Years have passed it seems since I began writing my 8th novel, a deceptively innocent (for romantic smut, that is) piece by the title Peak and Thrust.  Seasons have come and gone, institutions have crumbled and fallen (Penn State, anyone?), my poodle now has age spots, I now have age spots. For a 50K novel that the calendar vows to me only took two months to complete, P&T (as I have affectionately dubbed it) sure has been a scrappy-assed, long-in-the-tooth bear to write.

Yes, a scrappy-assed, long-in-the-tooth bear.

Are you feeling the love, here?

Surprisingly, you should be. For all the wrangling with its often ungainly legs, for all the brain food this little fella ate up leaving it’s mama high and dry on anything approximating intellect, for all the fur this precious one has shed in my life, I have grown incredibly fond of this little terror.

Ain’t love strange?

(If you don’t think so, give my books a read sometime.)

Anyhow back to the Ursa Major of this tale… You would think after writing seven books in the romance genre that writing an eighth would have words like “lickity-split” and “greased lightning” attached to it…. Yeah, I’m a naïve little bugger, aren’t I?

Live and learn, huh?

P&T started out such a happy, normal child. The outline was concise though appropriately detailed and nicely colorful. Laird and Joey were strapping young gentlemen eager for a little action and a lot of love. The men came ready to play and, heck, did I have a humdinger of a story for them.

The Prologue came out without a single labor pain. Slick as a whistle. Should have suspected something right there.

Chapter One… ah, sweet old Chapter One… with it came the teeth, the claws, the carnivorous spit. This little newborn cubby didn’t want anything to do with its mama.

Soon, it’s mama returned the feeling.

Yesterday, I turned in the completed manuscript to my publisher. Yesterday, I finished Chapter One.

I admit I let it fester. I let the toothy little beast linger unattended in the shadows. I let it spit venom at all the other little chapters.

Then yesterday as the big deadline clock in the sky prepared to strike, I gave the little fella one last go… (cue the big triumphant music here, folks)… and we bonded. Finally.  It was a horribly sappy moment that you authors out there probably understand (at least, I hope somebody out there understands but we won’t really worry about that until my competency hearing, ok?). 

With Chapter One’s return to the fold, P&T blossomed into a novel I proudly call my own… long teeth and scrappy ass included.

In the next few days please join me as I introduce you to Peak and Thrust chapter by chapter (much as I did for Hard Wood, Soft Heart). For twelve days, you’ll get a new chapter’s name and an excerpt. There’s bound to be laughter and tears, heart-warming anecdotes and harsh scraps of my reality as a day-to-day mental illness survivor.

As always, thank you for reading and thank you all for bringing every new Chapter One into my life.


Chloe Stowe