Congrats to DRE who won the giveaway!
I’m going to start this post with the good stuff – a giveaway. Who doesn’t love a giveaway? 🙂
To help celebrate On Top Down Under Book Reviews’ 4 year anniversary and the November 1st release of Blake the Rogue Reindeer & His Cocky Human, I stopped by with a post about Willy’s world. Expect a bit of silliness about Willy and the gang and lots of goodies that I’ll be giving away to one person who comments on the post. What goodies, you ask? The winner will be given a choice of either signed paperbacks or e-copies of Willy the Kinky Elf & His Bad-Ass Reindeer and Evan the Virgin Reindeer & His Sexy Buck, a ‘Willy’ magnet, an ‘Evan’ magnet, a ‘Blake’ magnet, a reusable bag with Blake’s cover on it, an ‘I touch my elf” key chain, a “Santa is a butt head!” magnet, courtesy of Willy, and a ‘Santa Claus Naughty Member’ postcard. The giveaway will run from now until the end of the month, so make sure you pop in and leave a comment on the giveaway post and congratulate On Top Down Under for 4 great years! You can find the post here.
As I’ve already said all over the place, this story never would’ve happened had a fellow author not started a little campaign for me to write it after he read Evan the Virgin Reindeer & His Sexy Buck (‘Willy’ #2) and fell for the bad guy. I know, right? 🙂 Blake Simpson was a major jerk in that story and was never supposed to be seen or heard from again. If you’re interested in seeing what was said that pushed me to give Blake his story, you can find the Goodreads review here. The thought was put in my head and it didn’t take long before I had the entire story, from start to finish, planned out. I knew what I wanted to say. I knew who all the players would be and even the so-called drama of the story. Heck, I even knew exactly how Blake would atone for all his bad actions. Easy enough, right? Well, not quite.
That’s what I’ve shared publicly about the making of the 3rd installment in Willy’s world.
Here’s what I haven’t…
I wrote 10,000 words of this story without missing a beat. This was back in December of last year, I think? Everything was flowing smoothly until one day it just wasn’t. I’d had to change one of the characters 3 times. It was a back and forth thing that had me throwing my hands up on the story for a little while. Oh, I was still going to write it. No way was I not going to. But those 10,000 or so words sat on my laptop for around 7 months. I’d go into the manuscript, get frustrated, then get out of it again. I felt pressure because here it was July and I was only a few short months from publishing a story that was only a third or fourth of the way done. I wasn’t blank (re: writer’s block), but it just wasn’t coming together for me. Nothing I did would change that. I said above that I knew exactly what the story would be about from start to finish. That didn’t change. I knew what I wanted to say but I just couldn’t get the words on the manuscript to come together.
A few months ago I wrote a blog post that briefly covered addiction in the ‘personal’ section of the post. I’d stated that I’d already lost one close family member to it and that I was very close to losing another. I lost that person in late July – a little over a month after that post was published. And strangely, what is Blake’s story about? Addiction. That wasn’t planned, by the way. When I wrote Blake’s character in ‘Evan’ I added his addictions as the cause of his actions because my original version of him was not redeemable in any way. I’m not making light of what caused him to do what he did. What I’m saying is that the original Blake Simpson was so bad that I had to go back and rewrite him completely because the series is written to be (mostly) light and he wasn’t light in any way. Suffice it to say that had I kept him as he was there would be no Blake the Rogue Reindeer & His Cocky Human.
After my family member’s death, I was told by a fellow author to WRITE. Even if it was the worst stuff I’ve ever written and would never been seen by anybody but me… just write. And my best friend, who I’ll go to my grave being thankful for, agreed. Anything that would help me through it, you know? Writing has always been my therapy but I didn’t think it would work this time. Strangely, it did. Days after the funeral I again pulled up the manuscript for ‘Blake’. I expected to have the same, “Here we go again.. ugh!” attitude that had plagued me for months over the story. That didn’t happen. I reread the first 10,000 words and started writing and didn’t stop. I wrote so much that by the time 3 or 4 days had passed I had written over 30,000 new words and typed THE END. Not just typed those two words, but was very happy with what I’d written. The final word count is close to 42,000 words. I’ve had what I call my crazy writing frenzies in the past where I’ve written one short story after another over a period of days. What I’ve not ever done is what I did with Blake and Seth’s story. As messed up as my mind was over the death in my family, things still clicked with these guys that hadn’t in the months prior. The story was coming together so quick I couldn’t type the words fast enough.
I honestly don’t know how I was able to string two sentences together, much less write as much as I did during those few days. I’m not complaining. This world saved me in a way I never could’ve anticipated and I’ll forever be grateful for it. I hope you all enjoy the story. It has the silly moments you’ve learned to expect from Willy and the others, but there are also a few serious ones as well. I started the story wondering how on Earth I’d be able to redeem Blake and ended up loving him before it was over. I hope you all feel the same.
Dealing with another loss is a day by day thing. Maybe someday I’ll devote more to that on here but I’m just not able to right now.
The rest of 2016 –
In the past I’ve blogged about updates of other stories. Some are even completed and really close to being published. However, in the coming weeks I will only be focusing on Blake the Rogue Reindeer & His Cocky Human. My apologies to those who are waiting on specific stories I’ve blogged about (Finding Alex, for one) but I’m simply not in the right frame of mind at this point to devote to those releases. That may change in the coming weeks. If so, I’ll let you know. I hope you understand. It’s not completing the stories. I think I could do that without a problem at this point. It’s everything that goes into getting a book ready to publish – editing, covers (that I personally create), and lots of other things that go on in the background.
If you’ve followed me to this point you know that I’m not really one to get too personal publicly. I try to keep things light as much as I can. I’m hoping I’m providing ‘light’ in Blake and Seth’s story. I’m so damn proud of these guys and there are no words for how much I adore Blake now. The story could bomb with readers (though I REALLY hope it doesn’t) and that wouldn’t take away how thankful I am for their story… and them helping me to get through a very difficult time in my life. And to add to that? Installment #4 has already had 6,000 words written. That’s over a year in advance to those who are counting. 🙂 There’s something about that crazy world that’s good for me at the moment and I’m going to run with it while I can.
In Closing –
I’m good. Really! My best friend and family won’t let me have down moments for long and I’m not one to sit and dwell if I’m able to focus on other things. A lot of you have been with me from the very beginning so I felt you should know a little about what’s been happening behind the scenes over the past few months.
I’ve said this before but again it bears repeating – thank you to every person who has asked for more of my warped Christmas world. You embraced my kooky version of Santa and his wife (and the others) and there are no words for how much that means to me.
For the blurb, pre-order links, and more information about Blake the Rogue Reindeer & His Cocky Human, you can check out my last blog post here. The official release date is November 1st. Thank you to all who’ve already pre-ordered it. You guys rock! 🙂
And to those who have an ARC of the story – yes, it’s okay to publish your reviews before the release date. I’ve already gotten one amazing one that you can find here. I just ask that you please not give away Seth’s secret or other spoilers. The secret may not be that big of a deal to some in the grand scheme of things but it plays a bit part in pretty much everything that happens in the story in regards to him and Blake.
Until next time,