Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be visiting the fabulous Delilah today. Thank you for having me over, Delilah!
Since we are moments away from the end of the year, I couldn’t help but think about endings. It’s that time when so many people are taking stock of what they’ve accomplished to begin mapping out their goals and plans for the next few years (or at least the next one). Hell, it was at this time a few years back that I’d finally scribbled down some writing goals myself, and one of them was to write my first erotica novel. I happened to have a little time off to work on The Assignment, which helped the process along—but there were some real “ends” pushing me forward, too. The first was that there was something magical about writing the book at the end of the year to usher in a new one; the second was that the urge to dive in had been sparked by the end of a relationship. At the time, I had a lot of hurt, a ton of unfocused energy, and a bounty of passion all tangled up in my limbs…so, naturally, it formed the perfect motivation to do exactly what I’d planned: write that first erotica novel.
And I did.
Fortunately, I had so much steam, I poured that baby out in a matter of seven weeks. I had in my head that it could be the start of a series…but ultimately, I didn’t know where The Assignment would lead or even end, for that matter. I just knew I was writing this sexy erotic romance thing and at some point, I had to wrap it up. (For that installment, anyway.)
As I worked, I kept wondering—how do you know when it’s done? How do you know as a writer, but also, is there a special signal when you’re reading, too, to let you know the end is near?
On the writer side, I know that when I drafted The Assignment all those years ago, I accidentally wrote the ending before I was officially done writing the book. That is, I wrote about the last page or two, and then yanked my fingers off the keyboard freaked out because I recognized that the scene I’d written had to be the end. Those special words were supposed to be the final words, but somehow my linear writing self had jumped ship and left me there to figure out how to backtrack and fill in some story to get to where the end needed to be.
I’m still not sure how I knew it was the end, but I felt it. I had the same feeling for the two subsequent books, and, while I’d outlined, one sentence describing the goal doesn’t at all explain how the feeling comes out from who knows where to alert you that the end is actually happening.
I definitely have the same sense when I’m reading—and it has nothing to do with the fact that I can thumb over the pages and see that there are only a few more to go. It’s a vibe, I guess. Loose ends are getting tied up and tightened. Characters are starting to elevate and reflect having gone on some awesome journeys. If it’s a romance, things have probably gotten bad for a second but there’s a sparkle of hope on the horizon. The pacing might even shift, gaining speed toward that final moment when all is right and good (or not, if the book doesn’t have a happily ever after—which is certainly a post in itself). Nonetheless, something is ringing a bell in my head, alerting me that the end is Right.There. Perhaps that’s why we have such strong reactions to the ends of books when we read. We are expecting one thing, or at least have a sense of where it could go—and if a story or series doesn’t satisfy that forward moving, the end-is-so-close feeling, than we might not love the book as much as we originally did or thought we would.
Looking at the entire Lessons in Control series, I had a sense of when the arc would be done. Still, the end of the series completely surprised me. I had a plan—oh dang, did I have a plan—but my little lovelies Maya and Dean went their own way, as characters are apt to do once they’re fleshed out with lots of solid traits and rich back story. And, after I wrote it, I got that “The End” feeling, but I remember rubbing my eyes and raising an eyebrow, because it’d come out of left field and did something I hadn’t expected. I attempted to rewrite it as planned (yes, I really did this—twice), but those two kept doing what they wanted to do, no matter how many times I tried to force them another way.
That, to me, signaled the true end. One that I couldn’t even control—Maya and Dean’s fate was in their hands, not mine. As an author, I don’t think you can really ask for more. My characters took on the ride and closed it off exactly where it needed to be finalized.
It was a good ending feeling!
So, now that I’ve finished drafting the Lessons in Control series with only a couple rounds of edits on book three to go, and it’s this close to the end of the year, I’m ready for some new writing goals, with new stories to tackle and craft before they, too, call the end (with or without me steering). I will also need to get my hands on some fantastic new reads, because I like seeing where every author goes with his or her endings.
What about you? Do you find yourself ready for the end of the books you read once they arrive, or often feeling not enough closure and wishing there was more—even if just for the sake of more?
An Excerpt of The Assignment, by Jade A. Waters:
I lost track of time once we left the table. There was an abrupt wave at the hostess, a quiet walk across the wooden slats of the pier and an awkward wait for the elevator. Dean didn’t take his eyes off mine as three other people boarded with us. His chest kept lifting, widening like a promise of what would happen the moment he had me alone. When the elevator doors parted on our floor, he looped his arm in mine and tugged me close.
The earlier tease had me ready and curious. The alcohol in my body didn’t hurt either, and as Dean led me down the hall, I pinched his side playfully.
“You’re so serious. Are you always like this?”
He backed me against our suite door, twisting his mouth while he fumbled in his pocket for the key. “Honestly?” he said.
“I’m incredibly turned on and trying not to fuck you right here in this hallway.”
He had the key out in the next second and swiped it over the sensor. The lock process lagged, but Dean moved ahead anyway, blocking me between him and the door. His cock was firm on my belly, his hips urging me.
“I want you,” he said.
The door fell open as he lowered his lips to mine, and he had to catch me when I tumbled backward. Then it was a race—Dean slamming the door and yanking me against him, his hands cupping my ass, his mouth taking mine in a more masterful kiss than he’d bestowed me with before dinner.
I sucked in a breath, lost in the movements, the force of his lips. His body overpowered me, a mass of muscle that smothered and caressed. I rocked up my hips and he groaned, one hand sliding between my cheeks and the other gripping my waist, my back and my shoulder. When he twined his fingers in my hair, he jerked back my head.
“Wait,” he said. I froze, my lips parted.
What the fuck? “I—”
“Shh.” Dean tightened his hold on my hair, and my heart pounded loudly. He pulled my head farther back, exposing more of my neck. “Fuck, you’re irresistible. I just want to slow down and take you all in.”
I’d never had a man look at me as entranced as Dean did now, and it made my knees wobble.
The Assignment by Jade A. Waters
What would you do if someone offered to fulfill your wildest fantasies?
Dean Sova is everything Maya Clery craves. From the first touch, their connection is intense. After leaving her troubled past behind, Maya thought she was happy—she is happy—but meeting Dean forces her to acknowledge dark needs she longs to explore yet has never had the courage to face.
Her perfect match, Dean encourages Maya to set loose the submissive urges inside her in a series of assignments intended to open her mind and test the limits of pleasure…but Maya isn’t sure she can fully let go of her inhibitions.
What would you do if someone offered to fulfill your wildest fantasies?
The answer seems obvious. You take the offer and hope the price isn’t too high.
Book one of Lessons in Control
This book is approximately 81,000 words
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise.
Pick up your copy of The Assignment at:
About the Author
Jade A. Waters is an erotica author and poetess in sunny California. A lover of candy, coffee, dancing, and endless karaoke, she is happiest when surrounded by words—be they on the page or shared in good conversation. Her short fiction and poetry is featured in over a dozen anthologies from Cleis Press and Stupid Fish Productions, and currently, Jade is hard at work finalizing the last book in the Lessons in Control series from Carina Press. Visit her at http://jadeawaters.com, or follow her at http://twitter.com/jadeawaters.