Beauty for Ashes Series , ,

Refiner’s Fire


Wow! I am so glad I’ve finished writing this series. You have no idea. I’m so happy that Lexi is done and dusted and I can start thinking up new characters.

So, what is the point of Refiner’s Fire? Well I’ve tried to portray how past mistakes can have consequences later in life, so that any young people (or older people) that read it will think twice about the decisions that they make. Lexi has to face up to her past, and it ain’t funny. I’ve also woven in (lol) an element of self-sacrifice. Sometimes, there are things in our lives that God wants us to give up. Lexi is holding on to something and God wants her to let go, but she’s struggling with it. Those are the two main points of this book, but of course most people that email me about this series want to know who Lexi ends up with i.e. which of the guys she eventually gets with. Well you finally get to find out in this book. By the way, I just feel I should warn you, this book had to be censored by my husband. It’s my first ‘romance-ish’ book, but I don’t think it’s too mushy. The epilogue is pretty cheesy and I have considered completely changing it, but I think I just need to stop obsessing. Anyway, let me remind you of the contenders for Lexi’s heart (in order of when Lexi met them):

Jace Washington

Heir to the Glacier Hotels and business man in his own right, Jace Washington is suave but still has an edge to him. Lexi has been crazy about him since high school, but he dumped her when he became a Christian. Could he be the one???

Carl Layton

Does Carl do a Lazarus and rise from the dead a changed man, and ready to treat Lexi right if she will marry him a second time? Lol!!!

Dan Black

Heir to the Billion Dollar business that is the Diamond Parlor, Dan Black is wealth and good looks personified. Lexi met him at college in Raw Deal and neither of them were saved at the time. In Red Carpet Lexi found out some shocking things about him. But is he the one???

Kyle Martins

Hip Hop singer Kyle Martins has a Christian background and he is pretty hot stuff. Does Lexi’s appreciation for the way Kyle teamed up with Jace to save her from the S.O.T. make Lexi fall head over heels in love with him? Do they hook up and live happily ever after shooting music videos together and traveling the world?

Frazer Lincoln

You guys have no idea who Frazer is. He’s a new guy that is introduced to Lexi in Refiner’s Fire and he is really sweet. The full package. He’s just not saved. But does he get saved and ask for Lexi’s hand in marriage?

Hmm, what a dilemma. At the end of Red Carpet Jace was engaged to Debbie Morris, and Lexi and Dan were kinda in Limbo. Will Lexi steal Jace away from Debbie or will Jace and Debbie approach her about having a polygamous marriage? Will Dan decide to propose to Lexi in public and cause her untold humiliation or will he tell Lexi that the resurrected Carl is her rightful husband? Will Kyle and Lexi elope in Vegas or will Kyle do something totally unforgivable that will make Lexi hate him forever? I guess you’ll just have to read it to find out…

Beauty for Ashes Series , , ,

The Making of Beauty for Ashes

Before I give you all the juicy behind the scenes info that I’m sure you’re dying to read, let me just say that the characters from Beauty for Ashes have been living in my head for SIX YEARS and I am so glad I am finally done with them and can start thinking about new books and new characters! Yay!
Writing Timeline

I don’t know why Raw Deal took me so long to write and rewrite. I worked on it for five years, adding things, cutting things, and trying to make sure that it laid a good foundation for the series. Even now I’m not really satisfied with it as it’s still too long, but I guess I just need to stop obsessing.

Red Carpet took me about a month to write, maybe a bit more. I wrote the first hundred pages about four years ago and didn’t finish it because I was so hung up on Raw Deal. Anyway, when I got back to it a few months ago I just picked up from where I left off and decided that it was going to be written and I wasn’t going to obsess about it.

Refiner’s Fire was probably the least stressful. It was written in three weeks. I should say four but for one of those four weeks I had really bad writers block and couldn’t write, and started panicking thinking I wouldn’t be able to finish it. I know that sounds really dramatic, but the writers’ block was pretty serious. Someone needs to develop a medication for writers block, I swear! I knew everything that was going to happen in the book, but I just couldn’t get the words down. I’m not really sure why. Anyway, I drove my husband crazy about it and he was just like ‘well take a break from it’ but I didn’t want to. I wanted to get it written. Well, I took a break from it and a week later my creative juices were flowing again. Praises be!!!

Character Names

I am not good at finding names for characters. I tend to find out as I’m writing that I’ve given three characters the same name, or that some characters have the same surname and they’re not related. Anyway, Lexi Dixon was originally white, blond-haired, and blue eyed, and her name was Jessica Anderson, but I realised that she wasn’t edgy enough and I didn’t really care about her when she was Jessica Anderson. I have to care about my main character or I just get sick of writing about them and start trying to tear my hair out. You have my friend Elizabeth to thank for the fact that boring blond Jessica Anderson became exotic Cuban Lexi Dixon. She read half of one of the very first drafts of Raw Deal and went “Why is she so…” and I was like “so…what?” and she was like, “So…” So I thought I’d better do something about her.

Jessica Anderson was also British, and I realized that things would just get too complicated, because she and Monica wouldn’t have any history and she’d have to journal about her old friends in England and call them from time to time to make it realistic. And I didn’t feel like writing about old friends in England. So I made her American, but said she’d lived in England.

Another name that changed was Jace’s. He was originally Joshua. But I thought I’d call my next leading man Joshua (that’s a different book), so I just plucked a name out of the air.

Then there’s Jay (James) Black who I had to change to Dan Black because Jay was too similar to Jace and I didn’t want readers getting confused.

When I was writing Red Carpet I realized that there were three Williams: the youth leader in Bridge Community church, Lexi’s dad, and the male model that Lexi shoots a Diamond Parlor commercial with. So the youth leader became Mike, and the male model became Phil. Then I realised there were two Mikes, so Lexi’s mom’s new man became Sean. Then I realised there were two Seans. So Sean Cassidy became Dale Cassidy. And just when I thought the name drama was over. I realised that Xena Hurst and Gage Hurst might look like they’re married, so Xena Hurst became Xena Westwood. And that was that!

Oh yeah, the Glacier Hotel was originally the Diamond Glacier Hotel. I have no clue what I was thinking. Then I realized that it didn’t need to be called the Diamond Glacier,  it could just be called the Glacier. And just for the record, I have no clue what the S.O.T. stands for. They are a secret society and since I am not a member, I don’t know. Sorry, but I wanted them to be a mystery to me as well so if you were expecting a lofty philosophical explanation email me and I’ll make one up for you J

I was going to make Lexi’s Dad Will Dixon an S.O.T. grandmaster. Lexi was going to find out in Refiner’s Fire that he’d faked his death so that he could get more occult powers and rule world and become the antichrist. Lexi and her mom were going to be so heartbroken and their lives would’ve been endangered. Hmm, maybe another book.

I will add to this article as and when I remember any other juicy tidbits about the writing process for this series.