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Finding Keely

It’s finally here! The first book in a series that will show the missing years in the Max/Maggie/Cole love triangle…

Seriously, folks, I busted my ass on this one, making my characters and their world seem like I could move around in it.

That said, this series is a newer direction for me. It’s an exploration of Max’s darkness done right. All the mistakes he made with Maggie will not be made in this series (ha ha, probably).

Point is, if you’ve read the Maggie series you know how Max and Keely end up. Doesn’t mean we can’t have fun exploring.

So, up front, this series is a romance. A polyamorous one. There will be all the things we know and love about these styles of books but in order for them to be added to a healthy relationship there’s no jumping in feet first. Keely has to be warmed up to the idea, and we know she gets there. This one is about a relationship that can fold what some consider a kink into a working piece of their lifestyle puzzle…

I hope this book makes some of you feel a lot better about the end of the Maggie Series!

A mffm romance serial…

While these characters are from the Maggie Series world, this book can be read as a standalone without having read the first series.

Keely O’Mearáin’s an Irish girl in an American college; a brash but smart fourth-year student headed to a prestigious law school.

Maggie Becker is her new best friend; a certified genius from an ultra-wealthy family, she’s a star law student who served as Keely’s JD mentor last year and now they’re burgeoning besties.

Cole Cantarella is Maggie’s boyfriend, a drop-dead gorgeous law student with long blonde hair and dazzling blue eyes. Cole and Maggie look perfect together—two beautiful people playing house before they get hitched.

When bad news arrives about the fidelity of Keely’s boyfriend, it’s Maggie and Cole who are there to tell her she deserves better. In fact, they might know just the guy…

Max Milton is intriguing. He’s the dark sullen kind; a sombre man dressed in black. Black hair, black eyes, brooding. A man whose cynical demeanor tells you he’s suffered and come through the other side. Just Keely’s type.

Three years ago all three of them overlapped one year at a small private college in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

They all had secrets from Vermont they thought they could escape…

This book deals with poly relationships and contains bisexuality. Love is the central theme and the exploration of what one would do to please the things they’ve discovered makes their partner tick.

Available on

AMAZON

143 thoughts on “Finding Keely

  1. Ha! Just got the book. We can’t read it, yet. Daria is out at the store. Can’t wait, though. KT, with all the work you’ve done on the site, writing, editing, proofing, and last but not least, publishing, I recommend a vacation to the Buffalo/Rochester area for some fun in the snow! Don’t worry about the roads. I have it on good authority that a certain John Holcomb will make sure the roads are cleared!

    Seriously, a vacation is in order–someplace warm, borderline sweltering–to recharge. You rock, BIGTIME!

    1. One more comment… I feel fine. It would be presumptuous of me to think you aimed it at me, but I appreciate it nonetheless. I hope there were people who were so affected and actually finished the last Maggie book quicker than me. Thank you though, KT.

      Dave

  2. Just got it… Going to enjoy this one. Is this going to be a series like you were planning?

    1. This is book one of at least three…

      1. Thank you! The Maggie series left me in a discontented limbo. I love your books but I couldn’t think about that series with the final book just crushing me.
        I know I’m being a baby but I needed a little hope and the Maggie series ending seemed abrupt w/out the character development (Keely) I wanted to believe in.
        I loved Finding Keely. It makes all the angst from Maggie fade.
        Double thank you for indulging your needy readers like me.
        Wes

  3. Our review has been posted.

    KT, my wife and I were smiling at each other for almost the entire read. Perfect. Just perfect. We are so happy for Max and Keely. Max deserves it. Keely does, too. You know, this is one book that made us feel sad that it’s fiction. It is beautiful.

    Wow. Just wow!

  4. Bravo KT…that hit all the right notes for what I’d anticipate was a first entry by Keely into the crazy world we met in the Maggie series. Every character note feels right to me, and this was not a easy transition to handle.

