About a year before I started writing Ensnared v 3, I wrote a couple of stories that were to be an excerpt of the later novel. They stories were called Enthralled and Enthralled 2. The central theme of the stories is how Andreas is actually getting off on being Darius' pleasure slave and develops a need to be possessed by Darius that way. This still remains a big theme in the current novel. But there is a major divergence in the plot from what I wrote in the short stories. The nature of that change is what I wanted to talk about in this blog.
When characters are written well, they behave in a predictable way according to their personality. Andreas is very open and friendly once he knows he can trust someone. Darius is very close to Mykos and that is a strong incentive for Andreas to build a relationship with him. Mykos has a similar temperament to Darius. He has the dry sense of humor and a tendency to tease those he likes. By the end of Volume Two of Ensnared, Mykos was growing fond of Andreas. Additionally, they spent a couple of months in the closer quarters of the Cosimo Tower where Mykos was there for most of their meals and many of their evenings. Logic dictates that they would be close enough by the beginning of Volume 3 that Andreas would not feel the need to formally invite him for a meal to have a conversation with him. While I really loved the scene in Enthralled 2 between Mykos and Andreas, it made no sense when I really thought about it.
Still, I wanted the fun of the interactions I had in the short story. In the current novel Mykos can be annoyingly playful when Andreas least expects him to be. This leads Andreas to the conclusion that Cosi are an exasperating group as a lot. I get to show a side of Mykos that was not as prominent in the first books. And those scenes were a lot of fun to write. Not fighting the logic in a character's behavior can result in some truly magical and unexpected moments and scenes that were never part of the original plan.
Another theme Enthralled was that Darius was not finding time to be with Andreas, so drastic measures had to be taken to get his attention. Well, that didn't fit Darius' personality. He would never neglect Andreas, especially when he's feeling stressed. Neglect isn't the worry in the novel. Andreas is now fretting over being inadvertently injured by a huge, stressed out Cosi. On top of that, Andreas and Mykos have to convince Darius that he must be trained as a proper Dami Owner, so Andreas can prepare to be a proper Dami in some really hairy situations. Of course, training is very, very sensual. This pushes all kinds of dangerous buttons for Darius. These are great opportunities for some amazing love scenes that all stem from their character traits. But there is also potential for a lot of trouble when Andreas uses his sexual magnetism to push the buttons of their enemies. Andreas is realizing his power as a pleasure slave. He decides that he's tired of others trying to provoke his Cosi into ruin. Andreas is out to do some hard pushing of his own. Of course, he has to keep Darius from over reacting. Andreas is one busy guy in this book.
These steps are all completely logical for Andreas to take. As a Crew Leader, he always waited and watched to get the lay of the land before calculating a strategy. He had a lot to wrap his mind around in the first two books. In this one, he knows who he is and is fairly comfortable straddling both worlds. And he is also embracing the complexities of being a Dami to such a powerful being. He plans to use that in every way he can to protect Darius. The biggest challenge will be getting Darius to trust his plan enough to do what he needs to do.
Thus, it can seem that the characters are causing mayhem to my plots, but it's far more orderly and logical than that. I just have to remember how these guys are constructed and make sure my plots work with the traits I've already developed in them. There is a lot less hair pulling and mindless drinking when I do.
Cover Art Update
I'm happy with my sketches, but I am in no way ready to execute a full color cover that would be good enough to publish. My line art just isn't refined enough in any of the digital programs and my coloring skills are worse. I reached out to the fans on the page to find someone who could help me. To my surprise and delight, one of our favorite people – a very talented artist – offered to help me with the post production on the sketches. Her name is Christina Poag of Kittie Cakes Designs https://www.facebook.com/kittiecakes?fref=nf&pnref=story. I've even figured out what I want to do for the cover designs (they'll make nice posters, too).
If everything continues at the current pace, we should be putting out the first part of Ensnared v 3 in June. That means that the proofreads will be getting pages within the next week or so. Crossing fingers.
The short story Enthralled can be found here:
Enthralled 2 can be found here on page 12: