I could say something trite about how time flies (it does) but holy shit, I can not believe it’s been two years since I published Corrupting Cinderella!
I chose December 2nd for a couple of reasons. One, I have this weird obsession with even numbers (12-02-14 how perfect is that!?) Two, it was a Tuesday. Most importantly, though, and what sealed it for me, is that December 2nd was my grandmother’s birthday.
A lot of my favorite books were given to me by my grandmother (or I “borrowed” them from her bookshelf, shhhh!) Flowers in the Attic, Lace, Watchers by Dean Koontz (this one she asked my mother if it was okay for me to read because it was a little scary), Hollywood Wives. Those are the few that really stand out. She introduced me to my first romance novels. Back then you could visit one of the local used bookstores and walk out with a bagful of books (still they were more expensive then than books are now!) and my grandmother would do this at least twice a month.
We never read books together or discussed them. But she’d hand me certain ones she’d think I would enjoy and I usually did. My favorites went on my “keeper” shelf and didn’t get returned to the used book store. My mother had been an English major and taught English for a while, so she didn’t really “get” our love of romance novels. Since I’d gone through a period where I refused to read anything at all, she was just happy I was reading something. My mother always hoped I’d read “better things” when I grew up (sorry, Mom!)
I’m not sure what my grandmother would think of the Lost Kings. She was a devout Catholic, but she definitely had a romantic streak. The foul language probably would have made her shake her head. She was fond of tall men (my grandfather was over 6ft) so I think she probably would have liked my guys.
Today, I can’t pick a favorite Lost Kings book. They’re all special to me for various reasons. But I really love Cinderella. Mr. Lake watched me finish the first draft of it while I was suffering from a wicked cold. It was our 12-year wedding anniversary and he felt bad that he couldn’t take me out. I worked on edits while at a writer’s conference in New Jersey and lugged troubling chapters with me to one of the master class workshops. Cinderella’s opening party scene is where Wrath harasses Hope–it’s still one of my absolute favorite scenes in the series, and I remember I couldn’t wait to tell it from Wrath’s point-of-view in Tattered on my Sleeve (I had already written a draft of it earlier in the summer). Cinderella also has Wrath’s big fight scene, which was the first piece of the Lost Kings I was brave enough to show my new critique partners–who I’ve now been working with for two-and-a-half years. I loved Corrupting Cinderella, because every single scene hinged on the one before it. At the time, I was still struggling with hitting all the romantic “beats” a story is “supposed” to have and I think it shows a little bit (maybe a lot–I’m not really objective). I know it isn’t some people’s favorite. They get frustrated with Hope’s actions. To me, all her actions made perfect sense. They still do. They were exactly the way I would have reacted if thrown into the same situations. Some people claim Hope’s really me. I’m not sure what they’re talking about. Maybe fiction isn’t supposed to mirror our real-life behavior too much. However, I’ve always believed a the appeal of a romance hero is his ability to see the heroine for precisely who she is, and to love her in spite of her flaws. I think Rock does that flawlessly throughout Corrupting Cinderella.
Today, I’m also celebrating that I sent my second draft of White Knuckles (Lost Kings MC #7) (SEVEN!) back to my very patient editor. I still think it needs a little more tweaking. Wrath has been punishing me for all the evil things I do to him in this book. I should be ready to announce a release date soon. The cover is finished, and I can not wait to show it off! I think it’s really beautiful and captures the essence of the book perfectly. I’ve been having fun spending time with LOKI and learning new things about my characters. I’m not sure if every author revels in their made up worlds and loves their books as much as I do or I’m just odd. Last night I told myself I wasn’t going to read White Knuckles for at least a week, so I could go into it with fresh eyes. Then this morning, the first thing I wanted to do was pull it up on my Kindle and read it all over again.
I’m worried it’s too sweet in some parts, too violent in others, too dirty, too much sex, too much…whatever. A little voice in my head keeps whispering: No one wants an update on Heidi or Murphy. No one cares what Z’s been up to. No one is waiting to find out how Teller is doing. No one’s wondering if Lilly will show up at the wedding. No one wants to find out who Grace and Chance are. My doubts are endless.
I can say this–it’s well known among my writer friends that Autumn frequently bursts into giggles while she’s writing and by now my writing partners know to just ignore me when it happens. Mr. Lake still finds it funny and usually asks “is it Wrath?” Last night I was reading over a certain scene that I’ve already read a bunch of times, and started laughing.
I freaking love this book and I think LOKI fans will too.