Annette's blog

Discovering the villain within

Work continues on my third novel, A Year with Geno.

But it has been slow going because I’m writing about unpleasant things happening to Geno’s two teenage boys, Anthony and Chris. They visit Las Vegas (dare I say Lost Vegas) to spend Christmas with their mother, Cheryl-Anne. Sounds like fun, right? Not so much.

You see, Cheryl-Anne’s priority is to keep her boyfriend, Kevin, happy. She hopes that by bringing her two sons down from Alaska, she can convince him to be impulsive and marry her.

There is a big obstacle to this: Kevin sees no reason to marry Cheryl-Anne. Perhaps you know his favorite saying: why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free. I really hate that saying. Women aren’t cows and milk isn’t sex.

I worked on this same scene for more than a month, and I struggled to understand why it was so hard for me to write. Finally, it came to me, and this wasn’t easy to admit: I am Cheryl-Anne. Yep. I am my own villain. Over the course of 22+ years of being a mom, I’ve made mistakes. Lots of them. I’ve put other people in my life before my own children, as Cheryl-Anne did. This isn’t fun to admit, and it sure isn’t fun to write about.

The other challenge with this scene is I don’t know Las Vegas. I searched online and discovered some fun websites about the city. My favorite was a site that listed all of the hotels infested with bed bugs. That list led me to a news story that one of the most famous hotels, the Sahara, closed a few years back. So of course, I checked my fictional characters into this Vegas landmark. Spoiler alert: Kevin is arrested near the end of the scene. I doubt the reader will feel sorry for him. I laughed out loud when the words appeared on my computer monitor. Honestly, I didn’t know I had it in me to deliver such justice.

Hands and arms inside the cart: Next: meet fellow Tirgearr author, Kate Robbins.

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