The Last Page

Previously I wrote about the love/hate relationship a writer has with “Page One.” Well, just as challenging is “The Last Page.” My Midi-Michigan Romance Writers group holds a contest every year called “I Will Write A Book.” Those who enter pay $5 to get into a drawing for all the money, and to qualify, the entrant must finish a book within that year by November. This year (2016) I’ve entered two books. Just finished the first one, a new Indian romance – and am now working on the second one, which is book #4 to my Outlaw Series. As proof of finishing the book, we have to send in “The Last Page.”

Just as with “Page One,” there are things to love and to hate about “The Last Page.” As far as catching a reader’s eye, I look at “The Last Page” with as much importance as “Page One.” That’s because, believe it or not, when I pick up a book and contemplate buying it, I read The Last Page as well as the first. For me, there is something about that last page that intrigues me. I can tell if the book was memorable, full of romance, if it ended happily, if there is a ring to it that makes me want to cry, even though I don’t know the whole story. I judge a book more by "The Last Page" than the first.

As a writer, what I hate about that last page is that I have to leave my characters. I have to walk out of their lives and re-enter the “real” world. I get very attached to my characters. I walk right into their lives when I am writing and I live with them. Usually I am the heroine. I never write from the outside looking in, but from the inside looking out. When I reach that last page, my characters must go on without me. That’s hard, because for many of my books I have been with those characters thirty years or more. They are my family. So writing that last page is like saying good-bye to my own family – forever. That just makes me cry, and it is the reason I’ve written so many sequels, trilogies and series-type stories. I get to keep going with those same people for years.

I also hate 
The Last Page for the same reason I hate “Page One.” It makes me nervous to know “The Last Page” has to be written in a way to hook my casual reader, because if that reader is like me, he or she will judge my book by “The Last Page,” so writing it can be as challenging as writing “Page One.”

And what do I love about 
The Last Page?  It’s a huge relief! It means I’ve finished yet another book, and after 61 published books, another one just finished, and now starting number 63, that is true R-E-L-I-E-F. That last page, for me, is usually anywhere from page 400 to page 600, and in most cases I had to cut parts just to keep it to those 600 pages.

I love getting up from the chair my butt has been in for hundreds of hours, and sometimes I just stare at my computer and ask myself, “Can I do this again?” Can I sit down and write “Page One” again?

Writing books becomes a roller coaster of emotions and physical challenges. Good days and bad days. Some days the words just flow out like a waterfall, and some days a writer struggles to get two lousy pages written. But in the end, writing “The Last Page” is extremely satisfying. You just stare at it and heave a big sigh, maybe cry, and then you just know you will go on to “Page One” of another book.

Watch for book #3 of my Outlaw Series, LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE, coming in September. I finished that “Last Page” exactly one year ago and started “Page One” of my new Indian romance, for which I wrote “The Last Page” just last night. Now I’m ready to sit down and start “Page One” of Outlaw Series book #4, THE LAST OUTLAW. But contrary to the title, it won’t be my “last” book!

Their Passion Shaped a Nation

Over the years, Jake and Miranda Harkner have endured all the dangers a wild and brutal West could throw at them. Now, settled on their ranch in the beautiful Colorado hill country, they've finally found peace. But for a man like Jake Harkner, danger is always lurking, and the world may not be ready for an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman-turned-legend to hang up his guns.

Threatened by cruel men in search of revenge, the Harkner clan must be stronger than ever before. Yet nothing can stop the coming storm. With the Old West dying around them and the rules of this new world ever-changing, Jake vows to end the threat to his family no matter what it takes...

Even if it means sacrificing himself so his beloved Miranda may live.


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