After almost two decades of hoping and wishing and dreaming about this, it is finally here – a date I will never forget.
December 15th, 2022.
The day I went from Aspiring Romance Author to Published Romance Author.
It still feels a little surreal that my very first book baby, Taste of Hell is finally here. While it is not the first story I have written from start to finish, it is the first that has taken me through all the highs and lows that come with self-publishing a novel. As stressful as this process was, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
That said, this blog post is being done for the sole purposes of documenting this milestone moment in my little corner of the internet. It is also meant to kick-start what I hope to be the first of many in this series, aptly titled Musings of a delicatesoul88 in each book.
The Making of Taste Of Hell
To keep things somewhat simple, let’s call this The Making Of Taste Of Hell or something along those lines. This is the part where I get to say all sorts of mumbled-up, unedited, and un-prettified things. But since you’ve made it this far and are still reading past this sentence, I’m assuming you are just as interested in reading this as I am writing this.
So let’s dive in!
First things first, I write from the heart. While I am not a therapist, generational trauma has always interested me, particularly in how it molds and influences our lives. We all have trauma that we need to unpack, and whether we like it or not, it affects our lives in one way or another.
That said, since I am using this in a fictional context, it goes without saying that I do my research on this. However, I don’t claim to be the subject matter expert on anything. This is being applied in a fictional context, but if you can see yourself in any of these characters, then I hope I have done my job to some extent. If not, it was meant for entertainment anyway.
Expect most (if not all) of my characters to be diverse or be in interracial and/or intercultural relationships. My stories are character driven and often contain and/or address sensitive subjects like racism, sexual orientation, religion, discrimination, etc. Trigger warnings will be provided where appropriate.
For the record, this disclaimer is something I intend to put in all of my books. This is also stated in my author bio. Unapologetically authentic about it, so if you do decide to follow me along on this writing journey, welcome aboard. Feel free to message me (my email address is on my author website), follow me on social media (just search the name Elice Nange on the various platforms), etc. I won’t bite, promise. Unless you are into that sort of thing.
Along that wavelength, because these stories are character-driven, heterosexual characters in this series will be the exception, not the norm. David is openly bisexual. Dahlia is… I don’t know what she is, so even though she’s written as a straight woman, I can assure you she isn’t. She suffers from a mild form of thixophobia (a fear of being touched), which makes it particularly tricky to form sexual attachments to anyone. But that’s just the fun, right?
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get down to my actual ramblings since that’s what we are here for.
This book was a hot mess when I first wrote it. What you just read is nowhere near what I initially wrote, and there are several people to thank for this. For context, it was around 30k words long (as opposed to this 105,340-word finished product. Or 107,850 words if you count the Bonus Content). Thank you, Leanne, for encouraging me to throw out my self-imposed word count limit. Thank you, Amanda, for re-doing this book cover (the original one was atrocious), for giving me pretty pictures and graphics that inspired me to write faster, and for connecting me with Courtnay who was more than willing to dive into this mess at short notice. Last but not least, thank you, Barb, for letting me know using the Cheating trope with this book would be a hard sell.
Do I love how David and Dahlia’s story turned out without it? You bet!
It is much better without it — if I do say so myself.
Did I miss someone on the above list — probably. Please bear with me, okay?
That said, if the story invoked strong emotions in you, then I did my job. I’d like to think I gave both of my editors a run for their money. I think I broke my beta reader in the process. One of my critique partners (who has chosen to remain anonymous) was ready to strangle Curtis and feed him through a wood chipper by the end of the first act. Fictionally, of course! There have been other suggestions as to what I could do with him, but this one made me crack up (if you watched the TV show Bones, you’ll know what I mean).
For the record, he isn’t meant to be likable, and once you make it through the first act, you’ll see that his actions are meant to permanently close the door to any hopes of a reconciliation between him and Dahlia.
This particular storyline has been bouncing around in my head for years. Fertility is a very sensitive subject. So too is Slavery (and if you have no idea what this is, I suggest that you Google or Bing the word, or even visit your local library and do some reading — you’re welcome). I wanted to combine those two things together with this book and explore a different take on it. Disclaimer (in case the descriptions didn’t make this clear), Dahlia and Delilah are both Caucasian. Think back on the time when IVF was in its infancy and who had access to it, and know that this plays into the story.
That said, know that these characters are battling their respective cycles of generational trauma and looking to break the cycle. So I’ll say this — David isn’t meant to be a perfect character, despite his background. At the risk of repeating what was already outlined in the story, he is a classic example of nature versus nurture. Money can’t buy happiness. It can’t even buy you a decent childhood. And also, nothing ever is as it seems. Even the devil himself has a heart.
Likewise, Dahlia isn’t meant to be a perfect character, despite her background. There’s a lot about her not to like. In regards to her pregnancy, it is intentional how she is written. She’s been clear from the start that she doesn’t want children. As my beta reader, Courtnay, phrased it, for 95% of the story Dahlia saw herself as a human incubator for this child, nothing more. Believe it or not, there are women like this. That’s the whole point of my body, my choice. I get that this is a hard pill to swallow, it was just as hard to write it, but that is true to her character. The story concludes without her giving a definite answer on this — again, this is by design and in keeping with her character. However, if you read the Bonus Chapter you’ll get your answer.
Nikita Gill has a saying about perfectly imperfect souls (i.e. show me the damaged parts of your soul….), this isn’t an exact phrasing. But that is what best depicts Dahlia (and David too). They are meant to be flawed. They are meant to have questionable morals. They are both meant to be cold and clinical. And yet, they deserve to be loved. Having them find that in each other was my goal.
And while their story is technically concluded, this storyline isn’t. Because we still have lots of those, don’t we? Unanswered questions. Who is orchestrating all of this and pulling on Nalina’s strings? What really happened to all those women subjected to the beautiful nightmare that is Curtis? Who is Zainab? What happens with this innocent child who will be thrust into this tumultuous world he had no say in? And so on.
Stick around for this bumpy ride and storyline, to be continued in the next book, Touch Of Heaven. Each book is meant to be a standalone, and Books 2-6 have titles already.
In the meantime, stay overly ambitious.