A few years ago, I was fed up with some things that were going on in writing, romance writing/publishing in particular. More as a form of therapy than anything, I popped out some short stories/novellas under the name I. Ronik. They were campy, awful, awesomely satirical stories that were an absolute blast to write, helped me blow off some steam, and had a decent following.
I pulled them down a couple of years back because they just didn’t fit with the direction I wanted to go anymore with my writing. Two of the stories stood out to me however, and I’ve long had the idea of revisiting them at some point in the future. Better Luck Next Time and Sheepsquatch both have elements of something that resonated with me.
The other installations in what I ended up calling the Vapid Vixens series were fun – but Better Luck Next Time and Sheepsquatch were darker and deeper, even through the campy awfulness. There were elements in those two stories that had aspects of character building and humanity I was just starting to develop in my other writing to a deeper degree.
In Better Luck Next Time, we have a woman married to a powerful man. She finds out—has known already, really—that he’s cheating on her as part of his “job duties,” and she’s had enough. She walks out. Hurting, wanting to hurt him back, she becomes an escort. Now, that’s pretty far removed from anything I’ve ever written in either of my main series. I try not to make my characters there Mary Sunshines and Goody Two-Shoes, but I don’t aim to make them irredeemable. Historically, for a lot of romance readers, making the heroine an escort would do just that. Well, I broke that barrier in Better Luck Next Time. I’d never have someone like Amber as a heroine in the Firefly Hollow Series or Olman County because she wouldn’t work there, but she was tremendously compelling on several levels, and I’d like to revisit her universe to see how I might approach her story today.
As for the wild and woolly, Sheepsquatch is another story entirely, no pun intended. When I wrote that hot mess, I set out to hit the tone of a SyFy movie-of-the-week. Utterly absurd, ridiculous, and funny in a horrifyingly bad way, I think I came close to achieving my goals. But I don’t think I told the story in a way it deserved to be told because underneath the cringe-worthy storyline, there were some solid bones. I always think of Sheepsquatch this time of year, probably because Halloween is coming up and it’s the time of year for cheesy sci-fi movies to make the rounds.
This year, I am aiming to do something different other than just remember that story fondly. I’m looking to take a serious look at Sheepsquatch and bring it back to life as a fun series, something I can blow off some steam with, but something that gets the treatment it deserves. Whimsical but dark, entertaining and a bit creepy. Okay, a lot creepy. Again, a wide departure from what I’m writing in the Firefly Hollow universe. And I’m planning to use the blog on which to release it, though I’m also considering doing a Patreon sort of thing for that series and other things too.
As far as Sheepsquatch goes, I’ve been looking for a place to put certain elements I’ve uncovered in my researching for the Matt Kirchner/Lost River series. Dark things that make me feel like taking a brain shower after reading. Some of that will go into the Lost River series, but some… it’s too unbelievable. And it is such in an overtly ridiculous way that makes you shake your head with disgust.
I know these two projects won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and I don’t plan to put a tremendous amount of energy overall into them. My main focus right now is still the Firefly Hollow and Lost River series. But with any luck, the new gigs will be fun to work on and fun to read.
As for the Patreon idea, I’ll let you know more details on that as I flesh out what I’m thinking. Maybe early access to books, either in the form of posting chapters as they’re written or segments of the book early or something like that. If you have any ideas there, I’d love to hear them.
T. L. (AKA recently cooled down and not-quite-so-sleep-deprived author chick with a fondness for Califia Farms’ mocha cold brew coffee.)