Okay-- I'm sorry I left the book cover post up for so long, but, well, a sort of amazing number of people were hitting on hit from Goodreads. It was sort of frickin' amazing. I lost my head for a minute--my apologies.
Anyway, first, let us do a family update.
Zoomboy is climbing the walls, and the demonic cat is helping him levitate:
Squish is finding ever more convincing reasons to impress her moral superiority upon us:
And Chicken is going to exotic places while looking stunningly beautiful--or, well, mostly just stunning, as in, she wanted to buy a sword but settled for a pin that said "I Aim To Misbehave" instead!
And as for Big T, well... well, seventy years ago, my grandfather was flying with a plane load of his covert operations photos which had been taken over Germany. The plane was shot down, and my grandfather rescued the pilot and then proceeded to try to swim to shore with a broken leg. He partially succeeded, and was rescued by Greek fishermen. When he woke up, his wallet was missing.
Why am I telling you this? Because within hours of arriving in Greece, Big T was scammed for over 1/4 of his Euros by Gypsies in an attempt to buy a ukelele. I shit you not. God help us, we didn't realize it was a family tradition, or we would have warned him better. Poor guy-- he had to borrow some money from a chaperone and we're trying to beef up his visa card right now, but he seems to be having a decent time other than that. He sure did think Delphi was pretty--and he's making regular messages to his father on Facebook. I just want him home happy and in one large piece, that's all!
And that's family news. As for the title...
Okay-- more than one person has recently asked me for the inspiration that led to Keeping Promise Rock, and the truth was, in order for a work to be that dragon ridden, there has to be more than one inspiration--there have to be MANY.
When I got the idea for Promise Rock, several things were happening.
One of the first was that Knittech and I were throwing Supernatural fan-music videos back and forth. One of the interesting things that happens when people start making those videos is that they try to tell a story that has NOTHING to do with Sam & Dean, and only deals with the physical types and the archetypes, and one of those caught my eye. In the video, 'Sam' went away to Iraq to escape a closeted relationship and 'Dean' stayed home with his wife and 'Sam' came back in a box. About the only thing that's the same there is Iraq (for one thing, the characterization of both guys is completely different) but, well, it did get me thinking--and we already know I was addicted to the angst. (
Some other things that were happening were also important.
One of the first things was that Squish was getting dance lessons in a nearby town. It's a little tiny suburb that's right along the levee. It has a small airport, a water tower, a main street, and, literally, a church on every other corner. It's SERIOUSLY near Natomas, where I used to work, and although Natomas has a VERY diverse population, this little suburb does NOT! And, well, there are a lot of disposessed people on every corner. (Homeless people tend to take refuge on the American River bike trail and in Discovery Park, and the bike trail cuts through 'Levee Oaks', right down the middle.) There is a disproportionate number of stray children hanging out at every corner on scavenged bicycles with cigarettes hanging from their mouths.
Now, this town (and I've done a post featuring a picture of the town during the rains) is part of ground zero on the government infrastructure's report that tried to predict where the next 'Katrina' (i.e., failed levee) was going to be. EVeryone who lives in Sacramento knew this already. In fact, my Crazy Friend Wendy (the one in the book who killed seventeen rattlesnakes, I shit you not?) once tried to buy horse property in "Levee Oaks" during one of the worst storms of that year. Her real estate agent bailed and Wendy tried to see the property on her own. She couldn't. It was under five feet of water.
Some of you already know this--I wrote this story in six weeks. What happened to prompt it? Well, Lynn West (Editor in chief at Dreamspinner) put out a link to a vodka commercial (Ketel 1) and said, "Elizabeth and I want to see a story written to THIS!" I was on the heels of having written Rampant-- 220K of really complex plotting, the fourth in the series--and 750 words took me half an hour. Lynn loved it--it became the first part of the first Gambling Men story (and I've written FIVE that haven't been published) and she said something to me that probably seems really inconsequential to her, but it meant the world to me. You have to remember, Rampant was my SIXTH self-published book. All of my books had elements of m/m in them, but I'd never written a strictly contemporary, H/H story until Keeping Promise Rock, and Lynn said, "This is awesome-- we've been waiting for you to submit something to us."
They'd been WAITING for me. All of those letters of rejection, all of that bullshit of "If you were REALLY good, you wouldn't self-publish" and Dreamspinner Press had been waiting for ME. Now, Lynn knew me from about a year earlier, when I'd written an 8 page fanfic on a couple who is NOT supposed to be fanficced, and submitted it to a yahoo group for the sheer stinking hell of it. I rode the high of that acceptance for months, and now, well, I was being accepted with a big smooch and a hug and a foot rub. "If I Must" followed in short order, and there I was, late August, driving through "Levee Oaks", thinking, "What can I write next? They like me. They really really like me."
So what I was thinking about behind the, "What can I write next?" was really, how wonderful it was to be accepted for who you were--and celebrated even. How wonderful it felt when people didn't just tolerate your quirks, they embraced them.
Six weeks later, Keeping Promise Rock was done--somewhere in the middle of writing it, we went to the Renaissance Faire and watched Mikhail and Kimmy (as I came to think of them as) dance. Weird, how stuff like that starts, isn't it?