    Maggie is very manipulative here, even if she doesn’t fully mean to be, and it’s good that Keely called her out on it. She wants what’s best for Max, and Keely, but also she wants Cole to herself and Max fully transitioned to the friend zone. That’s really her prime motivation, and there’s nothing wrong with that. So she needed someone to set her straight and Keely did that. That scraping him off her shoe line was powerful, cut Maggie deeply, and was more than a little true.

    Overall though its right that this first book is mostly about Keely and Max developing their very special connection without Cole and Maggie and all the complications that will no doubt bring in Book 2. We have to see these two together alone and buy that they’re a potential couple. I definitely see that here in Book 1.

    Maggie and Cole are obviously ready to move on…but Max was too, he just didn’t know it yet. Three years, living in different cities…different experiences, it was time to begin letting go of Maggie (though we know he won’t fully for quite a while still). This book makes it even more clear to me that Keely is better for Max than Maggie. We see glimpses of the guy Max was before Maggie, and I think Keely is bringing that Max back. And I think that’s the better Max.

    Book 2 should be really fun…right now Keely thinks she has Max to herself and Maggie thinks she has Cole to herself. We already know that’s not the case. So how do we get there? How does the ended throuple become a…”quadruple?”….what’s the term for that? Can’t wait to find out.

    1. One other thing for Book 2…I am very curious to see how both Maggie and Keely become comfortable with the other being sexually involved with their “man”…at the end of “Maggie” it’s like old hat to them, but here it was clearly not. The Keely we meet here would not seem to have any desire in sharing Max with Maggie. And ditto with Maggie and Cole with Keely.

      So I want to see how it develops. Who suggests it? How do the others react? How do Maggie and Keely get comfortable enough that Keely is happily her best friend and Maid of Honor in 3 years time? Cause right now that seems a long road away.

      Mostly, I’m already jonesing for Book 2. But I’ll read Book 1 a few more times to find some more little details.

    2. Spot on. Scraping off her shoe line hit me in the gut. Loved/hated it. KT has a knack for that.❤️

  5. Lots to say! Review pending …

    Absolutely thrilled by this story. As JL and DnD have already started mentioning, this story was so fulfilling in terms of bringing out the emotional skeletons in the Maggie closet that we all had. I think there were three major things that were brought up that felt so rewarding from months of discussions, I think two of which were already mentioned by JL, one is Keely’s confrontation of Maggie, why didn’t she just dump Max? Why did she set Max up with her to begin with? How little respect does she have of Max that this is how she tells him to move on?

    The other time being when Max brought up the ‘train that was coming.’ That section had me in tears. We finally get to hear him articulate what he knew what was coming, how he wasn’t blind to the forces at play here, and how he knew that it wasn’t right for him to expect things to stay the way they were. Fuck was it sad though, later on, to hear him pour over his years of holding on hope, wow … I think we’ve all felt that feeling at some point, though probably not as long as he endured, good lord!

    I think another situation that felt good to rehash was Maggie explaining herself on what Max is to her, why Keely, and why Cole. It felt nice to have it mentioned, though I feel like so much more needs to be said! I’m trying really hard not to be mad at Maggie in how this all came to be, but soft landings and naivety, I guess? I thought it was such a baller move by Maggie that she set the ball in motion to getting Keely that date in Manhattan, though I can truly understand how Keely felt used. Maggie feeling so bad as she realized Keely and Max were hitting it off was really a mixed bag for me, as I’m sure it was for everyone, but I did feel for her.

    Keely fits so perfectly in Max’s life at this moment (I’m phrasing it that way because I still feel like I need to learn more about Keely before I can really say the other way around as well), that you did feel a lot of emotional release as Keely helped mend a lot of lost faith in himself and his own confidence. I sooo fucking relate to Max, it’s incredible stuff how well you got into the head of guy of Max’s type, KT. So many of his decisions would have been ones that I would have made, it was really rewarding for me to read this. Things like holding hope when all is lost, needing to have hints slapping me in the face that she’s consenting, fucking calling pops because I got car problems and not cleaning the guest room because how dare I presume to get laid that evening? I feel like there were so many other moments that I felt personal connections.

