DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE DAILY GIVEAWAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!
I have two posts going up today, so if you get these emails and this pisses you off, I promise, I won’t do it again. 🙂 I just have so much to say! First, there was that new Marketing Tip Monday post. It’s linked in the sidebar if you’re interested. That post is for authors, this post is for fans. And this post is the first in a series of blog posts I’m doing this week called End of Book Shit Take Three. I did Take Two on my book blog, New Adult Addiction, last year before 321 released. That’s a little over a year and a half, really. And it was fun for me, and the fans, to revisit the books from the previous year by writing a new EOBS. (End of Book Shit, for those unfamiliar) The EOBS is where I get to say anything I want about the story I just wrote. Fans eat it up. They just love to hear about my crazy plotting process and how everything came to be. Especially with some of the twisted shit I write.
Last year I wrote and published six novels and one novella:
I think a year is a good time to go back and think about how it felt to write these stories. Sexy’s one-year anniversary is coming up in a few weeks, so I’m a little early for 18, Anarchy, and HEA… but that’s OK. I have time this week before I have to to all the promo for Corporate and then bust out Mr. Mysterious by the end of the month to stay on schedule. So I need to do things like this when I have the chance.
So… three, Two, One. Jesus Christ. I had no clue this book would have the effect it did on people. I’m not going to give spoilers, so if you haven’t read it, don’t worry. But holy fuck – that ending, right? I really didn’t think JD would be so likeable when I started writing this book, but as I went through the process I realized he had to be likeable to make it all work. And that’s how the dual nature of Blue, Ark, and JD’s relationship got it dynamics. I’m glad people loved JD. I loved writing him even though I made that character, and named him, after my gym trainer, James, because he was (literally) torturing me one night at the gym by making me do these god-fucking-awful push-ups. I already had a James in The Company Books, so I couldn’t use James, and decided on JD after he told me his middle name was David. I came to find out later that James’ family all call him JD, not James. So that was a pretty cool twist of fate.
I gave him a copy and he and another trainer promptly sat down in the office to snicker at all the sex scenes. LOL. Fucking James. I sort of miss him because I stopped going to the gym last summer because it was too far away. Anyway…
So the one scene that stands out for me in 321 isn’t any of the sex scenes. Disappointing, I know. It’s the scene about the golden monkey escaping from the Denver Zoo. Most of the time when I’m writing I get ideas based on something that really happened to me and I swear to God, I was at the zoo once with my ex and the kids when they were small, and a golden monkey got out. I might be making this up, who knows what’s real anymore, after so many fictional stories have gone through my head. But I swear, a little monkey got out and there staff members were looking for it.
That’s the only part of that scene that “might” be real. LOL. The rest was my imagination. But I love this scene because it perfectly captures what’s really happening in this book. 321 is not about the menage sexual relationship, it’s about saving people who maybe don’t deserve to be saved. And I love that readers got this instinctively.
It’s such a tough call deciding who deserves salvation, isn’t it? I was watching a show called Lock Up the other day and they had this prisoner on who killed his mother back when he was a teenager. It was years and years later and the show was about him getting to adopt a cat as a reward for good behavior. Also about how he went on to get his high school diploma, a bachelor’s degree, and was working on a master’s degree.
And even though I know he killed his fucking mother, I felt like… he deserves something other than the life he got. Maybe he deserves salvation. Maybe he deserves forgiveness and a second chance. It doesn’t matter at this point, he’s in for a long time and even if he did get parole, the odds are against him. He’ll probably never make it in the outside world because he’s been institutionalized. There were a few other guys on that program who I kind of felt the same way about. One I didn’t. He scared the fuck out of me. But it all felt so hopeless at the end because it’s far too easy to fuck up once you’re out on parole. They almost all end up back in prison once they get out.
I hate that word, BTW. Hopeless. It’s horrible.
But JD’s life was like that guy with the cat. He did something so horrific in the past, and no, he didn’t go to prison, but he probably should have. Then Ark comes along and takes him under his wing. Ark has a savior complex, so JD fits right into his worldview. And that friendship was one of the most important things about this book. These two best friends loved each other. It wasn’t sexual before Blue came along, but it was love. And love is what carries this whole horrific story that poured out of me in 321. None of it works if there wasn’t a strong bond between the three characters.
