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1246997_65977320Title: Stone & Chains

Summary: (working) Abby Stone has been saving victims of demonic entities and cults ever since she left home to look for her father, an angel now bound in stone to a cemetery in the mystical hot spot city of Meridian. As a night nurse, she also saves people in the clinic with the power of healing that she inherited from her unusual lineage.

Between reformed-demon gargoyle Zekiel, who has joined her in her efforts, and the charming incubus Charles who calls her nephil-child – the child of a fallen angel, which angers and confuses her – but has still set his eyes on her, her life in Meridian is certainly interesting. With harbingers of apocalypse rattling the city of bones and blood, Abby could stand for things to be less interesting.

Notes:

I was eight days off from my original, self-imposed deadline. Mentally, I was ready to be done eight days ago, so it was a little more difficult to push myself to write, even though the words flowed as soon as I started typing.

However, 100k words in a little over a month is no small shakes. The truth is, that’s pretty amazing. And I didn’t miss my deadline because I just wasn’t motivated. It was physically uncomfortable for me to sit down in front of a computer, and I had no control over that. I have to take care of myself, too, not just my manuscript. The ms will always be there when I’m better.

Now that I’m finished with the novel, I’m still unsure where I stand on S&C. I think I might have written myself into a burnout and may not be able to view S&C with an objective eye. I had fun writing most of it, but fun doesn’t always equal good. Maybe I’m just discouraged from the nos I received for FORCES OF NATURE, which I thought was good but had a lot of problems. Maybe I’ve just lost a little confidence in my abilities to write and discern a good story.

Even so, I wrote the story that’s been in my head for over a year. I flirted with blasphemy by twisting theology to fit my story of angels and demons, not to mention writing all of that in a very sexual story. I revisited the realm of shame and guilt as tied into sexual desire, although not quite to the same punishing degree of ARCANIUM. All in all, S&C was definitely more of a gothic, urban fantasy romance in comparison to the erotic horror of ARCANIUM, although they both address similar spiritual themes of punishment and atonement.

It was a pleasure to work with Abby Stone, my protagonist, since she was far more optimistic and less cynical than Maya. So Abby could take a licking and still bounce right back up. Sure, S&C detailed a bad week for her, but she showed greater resilience against it, whereas Maya ended up absorbing into it, which just goes to show how the differences in genre affect the outcomes.

Something a little new for me was writing characters more closely aligned with their respective genders. It’s not that Renee and Britt and Kelly and Maya aren’t feminine and Grant and Malcolm and Bell aren’t masculine. Far from it. But for the first time, I have a protagonist in S&C who is all about caretaking and nurturing and a romantic partner who is a warrior and very protective. There’s some overlap, but it’s just so much more pronounced than in other stories of mine. I don’t mind, since that’s who those characters are, but it’s just different for me.

I think the closest I get is Maya and Bell, but that’s a little different, because Bell is a dominating villain in addition to being a romantic interest, and he’s just so much more powerful than Maya that the power dynamic is naturally going to be unequal. But just because Maya’s weaker doesn’t make her automatically submissive the whole book, and she’s often angry and cynical and snarky, which isn’t “typical” feminine. I don’t know. I guess I’m thrown by writing something a little closer to conventional romance. Like I said, I don’t mind and I love my characters the way they are. Of course, throwing Charles into the mix makes it a little more me, because that sets the conventional romance right off, given he’s seducing both Abby and Zekiel.

I only have one question left after finishing S&C, so I might have to add an epilogue, but for now I’m leaving it as it is.

In conclusion, I’m unsure whether S&C is good, but I think it’s decent, and it was certainly enjoyable, and I didn’t like all those days I had to not write. I’m also looking forward to getting down and dirty in the editing for a number of stories in this next quarter.

Time for statistics! :)

Final word count: 102,529 words

Projected word count: 75,000 words

Number of chapters: 21

First line: “I think that’s all for now,” Abby said as she closed the hardback and looked between her two charges.

Largest number of sexual participants at once: 2, this stayed pretty tame in comparison to the gangbangs and orgies of some of my other novels. Not even a threesome.

Number of sex scenes: 12.5 (a .5 for two steamy kissing moments)

COMING UP NEXT: Editing ARCANIUM and probably CRY WOLF in the middle of that.