    The tension between Max and Keely was so invigorating to someone who admittedly has spent way too much time in that OTHER kind of erotica, not really appreciating these stories for their own worth. I really got a kick out of the little things like Keely nudging Max as they talked about not knowing where they were going in life, thinking she just found, at the very least, a new friend. Something about that action was so visually real that it felt like it happened in real life. Sometimes I feel like I’m reading a book, but most times, and things like Keely nudging Max with her shoulder in a playful way helps this out, it feels like I’m reading about real people. Nan’s birthday party was awesome, Keely’s cynical take down of the typical Manhattan banker personality type was on point, coffee jitters, Matt Damon, Keely breaking down the 4th wall to all the readers, “Ok, I get it he’s a nice guy,” it was all just such a fucking treat.

    I’m with JL though in that I’m struggling to see, in the current climate that they all find themselves, how any of these characters really warm up to the idea of getting the old fuck band back together again (lol, what am I doing?). I mean Keely felt used by Maggie, and seemed to really have a very clear view of how Maggie was phasing Max out of a three way relationship because she wanted out, and sees the hurt in Max knowing there is so much baggage with Maggie and Cole that one has to wonder how opening that wound would even come to her (or any of their) minds. Cole insisted that he wanted things to stay the same, but Maggie seemed to want to move on.

    The only things I can see justifying it is I’m reminded that Keely felt like she was with the ‘cool kids’ with Max, Maggie, and Cole, and maybe she wanted to jump in to this despite her hesitancy because they seemed so assured and, again, so cool. Maggie also still loves Max, so even if she is no longer loving Max in THAT way, perhaps she has really grown to compartmentalize her physical relationship with Max. Hard to understand the tears though if that were the case, and also there’s still Max’s heart hurdle to overcome. KT, I leave it to your capable hands to make a foursome of this lot possible, and frequent enough to make it second nature, in three parts. You have your mission and you’ve clearly accepted it! LOL.

    Bravo!

    1. Replying to set up email notifications, again …

    2. TBTH…I think we get a hint at the end…with the future tease of Max being “astounded at Keely’s own proclivities and her curiousity in his dark sexuality.” I think she falls in love with Max and wants to understand him. She’ll figure out pretty quickly that a deep part of him gets off on seeing the girl he loves with another guy…and on we go from there.

      To me the trickier part is Maggie…in the last Maggie part there’s a line where it says that Maggie allows the Cole/Keely stuff cause of her love for Max and her confidence that Cole and Keely aren’t interested in each other. But it’ll take some time for her to get there I think.

      The other thing is that in the description “bisexuality” is prominently mentioned. I think a deep part of this is going to be Maggie and Keely and both of them finding things out about each other. Also maybe Cole and Max too, but we’ve kind of already explored that I think. Also, was it just a coincidence Keely stumbled right into their sex drawer lol?

      Also, while I took Maggie to task for being selfish, I will also say I think she’s trying to do right by Max in her way. She doesn’t want to see him with another girl, but I do think she looked at Keely and knew she’d be good for him and wanted him to have a shot at happiness. I just don’t think it was her primary motive…but I can buy that she probably wanted to do this for a while but held off until she could find the right girl for Max. Though self interested, there is a kindness in that.

      But, does she know how suited Keely is for him, and how will she react to actually seeing Max fall for someone else? She says she gets Max, and I don’t doubt that’s true, but does she fully get the Max that Keely brings out? Has she ever really seen that Max? All things to find out in Book 2

      While I’m here, a couple of other little things I liked: Keely already calling him “her Max” and Max referring to Keely as a “red headed kook.” Those two are so great and so fun together. I have no doubts they are perfect for each other.

      What made this book enjoyable is that it wasn’t particularly angsty. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some angst and I know that’s coming (and was just below the surface and occasionally above it here). But mostly, this was a enjoyable story of two people coming together in an awkward, yet fun way. It was different, but in a good way.