So the scene with the Monkey (I’ve linked the audio below, so you can listen to it if you want). That scene was all about Ark explaining to Blue that she might be worth saving. That he could save her, if she let him. If she just trusted him with her story. And that every life has value. He used the parable of saving the monkey–giving up a significant amount of his and JD’s “new money” to help it live, even though it was about to be euthanized the day it escaped–to saving JD, and his offer to Blue.
I hate to say everyone deserves saving because I don’t think it’s true. And I hate to say no one deserves saving because I don’t think that’s true either. I feel bad for people who make big mistakes when they are young and forfeit their lives to prison or the death penalty. But I feel equally bad for victims. So where is the middle ground? I don’t know. But I think justice prevails. Somehow, some way justice prevails. And I think justice prevailed in 321 as well. I think everyone got the ending they deserved. I wasn’t a perfect ending. It might not even be a happy ending (that’s still up for debate, I think). But it was a deserved ending.
I didn’t know the monkey’s life history when I wrote that scene, so I didn’t know if it really deserved to be saved. But I knew the monkey was a symbol of hopelessness. It knew it was sick, it knew it was dying, and it took once last grab at the brass ring and won. I can respect that, you know? I can respect anyone who hits rock bottom and makes once last attempt to fight for what they want, deserved or not.
So that’s why I have this love for that scene about the monkey. It’s the entire theme of Three, Two, One all wrapped up into a few pages. It’s succinct, it evokes an emotional response, it sets up what will happen next, and it’s heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It’s the beginning of the menage relationship between Blue, Ark, and JD. And even though JD wasn’t even in the scene, he’s the whole point of the scene. In fact, I’ve come to realize, JD’s salvation is the whole point of this book. It’s not about Blue saving her friend or Ark getting revenge. It’s about saving someone who is lost. Someone who doesn’t want to be saved.
I’m so happy that 321 touched people the way it did me. I don’t think it’s my “best-written book” by any means. I think Wasted Lust was plotted better and I think Come Back has the best character (Sasha, anyone). I think 18 has a perfect happy ending and I’d put Lincoln the supervillain up against any character DC Comics has written. But 321 has heart. It’s got pure emotion. It’s got hope and hopelessness at the same time. It’s got everything that makes readers sigh at the end of a book. So thank you everyone who read it, enjoyed it, reviewed it, and came back for more. Thank you.
Tomorrow I’ll have the EOBS Take Three for Meet Me In The Dark. God, I have not thought much about crazy-ass Merc since I finished writing that book, but looking back a year later gives me a lot of new perspective on what that story meant to me, and to readers. I thought I’d be crucified in reviews for writing some of those violent scenes. But you know what? MMITD has almost 500 reviews and only two of them are one stars. That shocks me. But it makes me very happy too. Because my books are all about the theme. And readers got it. So much to say about Meet Me In The Dark. Don’t miss it. Click that little button below to follow this blog and I’ll send it right to your email.
And don’t forget to listen to The Monkey Scene in the 321 audio and enter the giveaway below. And don’t forget, if you’ve never had an audiobook before, your first book is FREE when you sign-up for the trial. Just click the Audible link below to get the whole 321 story.
Three, Two, One (321): (A Dark Suspense)
Now a NYT and USA Today BESTSELLER!
Battered, barefoot, and huddled under a bookstore awning in the pouring rain, Blue only knows one thing. After fifteen months of captivity, finally… she is free.
Self-made millionaires JD and Ark are not out to save anyone when they stumble upon a wet and shivering girl one early Sunday morning. But when you sell sex for a living and salvation rings your bell… you answer the call.
After years of searching, love lifts the veil of darkness, and three people–with three very big secrets–find themselves bound together in a relationship that defies the odds.
Or does it?
Love. Lust. Sex.
This trinity might be perfection… but not everything should come in 3’s.
WARNING: This is a STANDALONE non-traditional M/F/M ROMANCE with a non-traditional ending.