As I sit down to write this blog post, I’m debating whether to talk again about the recent tragedy in my life. It would be easy to do. Writing is therapeutic, and when something of such magnitude hits with no warning and no handbook on how to manage my emotions (yes, I know there are plenty of handbooks, but I failed to read them before it happened, because, you know, I didn’t exactly expect to ever have to deal with this sort of thing), it’s easy to get caught up in it, to dwell, to get stuck and not move forward.
And then, one morning, I found myself writing. Not about life, not another blog post, but about the made up world I’d created in my books. I write this series called Lightbearers, and there are currently five published books—a prequel plus four full-length novels. I’ve been working on number five (Or is it six? I’m not sure of the rules when it comes to prequels.) on and off for months, but there’s always been something else pulling at me, demanding my attention, so the process has been a tad slow.
Until the words finally started flowing. The book is roughly fifty-k words with a solid happily ever after. Based on the other books in the series, I need to add another fifteen thousand words, give or take. Assuming the words continue to flow, that should be easy. There’s a drunken sex scene that needs to be fleshed out, and another scene I think needs an entire rewrite.
There are also the descriptions, painting the scenery, letting readers know what the world looks like through my eyes. Usually, I tend to write the basic plot first, then go back (multiple times) and flesh out the details—describing the mansion in which much of the book takes place, the woods where my two main characters escape and fly free for a while (literally, since this is a PNR book and they can therefore do that).
Sometimes, when I reach a steamy scene, I’m not always in the mood to write it (insert jokes here—or perhaps Archer saying, “Phrasing?”), so I’ll tag that section with a note to come back later—when I’m ready to share some sexy times with my characters.
This process tends to be the way I write in general. Many would call me a panster, and that’s a completely accurate description. Here’s my writing process with regard to this series:
Came up with the idea for book one, Into the Light. Decided I wanted it to include shifters (because who doesn’t love sexy alpha—and beta—shifters?), but I wanted the other “beings” in the book to be something… different. I love the fae (and they show up in the prequel – which wasn’t written until eleven other books had been started—and are formally pulled into the series in book seven, at which point they stick around for the long haul). But I wanted to try something different.
Okay, I’m not gonna lie. I took an RWA class and the instructor said, If you want your books to sell, give the readers something unique. So Lightbearers were born, arch enemies of those bad, bad shifters, thus forming the Romeo and Juliet concept of Into the Light, book one in the Lightbearer series.
While writing Into the Light, I introduced Finn, a shifter who I initially wasn’t sure would be a good guy or bad guy—or if he would even survive to the end of the book. He did, and ultimately was a good guy, in fact, a strict rules-follower—and the perfect match for feisty Lightbearer, Cecilia, a woman who prefers to break instead of follow rules. Thus, the premise for book two, Dawning of Light, was born.
In Dawning of Light I introduced Carley, Lightbearer chef to the king, and I felt so bad for her plight (her parents forced her into mating with a real asshole of a Lightbearer), I decided she deserved a happily ever after of her own. Oh, and look, Finn had a brother. Reid had a few skeletons in his closet, most of which were completely incompatible with the skeletons in Carley’s closet…Perfect. So Light Beyond the Darkness, book three, was born.
By this point, Lightbearer healer Alexa had shown up in every single book, and I really liked her, so I knew she needed an HEA, too. But how to do it? For years she had been shacking up with fellow Lightbearer Jake, but had refused to commit to becoming his mate, and by Light Beyond the Darkness they were on the outs, and both were hurting but refusing to face their demons.
Sounds like another HEA in the making… Except I wasn’t sure if I wanted Alexa and Jake to get back together or if I wanted to mate her to a shifter, too, like the previous three lucky Lightbearer ladies. And the pack of shifters I had been pulling from had disintegrated by this point, so if I was going to do that, I needed to introduce a new shifter pack. Hence, the Detroit shifter pack, and Josh Tigre, the pack leader who was introduced in the first book, became the subject of book four, Change in the Light. To shake things up a bit, I decided Josh should be paired with a human, but she had to be a badass who was frustrated because she’d been forced into a situation in which she had no control.
As an aside, I had a lot of fun writing Change in the Light, knowing the heroine wasn’t aware of the paranormal world in which she was mingling. I dropped lots of hints and clues, all of which she was completely oblivious to, until the end. In fact, the name of the book stems from a particular scene in which she is beginning to suspect there’s something not quite entirely human about the guy she’s fallen for…
Yes, Alexa’s story is still hanging out there, but for some reason, as I wrote Change in the Light, I totally fell for Matt, Josh’s cousin and beta, and I knew I needed to write his story, too. Now here’s where it gets really wonky: for some unfathomable reason (no kidding; I have no idea how this idea popped into my head), I decided Matt needed to go toe-to-toe with… A Cupid. Yep. Those creatures who help people find love. Because Matt refused to believe he would ever find love. Doesn’t want to. Not interested Nope. Never.
At least not until Adora, his very own personal Cupid, dropped into his life and insisted it’s her job to find him a mate.
This is the one I’m working on now. I’m tentatively titling it Cupid’s Light. Every book’s title is a play on the word “Light” for, you know, the Lightbearers. Into the Light is about Tanner not only discovering Lightbearers exist, but making choices that go against everything he was raised to believe. In Dawning of Light, Cecilia loves to sneak out and greet the sunrise every day, and the dawning of realization she doesn’t have to go through life alone is slow in coming. Light Beyond the Darkness starts with both Carley and Reid in very, very dark places, and of course, since it’s a happily ever after, they manage to find their way to the light, aka, love and happiness. Change in the Light, as I mentioned above, is about a shifter (Josh) and a human (Rachel) figuring out how to make things work despite being two entirely different species, and is also about Rachel learning about this world she never believed existed.
Based on this, I’ve come up with the title Cupid’s Light for the next book, but I’m open if something more descriptive hits me before it’s done. (Or if someone has a better title idea, hint, hint…)
Oh yeah, and Alexa… well, her happily ever after is coming, finally. She’s the heroine in book six, tentatively titled Lost in the Light. She’s going to have a chance to go live with Josh’s shifter pack in Detroit, and will be assigned her own Cupid, Adora’s brother, Shaid. No, the same thing that happened to Matt won’t happen to Alexa. Shaid is, in this book, more comic relief than anything. In truth, Shaid thus far hasn’t been assigned his own HEA, but the more I write of his sister’s book, the more I think I need to do something for him. So if you fall in love with his carefree, sometimes bawdy ways in Lost in the Light, hang tight. I’m working on it.
In the meantime, I’m going to get back to Cupid’s Light. I have a drunken sex scene to write…
Tami Lund is an author, wine drinker, and writer of happily ever afters. If this blog post has intrigued you enough about the Lightbearer series, the prequel, First Light, is free at nearly every e-book retailer…