In Order to Consider a Sequel…

Author’s Note: So I want to do more sequels, build on worlds I’ve already established, spend more time with characters that are already friends, and maybe get away from some of the things I repeat too often.

I was rereading this story to re-immerse myself in the world and the lives of these characters, and I figured if I was try and brainstorm a sequel, maybe I should share the beginning of the first one.

From Matched Set

How do you ask someone for a favor after you broke their heart?

Or maybe she should call it what it really was—a betrayal. She’d done it, and she’d never admitted that to herself, not before now. She had no idea what he’d do, how he’d react to seeing her again, and she didn’t care for all of the unknowns here. She was used to walking into a situation and knowing exactly how to handle it, but this was unfamiliar ground for her.

Suck it up already, she told herself. She was Wichita Price. She was a highly sought after consultant with two best-selling true crime novels. She’d worked hard to get her position and build her reputation in her field, and she wasn’t about to back down now. She might not have seen him in almost six years, but that didn’t mean she was afraid of him. Hardly. It wasn’t like she didn’t still have a badge and a gun, and she could use them if she needed to. That didn’t scare her, either. She could handle anything that was thrown her way, and Reece—well, he was just one of those things.

Or the biggest mistake of her life.

She parked the Yukon in front of the house and studied it for a moment. Remote, simple, it suited him. She knew this place had been in his family for years, though no one had bothered to make much of it after they’d homesteaded it. It was a small blip in the middle of a desert. An oasis, he’d called it once. A mirage, she’d countered.

It still felt like a mirage, that was for sure.

Damn it, why now? It had been five years. The case was closed. The bad guy was behind bars. It was all over and done. It should have stayed that way. Locked up, boxed away, and forgotten. All of that was finished. The past was gone, couldn’t be brought back, and that was how it stayed.

It had better be a copycat. That was what it was. This new killing was some idiot thinking he could get famous by imitating someone else. Or maybe it was an homage, a way of honoring the bastard in the way that only psychopaths could, but still, it wasn’t the same guy. It was someone else. Someone different. They’d put the right man behind bars.

Of course, if that was true, then she wouldn’t be here, would she? At the very least, she could give Reece the satisfaction of saying I told you so. With a sigh, Wichita opened the door and got out of the SUV. She took off her jacket, leaving it on the seat. It was too damn hot out here, and this would be uncomfortable and unpleasant enough as it was. She pulled her hair back into a ponytail before she shut the door.

Now or never. She couldn’t delay it any longer. He had to know she was here by now. Maybe not her, specifically, but he had probably heard the Yukon pull up and was waiting for the driver to come to the door. It was time.

No, it wasn’t. Maybe he’d have the satisfaction of an I told you so, but it wasn’t much, and she’d been careful to keep away from him after what she’d done. She gave him that much. He didn’t need her as a reminder, didn’t need salt poured into that wound. They were better off apart. After what she’d done, he couldn’t trust her, and their friendship was completely gone.

Along with a few other things, leaving him back at his crappy oasis while her career really took off. She had her own team now and the books, and she was at the top of her game. People requested her by name, wanted her to consult across the country. She wasn’t some backwoods detective relying on her partner for guidance, not anymore.

She stepped onto the porch, hearing the wood creak under her boot, and she reached over to ring the doorbell. After a moment, the door opened.

Reece leaned against the door frame, his hand above his head, dark eyes sweeping over her. Except for the slight mark of the scar near his forehead, no one would have ever known what he’d been through. He was lean and fit, still in perfect shape, and she had to wonder if he’d left that shirt of his unbuttoned on purpose.

“I thought it was you,” he muttered. She tried to smile, but he shook his head. “Should have told them to send someone else. I have nothing to say to you.”

And he slammed the door in her face.

Just When I Needed You Most

I could blame this on Pandora again. I just might.

At any rate, I recently went through and editted Matched Set, and between that and hearing this song again, I was reminded of the way Reece and Wichita’s friendship fell apart.

