone.
“Get his, too.”
Ian looked at David and nodded it was okay. He gave his phone to David who handed it over.
Samuel smashed them both on the ground.
“Do you feel better now? Did that make you more manly?” Ian asked as he stood up.
“Where is she?”
“She’s happy and living a life full of love and happiness. Why do you even care?” David yelled.
Ian looked at him, silently telling him to be quiet.
“So you do know where she is.”
“David. Go into the kitchen.”
“I’m not leaving you,” David said.
“How sweet,” Samuel said. “All of this can be over if you just tell me where to find my wife and daughter.”
“Why does it bother you so much that she’s gay? What does it even have to do with you?” David asked. “Why can’t you just let her be happy?”
“It’s not natural. God commands a man lie with a woman and that’s the way it is. She’s just confused. I can show her the truth.”
“And how exactly will you do that?” Ian asked as he stood in front of David. “What is your plan?”
“She needs to learn to obey a man. I sent a boy after her and he failed. I’ll try again.”
“You sent Derek after her?” David asked incredulous.
“He was a nice boy who knew his place. You weren’t man enough to do it. Katherine can thank you for my choices.”
“Shut up,” Ian said. “You are a disgusting piece of shit and I am telling you one more time to get out of my barn.”
David reeled from Samuel’s words and he shook his head.
“She’s my friend,” he said almost to himself. “I tried to protect her.”
“You could have protected her,” Samuel said.
“By forcing myself on her? By raping her?” David asked.
“It’s your right,” Samuel said.
“Oh my God!” David cried. “Who says things like that? What is wrong with you? Do you know what happens when someone is raped? It destroys the part of them that saw the world as a safe and welcoming place. It makes them doubt their worth and it takes away their right to choose who and when they want to be with someone,” he said as his tears came.
Ian knew he was talking about Desi and it make him incredibly sad.
“Katie wanted to die because of you,” David continued. “You broke her down in every way and what you said to her made her feel worthless and empty. A father is supposed to love and protect his children no matter what. My dad almost died protecting his family. Dr. Yearling would do anything to protect his daughter. They are the definition of a father. You could learn something from them. You are a terrible excuse for a man. You’re a coward!”
Samuel lunged at David and Ian stepped in and stood in front of him.
“Here, take my keys and go,” Ian said as he tossed David his car keys.
“I slashed your tires. I told you both that I’m not leaving here without information.”
David got scared, really scared.
He wondered what his dad would do.
He had to find a way out of this.
“And as for being a real man? What kind of real man lets his wife go serve in the Army? Did she take your balls with her as fuel? I mean she leaves you to play mommy to a sick daughter? What a pussy.”
David went to say something when Ian put his hand up.
“He’s trying to get a reaction. Just let it go. It doesn’t bother me to hear crap from someone who I think is trash. The day I value his opinion will be the day I’m insane.”
“I bet she can do everything better than you” Samuel continued. “Does she take control in the bedroom too? Does she let you touch her? Maybe that’s why you need to work with large animals. That’s probably the only way you can gain control.”
Ian crossed his arms.
“What’s your plan? Is this just to dazzle us with your intelligent musings on my sex life or is there something that will make you get the hell out? We don’t know where your wife and daughter are. If you’re smart, you’ll get the hell out now.”
Samuel shoved Ian away and held the gun to David’s head.
“Where is she? I know you know.”
David stood frozen and Ian scrambled to his feet, his head spinning. He grabbed a pitchfork and smashed Samuel behind the knees.
“David run! Go!” he yelled and saw Samuel get up and point the gun at David who was still frozen. Ian pushed David out of the way as Samuel fired.
Book 27 will be up for preorder in January.
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