Mikea Howard

Author of The Diesel War series

Website of Mikea Howard, author of the dieselpunk paranormal erotic romance series The Diesel War

And thus the adventure began...

On Sunday, August 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm MST I received the following email from my sister-in-law Kelly:

 "So since you said **** asked when we were writing a book I have been thinking about it. LOL, so here is a story that has been bouncing in my head for a bit. This is as far as it went for me and I just put it down to send on to you. I really think it would be fun to see what we come up with. I am thinking I am a seat of your pantser, because there is no plan here:)
Here is the beginning...so, see if the story takes you beyond this. There is no rush or timeline...I know that classes have you busy. I hope it's not too cliche, I thought it was different enough, but if it needs changes, make them."

We had always joked that we would have to start writing when we ran out of things to read. But as all romance readers know, there is NEVER a shortage of good stories in our preferred genre. However, I figured it would be worth a try. We were both voracious readers of all paranormal, urban fantasy, and BDSM (gasp!) romance novels. So I opened her attachment 'rough draft.rtf' and gave it a read-though. It started out exactly how I like them, right in the middle of something, making you say "Whoa! What happened? Who is this person?". Sure, it had some cliche romance items, but what romance novel doesn't have one or two? Right?

I thought, "Ok, here we go!" as I mentally cracked my knuckles. Then I sat there and just stared at the blank area of the document, sure I would fill it instantly with exciting prose...only to have nothing come to me. My mind was utterly blank. Two characters just standing there, in the woods. I saw nothing beyond what Kelly had provided.

Granted, I was in the middle of going back to school full time to take on a whole new career right in the middle of my adult life. So my brain was consumed with thoughts of memorizing every muscle and bone in the human body, homeostasis and it's affect on the physiological processes, the difference between a muscle spindle cell and a golgi tendon organ, etc. But shouldn't writing the next part be easy? She'd done the hard part and started it off.

I mean, come on, I've been playing at writing romance since I was in middle school. I used to stay at my best friend Joanna's house over the weekends. We'd eat as much sugar as we possibly could without going into a diabetic coma, watch music videos on Night Tracks, and I'd add to my romance story. A steamy story about me and a certain member of an 80's new wave band. Who just happened to be 10 years my senior, but I didn't mind (a story which I sadly STILL have stored in a box under the stairs). Then again in my 20's. Except this time, instead of writing about a teenage crush turned sticky and sweaty, I began writing short stories and emailing them to my boyfriends, to see how quickly they'd show up at my door. Well, lets just say that I received favorable reviews. So adding to an already started story should be a piece of cake.

Well, apparently not. Her draft sat idle, my muse apparently on an extended vacation. Kelly, having had no response from me, modified it with a new twist her muse gave her. Her heroine now lived in a dystopian dieselpunk universe. She sent me the updated opening scene. Surely, that new twist would at least raise my muse's eyebrow, intrigued by this new idea. Nope, not in the slightest.

So once again, Kelly's fantastic start to what was sure to be an excitingly hot love affair, just sat in my Inbox, and on our computer hard drives. For 15 long months, it sat there. Sure it had been abandoned for good. Gathering virtual dust.

Then towards the end of 2012 I woke from a dream that had me panting and I immediately thought "Oh. My. God. That HAS to be a scene in the book." So I laid there and thought about jumping out of bed to write it down. But thanks to a now busy life as a medical massage therapist, I was too tired to get up and jot it down. I was sure I'd remember it later. Well, it took 6 weeks for me to finally remember having the dream.

With the dream fresh on my mind once again, I opened my laptop and did a search on my hard drive to find Kelly's draft. At first my computer was like "Whaaaat are you looking for? Nope, I have no idea what you are talking about." Thankfully after painfully manually digging through every folder, I found it. I dusted it off, and began adding my new scene. Sure it wasn't a continuation of the scene Kelly had written, but it was a scene none the less. And thus the adventure began...