Confession: I struggle to be normal. Which means I sometimes struggle to do the “normal” thing. Case in point:
But… it’s the third book being released.
WHY CAN’T YOU BE NORMAL, JAMIE?!?! (I ask myself this with love, I promise.)
So, here’s my little secret:
I never intended the Officers’ Ex-Wives Club series to actually be a series. Southern Fried Blues, the first book released, was written as a complete standalone book at a time when I needed to write something purely for the love of writing. I self-published it in 2013 because all of my rejections from agents and editors in traditional publishing for the previous year had said, “Oh, this is really good, but it’s nothing like Fifty Shades, so we’re going to pass.” (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it.)
I called Southern Fried Blues the first book in the Officers’ Ex-Wives Club series anyway, because… well, because I could. 🙂 And then when people started asking for Kaci’s story, this scene popped into my head of her and Lance meeting when she accused him of cheating at a pumpkin chuckin’ contest, but I was elbow deep in writing the Misfit Brides series, so it took a back seat until now.
If you read all three books, you’ll notice a couple weird things –
- Tara, Kaci’s best friend in Her Rebel Heart, doesn’t show up at all in Southern Fried Blues. (She had some family issues she had to take care of, but she was there, in the background and unnamed, for a good part of Southern Fried Blues. At least, that’s my take on it. Subject to change, of course, as I learn more about her story in the future.)
- Shelby and Zack, heroine and hero of Moonshine & Magnolias, the third book in the series, don’t appear in the series at all until they have their own book. (Because when I wrote Southern Fried Blues, I didn’t mention any characters who had the potential to have stories of their own, except maybe Brad, who may only have hero potential to me.)
- Mari Belle, a prominent member of the Officers’ Ex-Wives Club in book #3, appears in more Misfit Brides books (she’s the sister of Will/Billy, hero of Misfit Brides #2) than she does in Officers’ Ex-Wives Club books. (Other fun fact – the two Misfit Brides romances in which Mari Belle appears take place at the exact same time, so #2 and #3 can be read backwards, and I almost numbered them opposite of what they are. See? I’m a TOTAL NUMBER MESS!!)
So, basically, I’m breaking all the rules. (And my numbering is totally embarrassing to the part of me that still clings to my days as a computer engineer.)
But the point is, from a pure storyline perspective, Kaci and Lance meet and have their romance first. (Also? Within Her Rebel Heart is the story of how the Officers’ Ex-Wives Club was created.) I hope it’s not a spoiler to mention that Kaci and Lance get married in Southern Fried Blues. And even though Lance doesn’t have much of a role in Moonshine & Magnolias, Kaci does, and they’re still happily married.
So, that’s the long-winded answer for why I’m renumbering the series to make Her Rebel Heart number one, even though it’s the third story being released.
The next question – will there be more Officers’ Ex-Wives Club books?
But… not for a while. 🙂 Which is actually good for all of you, because you get a chance to tell me whose story I should tell next. 🙂 Want to see Tara get a happily ever after? Are you curious about Lance’s sister? Are you sort of annoyed with Mari Belle because of her role in Matched (Misfit Brides #2), but would love to see her redeemed?
Also – I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who’s reached out to ask me about the order of the Officers’ Ex-Wives Club!! It means the world to me that you love these characters and this world and that you want to know more about the weirdness that is my series numbering. 🙂 I promise my next series will be far more straightforward. 🙂
Love you all! Happy Reading!
Also, in my struggle to do the “normal” thing, it occurred to me that maybe I should give you links to the books in the Officers’ Ex-Wives Club series here. You know, so you can pick up any of them that you might’ve missed. 🙂