I thought of using one of the other versions of this song, but I went with the original because it fit more with what happened in the story.

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.


So I could start in on a bit of a diatribe about how Pandora comes up with the weirdest things sometimes, though I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me too much that this song keeps popping up on my Melanie (Safka) station because they classify both artists as folk.

Listening to it again, it reinforced just how much it was Reece and Wichita in Matched Set. The old friendship. Torn apart.

This first verse seemed very them, mostly her but a bit him, too:

I watch you grow away from me in photographs
And memories like spies
And salt betrays my eyes again
I started losing sleep and gaining weight
And wishing I was was ten again
So I could be your friend again

There’s a particular flashback that makes this section of the lyrics stand out:

Then just when we believe we could be great
Reality it permeates
And conquers from within again

Then I went looking for a video and found the official one strangely close to the ideas I’d had, lost friendship and all.

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

Shatter Your Illusions of Love

Writing lately has mainly alternated between Five and Ten and a new story that just has a working title, Favor, but this song was playing, and this section related a lot to what I was doing with both of them, as different as they are.

Past loves, broken hearts, moving on…

Well, did she make you cry, make you break down,
Shatter your illusions of love
And is it over now, do you know how
Pick up the pieces and go home

And while this part doesn’t relate to what I was writing, I’ve always liked it.

Rulers make bad lovers
You better put your kingdom up for sale
Up for sale…

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

Sometimes a Story Creates a New Story…

Having finished Matched Set, which took me about a week, a fact that I’m still stunned and amazed by, I turned my attention back to my other projects.

I have many, many incomplete stories and projects lying around. Some of them aren’t really worth salvaging, and some of them deserve a hell of a lot better than this.

It was starting to look like The Monster in My Garden Shed was heading toward this inglorious fate, and I refused to let that happen. Not only have I been talking about it in a public forum, which makes the idea of abandoning it less than appealing for the fact of everyone knowing my defeat, the story is too good and the characters too deserving of having their story concluded to let that happen.

I’d edited the story before I put it aside three weeks ago, all the while unable to decide how to keep going.

The problem was wanting to tell two stories. The Monster in My Garden Shed is, in my opinion, a story with considerable depth and complexity and layers, a challenging world that continually draws me in (and thwarts me at every opportunity) and characters that I love spending time with. In the middle, though, the idea of a subplot entered the narrative, and that subplot was not something that helped the story reach a conclusion. It would have derailed the rest of it, to be perfectly honest.

I thought I’d given up on it back in chapter twenty-five, but in thirty-one, it was rearing its ugly head again. I wrote a couple of scenes that almost took it down that route, and the reader I torture with all my new fic told me they were over the top.

I admit, this put me in a bit of a funk. I couldn’t quite let go of that idea or those scenes, so even though I knew that wasn’t where The Monster in My Garden Shed should go.

After finishing The Memory Collector and Variety Store, I’d wanted to get The Monster in My Garden Shed back up to the top of the list. I couldn’t. Five and Ten was coming along, and The Not-So-Super Superhero faltered for a couple days but came back again, but instead of the garden shed, I went into Matched Set.

I don’t regret that. Wichita and Reece have a great story, and I love the explanation of the reason the killer does what he does.

After playing around with a few fun things, toying with the idea of another new story since Net almost stole the show in Matched Set like Spider did in Any Other Reality, and finishing my edits to hopefully release In the Family soon I finally figured out what I needed to do for The Monster in My Garden Shed.

I had to take that plotline out completely and give it to someone else, someone who shared enough traits with Ren to make the situation work, but one who didn’t have to worry about saving the world, either.

Now I get to keep the scenes I wrote (not exactly as they were, that didn’t work, but bits and pieces of them) and yet they’ll get cut from The Monster in My Garden Shed.

Verina Harvey now has that story, and it’s hard and painful, but it’s her story to tell, not Ren’s.