Well, I know it’s time I did some blogging but I’ve been in “down time” after finishing DO NOT FORSAKE ME (coming in 2015). I am forcing myself not to start editing the book yet because I know that the minute I do, I’ll fall right back into not being able to get away from the story and I won’t get anything else done. I miss Jake so bad I can hardly stand it! But it’s spring, and believe me, this year spring means a lot here in Michigan after one of the coldest, snowiest winters EVER!!! Never have I so appreciated green grass and buds on the trees and warm air. Mother Nature has a way of beautifully recovering from such harsh winters, and everything is beginning to look normal again. I managed to get some spring cleaning done, both inside the house and in the yard, so it’s time to put out all the lawn furniture and hang some flowers and just sit outside and enjoy the sound of birds again. We have a row of huge pine trees along the border in our back yard, and the birds nest in there by the hundreds. It’s a wonderful sound. Rabbits also like to burrow underneath those trees in winter and now I’m seeing a lot of baby rabbits hopping around.
Yet all the while that I enjoy getting outside and working in the yard and walking and enjoying the warmth, Jake and DO NOT FORSAKE ME are in the back of my mind – constantly. “Come back,” Jake and his family keep telling me. “Get this story completely ready for publishing.”
“But if I come back, then I’ll have to leave you all over again,” I reply. Yes, I’m a complete crazy woman. Crazy! I really think this way! When I get this involved in a story I literally lose touch with reality. I am not making this up or exaggerating. This is why I put off getting back to this story. I have written many books that I can take or leave with no problem, but there are some stories that just pull me in completely, and this was one of them. So was the first book, OUTLAW HEARTS, twenty years ago. I tried to stay away from that story for a long time afterward, but for these twenty years since I wrote it I knew I had to write a sequel. I just couldn’t find an editor/publisher who wanted me to do that until Sourcebooks came along and asked me to do it. I have never been so happy with a sale in my entire writing career.
However, writing the sequel to OUTLAW HEARTS meant getting back into Jake’s life, and I knew what would happen. I knew I’d get completely lost in this man and his family to the point of writing for hours a day without getting up from the computer, which for me leads to lower back problems. Even when I do get up and return to “real life” I don’t sleep because all night long I think about the story and the next chapter, and the next chapter, and Jake and his wife and his kids. When I get this involved I lose weight because I sometimes can’t even eat. Yes, that’s how crazy I am when it comes to writing.
Another thing I suspected would happen DID happen – I want to write a third book and make this a trilogy. When you read the ending of DO NOT FORSAKE ME, you will see how easily this could lead into a third book, which would primarily be about Jake’s son and his family. By the end of Book #2 you will be completely “into” Lloyd Harkner and want to know what happens with him. I have also contemplated a fourth book, which would be about Jake’s grandson “Little Jake,” who plays an important role in DO NOT FORSAKE ME. By a fourth book “Little Jake” would definitely no longer be “little.” He’d be all grown up and just as big and strong and good looking as his grandfather was. In DO NOT FORSAKE ME Little Jake is only three years old, but he’s a wild little hellion (grampa’s blood!) who causes a bit of havoc for his mother (Jake’s daughter Evie) and for his grandpa. As I wrote this story I knew that someday I would have to write a story about Little Jake!
Yes, my characters have a way of becoming so real to me that I hate leaving them and I literally miss them when I finish a book, which is why I’ve written so many series stories and trilogies. I absolutely must go on with these stories. I honestly believe that when I die I am going to meet some of these people – Zeke and Abbie Monroe from my SAVAGE DESTINY series, and Jake and Randy Harkner from OUTLAW HEARTS and DO NOT FORSAKE ME. I could name several other heroes and heroines I feel really existed and whom I will meet some day, but you already think I’m nuts, so I’ll just leave it at these who are the most outstanding for me.
Meantime, I am wrestling with yet another character who has lived with me for twenty years. This guy is Native American and the story would be contemporary. I just don’t know yet quite how to handle this guy because his story is – are you ready? – a grand mixture of a Christian story, very hot sex, Native American, some violence, AIM, the BIA, and, oh, gosh, so many elements to this story that I’m not sure in what category the book would fit if it ever got published. It’s very, very intense, involves drugs, guns, romance, intrigue, suspense, a Catholic Lakota man who is very “into” his Native American heritage and is a chanter and fancy dancer - falling in love with a very hot, very blond, Protestant woman from New England whose father is a preacher. See? Crazy, I know, but it’s a really hot, hot and action-packed love story that has also been brewing in my head for about 20 years, just like the sequel to Jake’s story did. So I really have to write this book, too, but I’ve been through so many scenarios for this guy that I have to get my act together on just how I will handle this book.
Well, this is your latest blog from this very crazy writer. Think of me as nuts if you want, but I think you have to be a little nuts to be a writer, because most writers are far removed from the real world when they are “into” a story. I’m sure most other writers out there would agree with me that we are all a bit strange. I, for one, believe all my characters really lived. They just “visit” me in spirit form and ask me to write their story. And who wants to argue with ghosts?
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Publishers Weekly Review
"This Western historical is chock-full of danger, with families set on a vendetta, the threat of Emma’s stepfather, and the daily demands of Mitch’s job, but Emma is no wilting lily, proving she is a match for Mitch in every way."
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