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Happy Release:Still Taking Chances by Roz Lee

by Em Petrova

It seems like I’ve waited a lifetime for STILL TAKING CHANCES to release. In reality, it hasn’t been all that long, but I’ve wanted to share this story ever since Elgin Huddleston first spoke his name in my head. Yeah, I know in some circles that would earn me a padded room, but the writers among you will understand! Everyone wants to know how I came up with this story, and I have to tell you, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to tell Elgin’s story. There was a time when the manuscript was languishing unfinished in a folder, and possibly doomed to remain that way.

The characters came to me a few years ago, and I kept them in my head for a long time. Elgin eventually became so vivid in my mind; I knew I had to write his story. I had the title and the characters, and I knew the kind of setting I needed. I began to write. I wrote over half of a full-length novel, and then I hit a brick wall. I couldn’t finish it. I had no idea where the story was going, or how Mary Beth was going to help Elgin. I kept typing. I kept putting words in Mary Beth’s mouth, and with each one, I felt I was further from the goal than I was before.

In the midst of this, I went on a cruise with my family, leaving the computer and manuscript behind for a week. That cruise changed my life. I came up with the idea for another book, and when I got home, I shoved Still Taking Chances into its virtual folder and began work on The Lust Boat. Over a year later, after writing and selling three books in the Lothario series, I was asked to write a novella for an anthology. I needed an idea, and I needed it fast. I dug around in my files and Elgin screamed at me. “How could you do this to me? I need you to tell my story.”

How could I resist a plea like that? I opened the file and read what I’d written so long ago. You know how they say hindsight is 20/20? It’s true. I instantly saw where I’d gone wrong. Elgin was the man I knew he had to be, but Mary Beth was all wrong. I’d made her a mouse, and Elgin was using his combat boots to stomp all over her. It took all of five minutes, or less, to decide Mary Beth had to be emotionally stronger than Elgin, and she had to have something Elgin needed desperately enough that he’d walk through fire, or go down on his knees, to find it.

Mary Beth became a dominatrix willing to risk her heart to help Elgin. I deleted everything I’d written except the opening scene, and began again. I submitted it for the anthology, but the powers that be thought it wasn’t a good fit. I was devastated. I’d never written a love story as true to the romance genre, and I couldn’t bear to shove it into a folder again. I pleaded my case, and after some discussion, Red Sage agreed to publish Still Taking Chances as a standalone novella.

I’ve never written anything I’m more passionate about than this little story. It may be short, but it’s long on emotion. I poured my heart into this, and I hope you fall in love with Elgin just as I did all those years ago.

Roz Lee

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