      1. JL – You might be right that Keely will figure out what gets Max going, but to do the ‘gf sharing’ thing with Maggie and Cole considering Max’s past with them? That’s where I am struggling the most, not necessarily on the concept itself.

        I also think Maggie is the key for many reasons, many of which are obvious (she’s female being the most obvious one), to convincing Keely and everyone that it’s ok.to engage in this. One of the key elements I think that this is the case is in the line where Maggie stuck her foot down to Keely saying she is wrong about her characterization of Maggie’s treatment of Max. I think that springboards a crucial conversation about what the relationship turned into, and to another point you had above, maybe is even the foundation for mutual attraction to each other.

        I think you may be right about Maggie not understanding truly how Max is going to react while being around Keely, but I think that her sad reaction to seeing them together is the reason why she mentioned that she was sure that Keely and Max would understand each other better than Maggie and Max ever did. I think she’s on the road to embracing that reality.

        That said, to your point, there’s a difference between seeing potential love and seeing love fully manifested,for the first time.

        I also like how this book fits into the Maggie, et al. universe despite it’s lack of angst.

      2. Believe it or not, I think angst is coming…

      3. TBTH…I think the Max being with Maggie will be much harder for Keely to come to terms with, I agree. And at least for me, I don’t think Max will be the one pushing to be with Maggie…he wouldn’t do that to Keely. So that will be interesting to see who suggests it.

        Also, the way I kind of read it was that Maggie feels like she gets Max, but he doesn’t understand her. Which I think is incorrect, but that’s what I see as her perspective. So I think it’s less that she sees Keely as a better match than her, but that since Maggie can’t be with Max then she’s the next best thing for him.

        Maybe that’s harsh, but that’s kind of how I see Maggie. I think she’s sad in the restaurant and in the stacks cause she sees her “plan” coming to fruition and that’s hard to see. She still loves Max and wants him, just not enough, I think though it’s going to be even harder to see him that first time with Keely and see how she makes him happy. Cause I think she’s going to realize what I think you and I do…that Keely really is better for him. I don’t think she’ll like that initially.

      4. @KT regarding Angst – I knew you wouldn’t let us down! lol

  6. One final thought for tonight…and my one nit pick. What did Maggie expect to happen when she sets up Keely and Max? Did she not expect that all their secrets would get out? Or did she assume that they could reveal it to Keely over time once her and Max were involved?

    I just think it’s a misread of Max…she had to know he’d tell Keely. I guess she just didn’t expect things to progress as fast as they did, and in many ways she’s conflicted. She doesn’t want Max anymore, but deep down she doesn’t really want anyone else to have him either. Again, selfish…but deep down we’re all selfish in our own ways.

  7. “She likes a guy who holds a grudge “ Prophecy. I hope so. I also hope that every time Maggie sees Max loving Keely that it’s a knife twisting in her heart. She deserves some pain as she inflicted on Mac

  8. Once again, KT’s writing shines big time! The description of the butcher shop (a real place), the street its on (real, too) and the area around Harvard are spot on. Federal-style homes. Really, really cool. It made us think KT had been there or went there to research the story. We actually searched for them while we were reading.

    When we read that Maggie was really not her normal self and had to be excused to the bathroom during the setup, it was clear that Maggie was dumping Max. Later, during the confrontation between Keely and Maggie, Maggie got exactly what she deserved.

    We really like Keely. She is not afraid to speak her mind and we love that about her.

    The coffee shop scene reminded us of us when we first started. Talking for hours. Everything falling into place. Just perfect.

    Don’t take our lack of commentary as bad, but for us, the story shows the start of new love perfectly. Granted there were some potholes to swerve around, but for us, the last sentence of this installment made us cry. We LIKE Max. We’ve always liked Max. Yeah, he’s a kinky guy, but Max deserves to be happy. He’s always deserved to be happy.

