It started in early 2009, when I initially started writing, and it was a brain fart that started with the question: "What if a white wolf fell in love with a vampire?"
From there it just snowballed.
Originally it was going to be called "Werewolf Games." I didn't want the cliché werewolf meets vampire and they skip off into the sunset. It was supposed to be Jay Dee and Yahto together and an annoyingly smug vampire just happened to make life a living hell for them and their relationship. The story would be told from the werewolf, Jay Dee, and the vampire, Tanis, in order to show the differences in species and centuries in which they were born. Perhaps I wanted to give that whole "love triangle" thing an attempt...
They aren't my favorite things in the world, as you all well know.
The whole Jay Dee-Yahto love thing went to shit the moment I wrote the first two pages of Tanis Ashton, and Werewolf Games went out the window.
Tanis was exactly what Jay Dee needed, and she was what he needed, know it or not.
The first editions I flew through in typical Danae style. It took only a couple of weeks to write each book, and I started on book three and was midway through it when writer's block hit!
Sadly, that can happen, and more often than not does with me when I'm in the middle of something.
I put it down, because you can't force it, and worked on other things that were speaking to me at the time.
Years later, and countless emails asking about book three, I revisited the series.
It was raw (it was one of my first projects) and needed editing hardcore and cleaned up.
I started on that with A Werewolf's Tale, thinking that if I got that edited correctly, plugged some holes, revised a couple of things that were disconnected from book two, that all would be well and I'd roll over into book two A Vampire's Tale.
Sadly, that is not how it happened.
It was like pulling teeth!
Readers cannot grasp how painful it is for a writer to try to fix a turd, especially if it's their own turd!
I was halfway through editing book one again, was working fulltime, had the boys and husband, life got in the way, and then the unthinkable happened.
I got into a car wreck (hit from behind at a stop light and that caused a chain reaction).
It was a minor accident, but it caused extensive neck and back injury that required years of painful physical therapy. I tried in that time to finish the revisions/edits on book one, but in a pain induced fog that was heavily laced with pain medication, I couldn't focus on the characters or even think of what their names were. I was so upset over it all that I hit CTRL + A and my finger hovered over the DEL key.
I was going to toss the entire series.
I couldn't do it, couldn't think, couldn't put myself in their shoes as I had always been able to do, and the stress of impending deadlines and reader demand was too much and I just wanted it to be over with.
It wasn't my finest moment in writing.
Pher stopped me. Told me to back away from the computer (he literally pulled me away from it and closed the documents so I couldn't delete them) and told me to take a break.
That was so much easier said than done!
A break consisted of a dozen more books, the starts to series, the revisions of others, discovering new genres, finding new ways to tell a story, etc.
It took a couple of years, but I did it. I came back swinging and started from the beginning and edited and revised A Werewolf's Tale, cutting stuff, adding LOTS of new, and nearly doubling the word count!
I was so excited, I loved the new edition!
It took months to do, revisions always take longer than writing from scratch in Danae Land, but it was worth it, I thought. Feedback was positive, they were even more in love with Tanis and Jay Dee and they couldn’t wait for book two.
I sat down with book two, A Vampire's Tale, and that was when shit got real again.
There were so many changes and revisions to the story in the first book that it would take forever and a day to revise the current book and to add those parts plus editing on top of it, etc....
It'd take me less time to write a whole new book!
So I did.
It was double the word count, changed Tayte from being a perspective mate for Jay Dee to her brother (spoiler), added much more depth and a wide array of characters, and laced them all together so in book three their purpose comes into play.
I LOVED the new edition! It was so much better than the first. It had growth, it showed another side of Tanis by bringing in his past and that helped to show WHY he was the way he was, and why they worked together as effortlessly as they did. Now Tanis has a purpose, where he didn’t before (remember, it was written in less than two weeks and it was one of my first stories). Everything was falling into place, and I was on cloud nine because I loved the new edition and it simply made sense!
Then the world of writing bitch slapped me.
Fans didn't like it.
Apparently, new readers didn't grasp that a Werewolf's Tale was telling the story of the werewolf. And in a Vampire's Tale it was telling the story of the vampire, hence the title.
I'm not sure how that was lost in translation.
Existing readers that had read the original version weren’t receptive and they wanted sniveling, whiny, without a purpose Tanis back. They didn’t like change, and that confused me. Tanis was just there before. How could you have a story that the main premise is revolving around a werewolf creating new life with a vampire more human than most (spoiler) and yet that vampire doesn’t have a purpose other than being the sperm in that new life created?!
