I was going to talk about mistakes I've made over my career -- the good ones and the bad ones (and there were many excellent mistakes, even if I had to pay for them). However, in honor of the subject I wrote a nice long bit, didn't save it, and the computer froze. Remember to save your work, people. Sigh.
I've always been one to enjoy a bit of irony, but I think the PTB don't want me to talk about mistakes today. I hope they don't want me to talk about Ritual Sins, because I don't want to cry.
But okay, we'll talk a little bit about that, since it's free at Amazon for today only (and should be as cheap as legally allowed in the UK and Au/Nz). http://tinyurl.com/m7a9uy
Okay, I figured out how to add pictures, but I don't know how to size them or move them, so you'll have to put up with them being HUGE. Anyway, I had just written possibly the best book I ever wrote. Definitely in the top five, or the top three, and I had to follow it up, which was just a bit daunting. But I had the opening scene, and I jumped into it, starting with a ridiculously high body count in that first scene (I later cut it from 12 dead operatives to three) and moved ahead with it. And then my brother died.
He was a darling, a scapegrace, troubled and charming and six years younger than me, and he drank himself to death (alcohol poisoning). My literary agent, who'd lost a bad boy brother as well, kept the publisher off my back and kept telling me not to write, but I really needed to. I needed to lose myself in story, away from the overwhelming grief of real life. I needed to kill people, lots of them, and having an assassin hero came in handy. Finally I just started writing anyway. Writing in a time of deep grief can result in powerful books. Any rules you come up against you just say "fuck you" and write what your heart wants to write. None of the small stuff matters, and in the face of death it's all small stuff.
So unlike books that I connect with other deaths in my family (and everyone's dead now, so I have death moving through all my career) I love this book. Despite the grief I could find solace in the powerful story, and it was what I needed to write.
Unlike LAZARUS RISING, a book I was writing for Harlequin American, four years earlier. It was a great idea -- a heroine who'd been mourning the loss of the hero for twelve years, living a beige life, only half alive herself, when he shows up again (he'd been part of the witness protection program). Great idea, but right in the middle of writing it my 18 year old nephew died in a car accident. And I was stuck writing that damned book, when I knew that my nephew wasn't going to return.
I did take the grief from that and wrote another "fuck you" book called NIGHT OF THE PHANTOM, breaking all the rules at the time. And later, in THE RIGHT MAN, I saved my nephew, because in books you can do that.
Not that I meant to depress you. Life is rich and full of wondrous things. It's also full of pain a lot of time, and that's what makes books so precious. They're a place to go in times of sorrow. When I was dealing with infertility and I'd have another month without a pregnancy I would take myself to bed in tears. I would grab a favorite Georgette Heyer and lose myself in a familiar world and eventually I'd be able to deal again.
Anyway, RITUAL SINS is a powerful book. It's one of those that people say "isn't for everyone." People are even unsure that it's a happy ending, but of course it is. No one's going to catch up with my hero and heroine, they're going to live a long life with babies and the green countryside and no one is going to bother them. Trust me. I wouldn't put them through all they go through without giving them a happy ending.
And it's free today -- you can't beat that. Sex and violence and a happy ending. You can't beat that either.