Sometimes a contemporary story world just happens. Other times it's inspired by a picture...a sense of place...a group of beloved characters. Courthouse Connection, my next planned series of erotic contemporary romances, draws from inspirations by all three of these factors.
A mental picture, of a courtroom in Tampa, Florida, of prosecutors and defense teams, defendants, witnesses and judges, sets the backdrop for me to move on, consider the surrounding countryside and its people. This part was easy, because I decided up front to spin this series off Lawyers in Love, one of my first series efforts for Ellora's Cave. (Voila! Not only do I have my visuals and sense of place, but I also have some well-developed secondary characters who starred in books in the previous series.)
I begin building my new series based on the sense of place I've developed and the already-made secondary characters who will bring color to the new series which, by the way, will go in an entirely different direction than its predecessor. My next step is to decide on a particular situation that will not only lend itself to an erotic romance story but also deliver a situation that will bring
unlikely lovers together.
Then, with a very sketchy framework in mind, I begin creating characters, the most important pieces of any erotic romance. One major character in each book must have a tight connection to the court, while the other (others if I'm writing a menage) needs to have a problem that's likely to have them dragged into court.
In FRAMED, the first of the series, the hero is a private investigator--a former cop who works for the law firm the heroine has hired to defend her on a charge of murdering her powerful husband. Not convinced at first that she is innocent, he tries to ignore the chemistry that has sizzled between them from the beginning.
TAMED pits a BDSM club owner and her submissive male partner against a state attorney determined to use the prosecution of them as a springboard to higher office. The hero defends them and is drawn into a BDSM menage that will shock his blue-blooded family.
The next book, SHAMED, brings together a betrayed wife with an ex-Navy Seal detective hired by her attorney to dig into her husband's underhanded dealings. At stake is the bar/cafe near the courthouse that the heroine has poured years of sweat and tears into--her livelihood.
REDEEMED--that's the way this hero feels. An upcoming attorney now, he has experienced the other side and clawed his way back. When he marries his childhood sweetheart, they're both on top of the world until a ghost from his past rears its head and threatens their marriage and his sanity.
By the time these books are written, a lot of the details now in my mind will change--they always do, because I tend to write by the seat of my pants instead of following detailed outlines. The series framework, though, will give me enough guidance that I can hopefully keep the series coherent, while each book will stand on its own.