Thanemonger is now available for readers, and I am so very much happy, for now. Although, what can I say that doesn’t make me sound like a self-absorbed person who just published the very first book ever? (You know, kinda like that gal who acts like she’s the first woman to be pregnant ever. Adorable, yet annoying.)
Well, since you are here, reading this blog, I am going to assume that you’re ready for some adorably annoying gushing about the book. Because OMG, isn’t Thanemonger just the cutest little SFR ever!
The idea for “The Ladyships” originally popped into my head a few years ago as “The Pod Princesses.” For months, one of the alien abductees shrieked in my head, “Pod people are real!” So I muttered back a non-confrontational, “But, of course they are!” and started writing. I had genetically programmed fated mates, evil insectoid aliens, slavers, and a vague concept of interplanetary government operations. Then I pants the hell outta that story for about two years. Yet, for all the keyboard pounding that I did, just a sliver of that original concept transferred over into Thanemonger. Wanna know what it was? Rannik. He was the only character I salvaged after struggling for two years.
What changed, you ask? Well, the biggest change was process. See, I didn’t have one. Like I said, I was pantsing the hell outta that story. I’d sit and wait to be inspired. And some days, absolutely no inspiration came. While working with my Writing Partner, we started researching creative writing techniques. Found out that our process, which really wasn’t a process, was called pantsing. And it sucked. Big time.
What brought Thanemonger to fruition was plotting. Lots and lots of plotting.
Thanemonger follows the twenty beats of romance as presented by Gwen Hayes in Romancing the Beat. As I read this little golden nugget, I saw how my original story was a broken mess. See, I resisted adding moments when my characters were “aware” of each other, because I interpreted the revelation “Wow, he’s cute and sexy” as the end of the story. I didn’t understand the push and pull that happens in romance stories. Gwen Hayes took her succinct little book and whacked me over the head with it a few times. Ah! I needed a Meet Cute, and a No Way #1, and then a No Way #2, followed by a Maybe. I needed all the beats that finally led to The Grand Gesture and The Whole Heart. In order to do this, I had to put on my Big Girl Pants and plot.
As I told my editor, plotting saved this book. It may also be why Therion is so obsessed with people wearing pants.
Once I started plotting, I had Thanemonger written and into the hands of my Writing Partner within three months. (Don’t get overly ‘wowed’ by that turnaround time. While researching writing techniques, I discovered that I’m rather slow. Other writers could have had the first draft done inside of a week.) I had to let the story marinate for a month because I had fallen outta love with it. And absence does make the heart grow fonder. About thirty days later, I re-read Thanemonger and thought “Well, not all of it sucks.” Then I edited and edited and edited some more. I wanted to stab passive voice in its nonexistent ear. I wanted to magically stop my excessive use of adverbs. (Even now, good god, do I love adverbs.) And lastly, I realized I had Zver saying “indeed” over twenty times. I needed to cut a few dozen of those lines.
So, eight months later (OMG, it IS almost like having a baby!) I was able to publish Thanemonger. I am happy. I am exhausted. And the absolute kick in the pants? I’ve made a commitment to do it all over again. Because during my weeks of plotting, I realized Seph and Zver would have a hard-won happy-for-now ending, not a happily-ever-after ending. Which means another book, if not two. Not because I’m greedy (’cause you do not get rich self-publshing), but because the plotter in me refused to pants the ending.
Again, if you’re here, I am assuming you’ve taken a peek at Thanemonger. I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. Once I found my rhythm, it was such a blast to write. I am working hard on Therion’s story, including all the pushes and pulls needed, and then I plan to revisit Seph and Zver’s happy-for-now situation. Oh baby, they will not be happy about that!