I have two releases this month — my New Adult All To Myself and my story, “Piano Man,” in The Big Book of Orgasms. They’re two completely different stories. One is about a young couple who crash into one another (literally). The other is a sordid little episode between a lounge singer and a waitress. Regardless of their differences, the stories have one similarity:
The characters are jerks.
Not that they do anything horrible to each other or anyone else. Noah and Rory are quite lovely to one another as they fall deeper in love. Flynn is very, ahem, generous to Ruby once the lounge closes for the night.
What I mean is, they’re total jerks to me. They made horrible demands and refused to listen to reason, and they got their way. flipping me the middle finger all along.
Allow me to explain, starting with Flynn and Ruby. You see, when this story first burst out of my brain, Flynn was a 19th Century robber, and Ruby was the wife of a rich man. Negotiations began. Sexy times happened. The part of me with a penchant for historical rascals rejoiced — hurrah! I sat down to edit.
This, of course, is when this jerk decided he’d rather be a lounge singer. “Hey, she still gets to be pleasured on top of a piano, so what’s the problem? Make LOVE not WAR, man.”
And then there’s Rory and Noah. Noah wasn’t supposed to be the hero. This story was supposed to be pure smut. The real “hero” was supposed to be a brooding hotelier, and Noah was supposed to be his lecherous little brother who sets the action with the heroine in motion.
Yet the second Noah knocked Rory off her bike in the opening scene, it was over. Rather than showing a red-level amount of douchebaggery, Noah sprang out of his sporty little car and made off with Rory’s heart, and she loved it.
And then there’s this latest asshole. His name is Simon, and we had a three-week battle of wills. He makes two appearances in the novel-length version of The View From The Thirteenth Floor, and right from the start he wanted to have things his way. I mounted a brutal defensive in the aftermath. I went back and edited the shit out of that bitch.
HA! Try it now, you gorgeous, tricky blonde bastard! Now you do what I say or not only are you not getting your own story, but you’re out of the book altogether!
One weekend and a lengthy scene later, Simon got his way in his second appearance.
Oh, come on. REALLY? I had this perfect little plot jotted down for you, and now I have to rethink the whole thing! The heroine I had picked out for you isn’t going to do that to you. Seriously. She just threw her hands up and walked backwards out of the room. Now I have to find someone else.
The flip side to this is that the changes are what sold the stories. I doubt Flynn would have had a place in The Big Book of Orgasm if he came into Ruby’s life with a feather in his cap and a gang of robbers in his wake. And readers like Noah, whereas original Noah would have been the kind of character readers want to come to life just so they can kick him in the nuts.
And I’m sure Simon’s insistence that he get things his way will work out in the long run, but seriously, I really don’t need fictional characters snickering at me because I don’t, in fact, know what’s best for them.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have meds to take.