    Reviews aren’t released, yet. Hopefullly soon.

    KT, perfect that you chose the Lovin’ Spoonful and Richie Havens, too.

    Dave

    1. Yes it’s great that Keely is comfortable enough to give Maggie a piece of her mind and tell her the truth about what she’s doing to Max. And Maggie takes what she says to heart and does do the right thing (IMO) and “break it off” with Max.

      Now, is the shoe line harsh? Yes it is, and it’s not entirely accurate. But she’s 100% right that it wasn’t fair for Maggie to string Max along if she had already made a decision it was over, and she has the guts to tell her that.

      It’s still a little weird though now that I feel like I know Keely better now than I do Cole. He has always kind of existed as a cypher to me…there to provoke the actions of the other, more important characters. He still feels like that to me. Which is fine…I’m not sure we need to know exactly what he’s thinking, or what his motives and role in all this was.

      But I did wonder if he realized how oblivious he sounds in that break up scene? Did he really think nothing would change…was he just trying to soften the blow for his friend, knowing that he had again done what Max explicitly told him not to do (“just don’t take her from me, Cole”). Cole often seems to be that for me, wildly vacillating between being kind of aware and caring, then being completely unaware. But it’s cause we only see his actions through the lens of other people.

      One other thing…I still cringe a little when Maggie talks of Cole and Max. I get it, Cole understands her on a sexual level, but to say that Max doesn’t “get” her to me is just really harsh. I think he does get her…other than the sex I’m not sure what Cole gives her that Max couldn’t. He would’ve supported her if she wanted to go to law school. I just feel that was a little more rationalizing from Maggie to explain why she picked Cole over Max. Honestly, it isn’t really that complicated to me.

      1. Also, that scene at dinner with Max holding back his thoughts about Maggie’s father was fun. Somehow I picture Max and Keely at some Becker function in the future, silently mocking Martin and Carol between each other.

        To me, that’s another reason why Max would have been better for Maggie…he doesn’t hold her parents in awe and would have been able to pop their very overinflated egos.

  9. Just finished. Made me feel all wArm and fuzzy. Not the way I usually feel after a kt book. I loved that she did this..

    1. Ha ha, I love this comment…

      Sometimes I want to be nice!

      via GIPHY

  10. Another lingering question: was Keely right about Maggie making up having seen Derek with another girl? My thought is no…that would be Carol level manipulation and while Margaret Becker has more than a little of her mother in her, that would be a bridge too far. I don’t even think Keely really believes that…she was just looking for a way to land a final blow before leaving.

    But I kind of think that while Derek was almost certainly going to cheat on her, and clearly wasn’t a good guy…I kind of believe him that he wasn’t at that point. At least, not with the girl Maggie saw him with. He was so adamant about that…and if he really was he’s a better liar than I think. I wonder if we’ll see him again at some point…something tells me we will.

    So what was Maggie’s plan? Honestly, I don’t think it was anything more than, introduce them, let them get to know each other and hopefully they hit it off…and over time Max would make the decision for her. Not a great plan, and I don’t think she calculated how Keely might feel being manipulated in that way…she thought she was doing something good cause she knows Max will treat her like gold. I also don’t think she realized just how hard it would be for her to see Max showing interest in another girl.

    That will make the part in Book 2 where she finds out Max and Keely are together all that more interesting, She got what she wanted, but was it really exactly what she wanted?

    1. I could see Maggie at least stretching the true regarding Derek to get what she wants

      1. I think she definitely saw Derek with the other girl. But I also think she’d been trying to figure out a way to get Keely into Max’s path for quite some time. It’s not a coincidence they waited until Keely was available to introduce the two.

        So she let her imagination run with it. Reading that passage again I’m more convinced than ever that he didn’t cheat on her, at least with that girl. But that passage also shows the guy is a douchebag and Keely is better off without him. I think Maggie knew that too…all’s fair as they say.

