BLOG: 6's & 7'S
Last March, while I was coming down from my Valentine’s Day-induced sugar high and anticipating an Easter basket full of peeps, I was also finishing my third book, Call Me Cass, in the Cass Adams series of novels. I was in what I like to call a writing frenzy, a wrenzy, if you will, and wrote scenes with my characters that would never fit in the book, but were just fun to write. I wrote some that were funny, some that were completely inappropriate, and some that were so bad they could have been examples in creative writing classes of “How to Do Everything Wrong”. But one scene, which takes place almost twenty years ago, showed Cass and her husband, Roland, madly in love. This scene made me realize two things about my own series: 1) Roland is the character everyone loves to hate in my books, even though he is dead from the first sentence of the first book, and 2) Cass and Roland had an entire life, together, way before They Call Me Crazy came along.
So I started writing a scene, which turned into a short story, with Roland and Cass, just living life as a married couple, and I decided to set it during the one time of the year when everything is about peace, love, understanding, and charity: Christmas. I figured that would give my readers a chance to see a good side of Roland and maybe understand a little more about Cass’ state of mind before she decided to bury him in their yard. When I finished, I realized two things: 1) It was impossible to show Roland in a good light because he was a real ass, and 2) I’d written a really good story that I wanted to somehow share with my readers.
I began asking other authors if they thought about how their characters spent Christmas, and that led to “can you write a short story about it?” I mean, if my readers would like to see the Adams’ dysfunctional Christmas, then why wouldn’t they want to see other characters experiencing the holidays in their own way as well? The detectives, the single moms, the LGBT teenagers, the bankers, the wizards, the dragonslayers, the psychic dogs, the trail mom and the first woman to run for president? Regardless of genre, they all share one thing: they celebrate December, in one way or another. As the Google Maps in my head often does, one thing led to another, and the result was twenty authors, all writing stories about characters from their books during whatever winter holiday they celebrate. The result was the creation of a holiday anthology, Tangled Lights and Silent Nights.
As I said above, Christmas to me is about peace, love, understanding, and charity, and even though Roland and Cass had a hard time with that, a group of writers didn’t. We decided to donate all the proceeds from the book to the LifeAfter-Visions of Hope project, which has a primary mission to bring awareness to three topics prevalent in our society: Suicide, Substance Abuse, and Domestic Violence. In one way or another, these issues have affected each one of our lives and being able to help LifeAfter with our stories was an easy decision for all of us. Using what we do best to help others become the best they can be? No-brainer.
So I hope you will pick up a copy of Tangled Lights and Silent Nights to see how Cass Adams and her multi-genred friends spend their holidays and help us support the LifeAfter -Visions of Hope project. Because what could be better than spending the holidays with your favorite fictional characters, meeting some new ones, and raising money for a charity that helps others?
Visit my website at www.kstonegamble.com and check out my books, The USA Today bestseller They Call Me Crazy, Call Me Daddy, and Call Me Cass (coming in 2019 from Red Adept Publishing). Also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, because I love hearing from you!
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