Friday, November 8, 2013

Ending a Series

A few weeks ago I marked another new phase in my writing career, one I never would have thought would be as emotional as it was. In the last month, I ended my first ever series. Dirty Work, released October 24th with Siren Publishing, concludes the Naughty Holiday List series. I’ve been planning the end of this series for about three years, yet I was amazed how emotional it was for me to write this final book. I didn’t want to leave these characters behind.

The original idea of the series was simple. Each girl writes her own list of wants for her dream man. Over the course of five holidays, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, April Fool’s day and Labor day, these women find the man that fits each of their lists. Though not always in the way they thought he’d appear. These Mr. Right’s found quite a few ways to surprise their leading ladies, and me too.
But this original idea quickly expanded to include an entire world, a school, a theater troupe, a rock and roll band and magazine. After spending so long these characters, it’s almost as if these characters are friends from high school. Even though I’m moving on, doing other exciting series, finding other great stories and characters to flesh out, I’m still going to miss them. I learned a lot and grew a lot while writing these books.

Here’s a summary of all the Naughty Holiday List books and what they meant to me.

Naughty List was the first book picked up for publication. The idea had been floating around in my head for some time of a woman who wrote down what she wanted in a man and then found him. When I found a submission call for naughty holiday stories the two ideas converged. Though I didn’t sit down to write a series, I quickly knew Callie would never come up with this list on her own, and so  Giselle’s Christmas/Birthday party was invented, and four more stories were created.

This was also my first foray into BDSM (though far from my last), opening up a whole new world of works and motivations I’d never tried before.

Eric has been in love with Callie since the day they met, one month after someone else put a ring on her finger. Since her engagement ended Eric has been biding his time, waiting for her to be ready. Until he finds a naughty list of Christmas wishes hidden between her couch cushions with his name on the top.

 He's willing to do anything to make Callie happy, including take on the role of dominate Santa Claus and spank her to blow-your-stockings-off orgasm. But is she ready for everything he wants? Does she want his love? 

Midnight Mirage was my second published book and my first ménage, not only expanding my writing into a different genre and different publisher, it showed a huge growth in my writing. It might not seem like it but writing two heroes instead of one is a lot more work and takes a lot more characterization. Though this book isn’t perfect, I love these guys and learned so much from them.
Lincoln and Gabe, best friends and the hottest new alt-rock duo Mirage, only want one thing. Mallory. They’ve been waiting a year for Mallory to open her heart to both of them, to accept the alternative relationship they wish for.

Mallory’s flattered by their attentions, but can’t believe they’re anything more to sweet words. They’re rock stars, surrounded by beautiful woman. They can’t possibly want a Plain-Jane reporter like her.

When a crazed New Years Eve fan forces their hand, their protective instincts take over. Gabe and Lincoln aren’t willing to wait for their woman any longer. They initiate her with intense pleasure, ringing in the New Year the naughtiest way possible. But when they whisper words of love and forever in her ear, she runs away.

Will Mallory be able to open her heart and return their affection, or will insecurity keep her from the men that love her?

With Valentine's Ultimatum, the world I’d created expanded, not only to include more of the school staff (James the Principal, and Sheila his secretary) but also showed the students and the school where all the girls work (except Mallory, who used to work there before she quit to become a rock and roll reporter)

Krista has been in love with James for two years, but he's never made any mention of committing to her. After she plans him the ultimate naughty Valentine ’s Day surprise, and he doesn't say those three magical words, she know it’s time to move on. She may be plushy and curvy, but she still deserves someone who loves her for all she is.

Wounded by the past, James became principal at a new school to escape his mistakes. What he never anticipated was meeting someone as amazing as Krista. She fits him in every way—except her need for a ring. When she dishes out a Valentine's ultimatum, give her more or end their relationship, all those old fears come racing back. Does James have the courage to face his past for the woman he loves? Or will he lose her on principal?

Foolish Desire not only offered me the opportunity to expand into other areas of life that I loved, including Shakespeare and theater, but allowed me to write my first ever shy character in Amy. Not only was this a challenge, but of the five girls probably the one that’s closest to me in personality. Luckily she meets a clown who’s willing to spend the time to bring her out of her shell.

Amy Spear has never felt special. She’s shy, awkward, and clumsy to boot. No one ever noticed her, especially not hunky guys like Will, except for maybe when she was tripping over her own feet. Until an April Fools' prank goes too far, and for the first time Amy is the center of Will’s interest, and she's rather liking the arrangement. But does he want all of her, or just the woman who likes getting naughty to an audience?

Will Long has always been a joke. And he never minded playing the jester to a tee, until he met Amy. She’s far too sweet, too innocent, too serious for a guy like him. But when his April Fools' prank shows him a whole new side of Amy, he can’t pretend to look away any longer. But can a fool like Will keep a girl like Amy? Or will he end up being the butt of his own joke?

Dirty work has been the most challenging for me to write. Not because of the characters or the story, though Giselle is by far the most stubborn and obstinate of the set (don’t let the other girls fool you, she definitely is), but because it marks the end of this amazing chapter of growth and the beginning of my career as a writer. This one also had a lot of personal elements in it, since as I was writing it my brother was getting married. The book is dedicated to my brother and his wife for all the help and material the unintentionally gave me towards this work.

As her friend's wedding approaches, Giselle Rossini feels more discouraged than ever. She's not where she wanted to be in her life. She loves her job, but longs for something else to fill her days.

When she finds her ex-sweetheart Garrett in the school declaring he's the new auto shop teacher and he wants her back, Giselle finds her last refuge quickly vanishing. Years ago she loved Garrett, but all he did was break her heart and prove to her men are all the same.

Garrett Montgomery never stopped loving Giselle. And now he's back, determined to work his way into her life. He's not surprised Giselle isn't ready to welcome him into her arms, but he'll do anything to earn her trust again. Garrett’s never been afraid of a little hard work, especially when it includes some dirty talking and getting naughty in the back seat of his car.

But can he break through Giselle's perfect impregnable shell and into her heart, or will the labor be too much for him to withstand?

I want to thank all the readers who have joined me in this journey, and have enjoyed following my girls and their lists, and the readers that will hopefully find them in the future. Thank you all so much for your support. I hope you’ve all enjoyed these books as much as I’ve loved writing them.


Tina Donahue said...

I've just started writing series, Willa, so I can imagine how painful it is to finally end one.

Yours are wonderful.

What's up next (series-wise) for you? L(

Tina Donahue said...

I meant that last symbol to be a smile. :) It's early and my fingers aren't working yet. :)

jean hart stewart said...

Am writing the outline for the eighth and last book in my series about sexy elves called Passionate Pursuits. Am having a hard time making myself actually write it... hate to leave them...Feel for you, Wilma....

jean hart stewart said...

Slip of the finger there...wiLLa!!!!

Willa Edwards said...

Thanks Tina. I've read some of your series, its very impressive.

Right now I have two ongoing series. One is my bound by fairytales series that are historical erotic stories based on fairytales. And Snowedin Fantasies that tells the stories of the residence of Snowedin, right now the stories all revolve around a high school reunion but I have plans to expand it beyond that.

Willa Edwards said...

Jean, its very hard to leave your characters once you've grown attached to them. They become such a part of your life. Though I like to think I'll never completely say good bye to them. They'll still be a part of my writing life.