Needless to say, it was a crimpling blow to my creative mojo.
There's a reason why I don't read review, and I won't. Because when I do, I don't write.
It isn't that I don't want to learn from their feedback (even positive feedback kills me creatively). That isn't it at all. I love feedback, I have changed entire stories and characters simply from one person’s feedback. It's what helps a writer hone their craft. But the feedback from readers that attack you, want to see something different, their ignorance or misunderstanding of something that is painfully obvious, grates on a writer's nerves.
Yes, sometimes I overthink things. I complicate storylines and have so many layers that they can be easily overlooked, subtly is something I take great pride in being able to wield effortlessly, and my characters can offend people.
They are realistic!
Even if they are a vampire or werewolf, they are realistic and relatable to the reader, and I take great pride in that. I love that readers can relate to the most out there mythical creature or character possible on some level, and that allows the story and characters to connect to the reader more.
That's the goal of every writer is to connect with the reader!
However, being excited to have the new edition of A Vampire's Tale out, I broke my own rules and read the first reviews, and that effectively shoved War of the Immortals in the FUCK IT, I'LL DO IT LATER pile.
Yes, I threw a fit.
A tantrum, if you will.
It wasn’t because I was disagreeing with them, I was pissed because what they were bitching about didn’t make sense and didn’t apply to the story in the least. I had to look through the book to see what it is they were bitching about, and then I couldn’t make sense of why that warranted a shit review because of one line they didn’t agree with or like the sexuality of one character.
Man, fuck you! If you have a problem with bi-racial couples or gays, I wouldn’t suggest reading any of my stuff. You’ll be greatly offended all over again.
Fast forward, again, years later, and there it is, sitting there, waiting to be completed.
Now, let me remind you I had half of the original edition done. However, the completely rewritten second book shot it in the ass and it was completely useless to me.
Starting from scratch, yet again!
It was a battle to get back into Jay Dee and Tanis' mindsets. I didn't want to look into them more in-depth due to reader feedback simply because 1) it was too late now, 2) I didn't agree with their opinions, 3) I wanted it done, 4) they could eat a dick for all I cared.
Yes, I was still butt hurt.
Opening FA3 up and starting from scratch was, at times, as effortless as breathing. Other times, it was pulling teeth with a pair of plastic forceps and no novocaine.
As I went forward, trying to remember all of the little things (I don't make notes when I write, and I free ball everything, so I always have to go back through and re-read everything I already wrote in the previous books in order to know WTF is going on), and put them into place in the new story. Sometimes something popped up that I just went with... That's a lie, everything just popped up so I went with it. About the mid-way point I discovered, "Hey, I need something telling the story of the past so all of this shit makes sense."
Yes, I did.
That is where the fun truly began!
Connecting dots through various timelines was complicated and so much fun!
That is why I started writing (amongst other reasons). Just to have fun and pull it out of your ass, to weave a tale and story, a complex web that is so simplistic in the end that you can't help but kick yourself in the ass for not noticing it sooner!
I love stories like that.
Now, more than six years after starting "Werewolf Games", the end is finally in sight.
Less than two chapters to go, the final chapter I am honestly on pins and needles about writing because I can't wait for it! It has been a whirlwind adventure for Jay Dee and Tanis, but it was an even more crazy adventure for me, and the Corrupted that showed patience, love, respect, and support throughout this insane literary adventure.
I wish I could say that once I type THE END that will be the end of Jay Dee and Tanis, but we all know in Danae Land THE END is never truly the end. The motely group of characters met along the way, the couples and the subplots and storylines all demand to be told. One day, I'm sure, I'll sit down and write a novella collection that follows some of the characters.
Will it be anytime soon?
Hell no! I want this off my plate for now! I have so many other series and stories I have to get finished up. I'm going to try to focus my all over the place head on just one series at a time so I can pound it out and be done with it.
That's impossible we all know, but I'm going to try my hardest to do it.
So, in the end, ironically, we always look back to the beginning and that is exactly what I'm doing now with War of the Immortals.
It's just one of the many titles that I have pending, that was started, and that took a turn towards the dark side of doubt, before rising from the ashes of creative awesomeness like a Phoenix being reborn from the fire…
I’m just that cool.
Thank you for your patience, your years of support and understanding. Thank you for being there for me when I wasn't there for myself. And thank you for being the reason why I write what I do and how I do, and for not forcing me to change who and how I am in order to fit into the mainstream literary mold of common and blasé.
A Special thanks to Emily Oakes for editing and keeping Tanis legit. I love you girlie.