I’ve titled this one Assimilation, Wars, and Other Human Oddities, but we’ll see what the publisher calls it.
The first novel flew out of me as fast as I could write it, but this new one… oy! If I hadn’t promised fans of the first book that I was working on a sequel, I would have walked away.
So, in the reviews, people complained Liam was too much of a pushover. Wait. He’s a linguist, a soldier, a man who walked away from a long-term abusive relationship (which takes balls). Anyway, I started writing, but I think their complaint got in my head because I did two chapters, and I realized… wait… THIS Liam is a pushover. Where is MY Liam?
This is why I suck at sequels. It’s like the feedback gets in my head. That never happens with my fanfic. My god, my Igigi series (NCIS/SG1/Stargate Atlantis) is over 200,000 words with hundreds if not thousands of comments now. But I never feel pushed by feedback because Tony is Tony. You can’t push my interpretation of Tony.
Alas, Liam needed time to settle in and get his feet under him, so I read the first book again and set the sequel aside. So, a while later (that would be while defined in months, not days), I picked up the sequel again. Okay, so I wanted to show more humans. I would have a human ship crash land and Rownt are not terribly interested in mounting rescue missions so Liam and Ondry would go.
This sometimes happens to me when I’m writing. It’s called a really bad idea. I mean, Rownt are technologically advanced. They have a network of satellites. They have ordered humans to land only at one place, and considering that humans are in their own civil war, no commander would give a shit what some primitive society thought unless he could see the space weapons.
So, how is it that Rownt, who are predatory and who have a finely nuanced understanding of deception, would allow a ship of humans to land without either A) challenging them or B) blowing them out of the sky on the off chance the ship is a weapon?
Yeah, that didn’t work. So I set the story aside for a while. Do you see how I’m using that word “while” again?
So finally I had a good idea. I have a new character who can come down. After all, Liam mentioned that he wasn’t a real linguist by training. Well if things with Rownt had turned interesting, then shouldn’t Earth send a real linguist, a first contact specialist? So Captain Susan Diallo was born and I finally started writing chapters I liked.
And then my mom had her first stroke.
Can we just say that my writing suddenly became a whole lot less important to me? My mom was in and out of ICU, multiple surgeries, and finally she came home. My sister came to live with me for a few months because I was trying to not completely fuck up my day job. I learned lots of nifty new skills like taking blood pressures and blood oxygen levels, changing dressings, and assisting the elderly in personal hygiene.
A fun time was not had by all.
But then she started sleeping through the night and moving around the house without a walker. My sister went home, and I started tinkering with the sequel again. I got several chapters written. I was feeling good.
And then one of the boys in my class had a catastrophic drop in grades. He turned surly when he was a great kid. I came down on him like a ton of bricks to keep his grades up and not lose credit, but he would not talk to me. I called home.
And found he didn’t live at home.
He was gay.
His religious parents found out.
Oh boy. So I called him in after school and we talked. He was living with a friend. I hooked him up with the social worker, who will explain things to his parents like they legally HAVE to support him until he’s eighteen so they can pay frikkin’ child support. The family that took him in was awesome, and he did get the credit in my class (although I know he failed at least one other).
And I was so angry. I wanted to go hit his parents with the biggest stick I could lift, only the police frown on that sort of thing, and I’m really not cut out for prison.
I was so fucking pissed that I could not write lovey scenes between Liam and Ondry if you paid me.
So I started an angry story. Dallin Mecham was kicked out at sixteen. He went to the nearest big city to lose himself and ended up a whore in Phoenix. But that was ten years ago. He’d crawled out of the gutter, started up a small business, and started making a life for himself. And that’s when the economy tanked. So he was homeless and clinging to the edge of losing everything when he went back to his old pimp and got set up with a long-term client who would help pay the bills.
Of course William has his own issues, but the part that was cathartic for me was writing Dallin.
He got kicked in the teeth over and over, and yet he was in there swinging. He set the rules and if people didn’t live by them, he would spit in their eye and walk away. And of course his family shows up at some point. I had to get my rage out somewhere.
But all that meant that Claimings was in the back seat AGAIN.
I swear, this sequel is cursed.
But finally I worked out my rage (and boy did I write Two Steps Back in a hurry… turns out that rage is a good motivator for my muse). So, I was ready for something softer.
I went back to Claimings, and this time I didn’t post chapters for my writers group. I didn’t let any voice get in my head but Liam’s and I wrote.
Yesterday I finished the story and posted to my group asking if anyone in the reader’s group still wanted to read it and give feedback for any revisions before I sent it off to Loose Id. It’s done. Finally.
In two weeks it goes to Loose Id, who already has Two Steps Back.
Hopefully the title will join the “Coming Soon” page in the near future.