Day 5, in which I break Romance's Most Important Rule

That's the second book in the Maggie Bennett series, available free from Amazon today, and in it I broke the cardinal rule of romance writing. I didn't want to, but I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Let me explain. I'd agreed to write a three-part women's adventure series, and the stories were going to be about three sisters. I had it all worked out, everything was cool, and I wrote the first one, ESCAPE OUT OF DARKNESS, and was happy. Except then my editor told me the publisher had changed their mind and instead of being about three sisters, they wanted all three books to be about the first sister, Maggie Bennett, with the other two sisters supporting characters. If they'd told me earlier it would have been no problem. But I'd already given Maggie her true love and her happy ever after.

There was simply no way in hell I could write two more books with trouble between the hero and heroine. At that point any books I'd read like that were ridiculous -- the misunderstandings were trivial and made up. If the relationship had reached complete perfection then to write anything else would feel contrived.

Of course, since then I've seen people do it and do it masterfully. Nora Roberts and her JD Robb books, Jeaniene Frost with her Cat and Bones novels, Ilona Andrews and the Mercy … forget her last name … Thompson? books. It can be done.

I think I could have even done it, but not with the relationship between Maggie and Mack.

So, dear reader, I killed him.

Not in his own book, mind you. But in order to have a believable love story that would sustain two more books I had Mack Pulaski gunned down in the opening scene of Book Two.

I wept when I did it (and I don't cry when I write, no matter how brilliant I think I am). But at that moment I could see no other way out of it.

So, here's your choice. Don't read book one. Go straight to Book Two and pretend Mack is all backstory. Or read Book One and don't read books two and three for a long time afterwards, when you've gotten over your attachment to Mack. Or throw the damned book against the wall and then pick it up again …

Uh, no, you can't do that. It's only in e-format and you don't want to slam your Kindle or iPad or smartphone against the wall.

That's the problem with technology, much as I love it. You can no longer slam down a phone, you can no longer throw a book against a wall. Sooner or later you won't even be able to slam doors any more to express your disgust.

Look at it this way -- the book is free at Amazon today. And it introduces Randall, who really is deliciously wicked and puts Maggie through the wringer before she finds her HEA.

And forgive me my sins. I really had no choice.

Oh, and one more thing.  This is new blogging software and I don't know quite how to run it.  I didn't even realize there were comments until I scrolled down and approved them.  Mea culpa.  Later today I'll announce the winners of ON THIN ICE in audio, you lucky people.  Xe Sands's voice is to die for.