Friendship is something my partner and I have not only shared for twenty-nine years, but something we cherish. We’ve never taken it for granted, especially after August 16th of this year. Emergency surgery is just that—something unplanned and urgent. The complications that come after are, in a word, hell.
C’s had it rough since August, but what a blessing it’s been to have not only each other, but the kind of friends who are gifts from God. The calls, cards, gifts, and prayers are what pulled us through without out too much mental scarring. To all of you who took time to send healing thoughts and prayers, you have our deepest appreciation. We both are truly blessed and humbled you cared so much.
When life throws you a multitude of curve balls, all of them aimed at your head, the knowledge you are cared for truly does bring solace. The churning in your gut caused by the realization you have absolutely no control over so many moments in your life is somehow more tolerable because you have friends who are willing to hold your hand through it all.
Our recent long hospital stay gave me the opportunity to return a lot of emails, and a lot of folks asked me if there’s any part of C or myself in the books I write, and if so, what. The one thing I try my best to convey, no matter the book, is the joy a loving relationship can bring to your life. It’s one of the reasons I suck at writing erotica. Radclyffe always tells me there’s too much story along with the sex, but come to think of it, Radclyffe always tells me there’s too much story no matter what. I have a little trouble keeping to those word counts, so thank you to my awesome editor Shelley Thrasher, who has no trouble trimming all that excess. Don’t let that Southern laid-back demeanor fool you; the woman is a slasher in every sense of the word.
So while C and I have been together almost thirty years, Kendal Richoux is over three thousand years old, and the two people she’s trusted as much as her father have been with her all those years. Imagine having someone in your life for an eternity like that and the depth of the friendship you’d share with them because of it.
The storyline and concepts of the Forces series, though, different from the Devil books, deal with the same themes of family, loyalty to others, friendships, and in some cases, disloyalty to others. Both series are fun to write for different reasons, but when as a writer you can suspend a little reality that must be present in other books, it brings with it a new sense of imagination. Can you imagine a vampire hunting through the Devil series? Cain at times is bloody enough, but I’d guess she’d have ordered a boatload of wooden stakes from Home Depot by now, as well as hired Kendal for Swordplay 101.
Both series take place mostly in New Orleans, but I believe the city brings something to each story. For us, there’s no place like New Orleans—the food, carefree lifestyle, and the people have the history of this place in their DNA. And it doesn’t matter if you weren’t born here; I certainly wasn’t, but what a place to grow up. If you did grow up here and don’t have a story about sneaking into a bar when you were underage, then your childhood wasn’t a complete success. All you need to know is after a few beers, your first tray of crawfish or crab cakes, followed by some beignets, you’re a native.
This was the perfect place for someone three thousand years old who’s lived all over the world. Kendal Richoux lost a love in New Orleans and found it again a few hundred years later. Kendal feels at home in New Orleans because, like her, the city had so many facets and personalities.
This series appealed to me because of the snippets of history Kendal’s lived through. As a reader I love historical novels (if only KI Thompson would gift us with another one of those), but I can’t settle on one time period to actually write one. With a character who’s witnessed so much I didn’t have to, and different aspects of Kendal’s past were included.
Now you’d think after spending twenty-nine years with someone, the only new and exciting things left are the fantasies of how to kill that person and get away with it, but that’s not the case at all. Granted, I did scar C with a pressure washer, but aside from that, I truly enjoy romancing her. See. These blogs teach you something. No one loves a mob movie more than me, which I guess is why no one guessed the two truths and a lie on the panel I served on in Ptown. The audience wasn’t buying that Too Cute is one of my favorite television shows, but it is. So while you might think I spend most of my time thinking of new and inventive ways to kill people, I’m also pretty good at picking out flowers.
In honor of the woman I love, there’s also romance woven into this story as well, and it was nice giving someone like Kendal, whose past is so rich and full, a new beginning. Like I said, life is so much easier when you have someone who cares about you, and that only gets better when you find that someone who can make you laugh even when it’s the last thing in the world you want to do. No matter what’s going on, C can do that because she knows me better than any other living soul.
To me, the action is important to every story, but the romance is the center of it all. What I’ve tried to bring out in every book is that a character, no matter how strong, needs someone who allows them to let their load down if only for a little while. The journey to that point is what gives every book its heart.
That brings us back to friendship and where it takes us next in the Forces series. If I was one for hints, which I’m not, but if I was, I’d tell you the answer is found in a couple of places in this second book. Kendal and Piper’s, as well as Morgaine and Lenore’s story will go on. There are babies on the way and…wait, I forgot I’m not much for hints.
The other story that will continue is the adventures as well as romance C and I are always involved in. No surgeries, broken bones, and other such calamities will slow us down. We’ll, as always, relish the high points and not worry about the trials because of the aforementioned great friends who’ll see us through. So thanks again for the good energy you shot our way. We return it a thousand fold.
Thanks too for reading the books and the great notes you send. Events like Women’s Week in Ptown are always fun because I get to chat with so many readers about the books and life in general. You just never know when one of those conversations sparks an idea for the next storyline. Thanks for that too!
If you guess the theme of the third Forces book I’ll be happy to send you an autographed copy of the second one. The first three people who send me the correct answer to firstname.lastname@example.org get a book.