Tangled Web, in case you didn’t know, is the first book I ever published as an indie author. In April 2011, I clicked PUBLISH for the very first time for the Amazon Kindle. It took me a while to ease into other platforms and to publish other books, but that first part was done. The story, the cover, the blurb. All that stuff, done. I’d figured out how to format, how to write a blurb, how to upload all those digital files. I figured out so many things that, when I look back on that first year, I’m amazed at everything I learned to become an independent publisher.
I don’t regret any of it!
I loved it then. Even today, although it’s sometimes more frustrating, I still do. My favorite part is talking to my readers. And so every once a while I’ll do a #TBT Throwback Thursday here on the blog tell you about either some research I had to do for a book or inspiration or something fun about one of my older books. Several years ago, I was doing Throwback Thursday on my blog but I’m taking a different approach this time—and, to kick it off, it would probably be best to start with my first book and tell you the inspiration for that first indie rock star novel of mine.
The inspiration came from the most unlikely of places. My daughter, the previous year, had competed in her first high school talent show. She was a great singer (actually still is!), and she was inspired to get up onstage—but she wanted to sing some of her favorite rock songs (in choir, there was none of that evil rock and roll! 😉 ). One of her favorite bands was The Pretty Reckless. My daughter and I actually have quite different music tastes, but she loved their first album—and introduced me to them. To this day, I listen to their music. She does not. 🙂 But I digress!
So my daughter sang and even dressed as if she were a rock singer. Some of her friends in choir had solo performances as well, but there was a healthy variety of difference acts—comedy skits, a solo electric guitarist playing some classic riffs, some magic, all kinds of good stuff from the talented kids who attended her high school.
One of the final acts was a band played all their own instruments, covering a couple of well-known metal songs. What really cracked me up was how they treated that auditorium as if it were their first live concert. Huge speakers blasting out ear-splitting guitars, kids screaming and jumping up and down—and I realized that I might have been one of few parents there who was enjoying it.
But what that whole thing did was take me back to my youth. I remembered an air guitar concert near the end of my senior year, of so many good-looking boys “playing” songs I loved. I remembered toying with the idea in my youth of becoming a metal goddess (it helps to have musical talent, so I turned my sights elsewhere!). But, meanwhile, my subconscious began churning…
By this point (fall 2010), I’d already written a few books. For years, I’d attempted traditional publishing, only succeeding in having smaller works published—but I still had the desire, still needed to tell stories. By the end of that year, all these ideas melded in my brain, and I had to write that story. I knew it would wind up as a printed document in a drawer somewhere or simply a digital file that I’d pick at on occasion—but, of course, I discovered Amazon and the rest is history.
I am so grateful that I had that story I just had to get down, because, even though Tangled Web is not the longest story I’ve ever told, it’s one of the most heartfelt. I fell in love with those characters, and I had to tell their story. Here’s a short snippet of a scene that has resonated with readers over the years:
~ ~ ~
As she pulled her jeans up, Katie stretched. Johnny already had his pants zipped up again. His eyes seemed to sparkle and he had a slight grin on his face. While Katie couldn’t imagine the future, she knew now that everything would be all right, would even be pretty close to perfect. Running her fingers through her hair, she couldn’t help but smile back.
She felt shy talking to Johnny about the future now—which was completely stupid. She had just fucked him in a completely uninhibited manner with dozens of people in the room next door, and now she was tongue tied? Besides that, they’d known each other since they were kids. Why now did she feel like she couldn’t even broach the subject? Biting the corner of her lip, she drew in a deep breath. As she eased herself up to sit on the counter, she realized it emphasized how short she was as her legs dangled. But she felt at ease there just the same. “So now what?” Just asking a simple question made her cheeks feel warm and flushed.
Johnny looked up from smoothing the vinyl fabric on his thighs. “Well, I say we go back to the party and eat us some beers.”
Katie chuckled in the back of her throat. Leave it to Johnny. “No, I mean…us.”
Johnny straightened and then shook his head. “What d’ya mean? Nothing’s really changed, has it?”
The smile on her face waned, but she refused to believe anything was amiss. “Yeah. It kinda has.”
Reaching down, Johnny tugged at the tongue of his right boot, straightening it out before making eye contact again. “No, not really.” After he finished with his boot, he stood again, leaning his left shoulder against the wall where the floor buffer had once been, looking straight at her. Katie kept her lips sealed while her eyebrows drew together slightly. “Here’s the way I see it,” Johnny said, a cocky tone in his voice. “We were friends walking in here; we’re friends when we leave. And, hell, it’ll be nice to have a friend here in Colorado when I tour. You’ll be my woman at this port.” Holding one hand over his chest, he stuck the other in the air as if reciting a pledge. “I promise you’ll be the only woman I fuck in Colorado or any adjoining states.” He shifted his gaze to her breasts before shooting it back to her eyes. “And holy shit. Wear that fuckin’ Renaissance top next time I’m here, and I’ll try to figure out how it works. Goddamn, that makes your rack look fucking incredible.”
What the hell was he saying? Katie felt like she was hearing a foreign language that she was having to translate as it hit her ears, and it delayed her response. More than that, she didn’t think she’d ever felt so used, so degraded in her entire life. Finally, as she felt her mouth slacken in disbelief, she tried to speak, but she still couldn’t bring herself to say anything. Her face must have given her away, though, because Johnny stood up straight again, folding his arms across his chest. “That’s what you wanted, isn’t it? A friend with benefits?”
Finally, Katie moved her tongue. “Is that what you think?”
Johnny smirked, the corner of his mouth turning upward. “Where does thought come into play? Have we actually thought about any of this?” Suddenly, his eyes lost their twinkle, growing cold.
Katie was seeing a side of Johnny she honestly hadn’t even known existed. He was being a dick. “What are you saying?”
Walking toward the door, Johnny pulled the floor buffer to the side and grabbed the doorknob. “I’m saying that we’re friends, Katie. We’ll always be friends, no matter what. And if you wanna be friends with benefits, I’m cool with that, too. ‘Cause, hey, that was an awesome fuck tonight. A great way to end a show.” Tilting his head, he pulled the door open, assaulting them with the noise of the party in the large room. “Now, I’m gonna go enjoy my fans. Why don’t you join me?” With that, he walked out the door, leaving her completely alone as it closed behind him.
Jesus Christ. Katie felt the breath rush out of her lungs, ripping out of her body like a stock car…
~ ~ ~
Last year, I did a light rewrite. If you’ve read it already, know that the story has not changed. I’ve just made the prose a little smoother.
Maybe you’ve never read the book—and, if not, that’s okay. So many books, so little time. 🙂 But if you’d like to check out the story, it’s on Amazon in Kindle Unlimited:
If you’re wishing it were available in another format, please let me know in the comments section. Over the past year or so, I’ve pulled a lot of my series into KU but I’ve started taking some wide again—so if there’s a retailer you’d rather purchase from, just let me know!
Thank you so much for reading not just this blog post but thank you for reading my books! There are so many stories out there ripe for the reading, so I want you to know how much I appreciate that you also read mine! My pledge to you is to keep writing not just not just rockstar stories but all kinds of tales to keep you entertained and amused and intrigued! As always, there is much more to come!