  11. Wow, just finished it last night and I absolutely loved it. I feel that Keely and Max are indeed meant for each other and that Keely was spot on about her criticism towards Maggie. I never liked Maggie or Cole to be honest. Part of it is that Maggie seems to be the classic manipulator (even though I think in this situation it was Cole trying to hook Keely and Max up). My dislike towards Cole is he just feels too simple for me and I was somewhat puzzled at why Max forgave the guy. I don’t even understand what Maggie sees in the man besides his looks.

    Anyway absolutely loved the book and can’t wait to see what else you have planned? Separate Schools 2? Please? Or mayhaps the last Reza book which makes me depressed as I grew to love that series.

    1. Thank you so much, Jeff!

      It was along time coming, this book, and I really stretched myself on it so I’m glad it was well-received!

      Next up is Six Weeks part 2 (I want to finish this one when there is snow still on the ground—it only seems right), then the next Keely book is done (just needs polishing and editing first). After that more Keely and the Reza finale.

      But, but but…

      I know you’ll miss Reza but Becky Haze has a Reza-like series coming out that you will hopefully like.

      And Separate Schools will continue for sure. The next book is at least half written. The opening scenes of SS2 might be some of my favorite scenes I’ve written ever. I can’t wait to publish it!

  12. FYI, I neglected to mention, I am really glad that KT wrote a story that at least started with the female perspective primarily. I think it’s kind of cute how it went from Keely’s prospective, to dual perspective because Max and Keely roughly around the time Keely went from single to in a sort of relationship with Max. That’s clever, if intended. Either way, I am voting for more female perspective in these stories so I’m glad to see it for a large chunk of a story.

    1. Thank you! Fun fact: I wrote almost 70k words just Keely only before I realized it was a mistake to miss out on the characters you also want to hear from. I was going to be artsy and only show one-point on the relationship but then the story grew bigger and bigger and it needed angles on it. You might note that Finding Keely is divided into two parts: Solo and Duo. The next part is titled Trio…

      1. Trio huh? My guess…next part is them coming clean to Maggie about being a couple. Or, its something completely different…probably #2 lol.

      2. My other guess then is we’re going to get Maggie’s perspective on this new relationship in Trio. Which I will love to hear.

        Solo was just Keely, Duo we heard from Max and Keely. So maybe in Quad we finally hear from Cole?

  13. There is a lot of interest on how Max and Keely evolve into a couple interested in sharing each other with others.

    First, based on events in the last Maggie book, one must understand that Max is basically a cuckold. We hate labels, but this is not real life. Yes, he was in a throuple with Cole and Maggie, but as of right now, in this story, we know nothing of the extent of his involvement. If you were reading this book without the knowledge of things that took place in the Maggie series, you might be content in knowing just that. KT does give more than little hints in the last few pages of this book, though. KT states that Max needs hurt. You see, Max has the ability to eroticize emotional pain. He may not like physical pain, but emotional pain is his drug–to a point.

    Max hoped against hope that he would eventually win Maggie even fantasizing that if he worked really hard Maggie would see. Reality came crashing down on him, though. He saw it coming. So, he accepted the end with Maggie to a point. He still loves the house and likely because it gives him some connection with Maggie. If we are to believe the scenarios presented in the last Maggie book, we know certain that the connection with Maggie does not go away completely, it is not replaced by Keely, but it is made to be okay by a very understanding and yes, involved with Maggie and Cole too, Keely.

    Now, the big hint at how Max and Keely evolve. In our reader software the hint is displayed starting at location 1950. Max wants to know of Keely’s sexual past. She refuses and Max accepts that for the time being. The relationship is new, why press and reveal your true kinkiness at this point? It’s not something that most women would want to talk about in such early days.

    This is speculation, but it makes sense. A lot of hotwife/husband/Stag or cuckold situations start out with the husband asking the wife of her sexual past. Max has a thoughts about that in his mind already and will ask Keely again when he thinks the time is right. Keely may refuse a couple of times, but eventually we think she will relent. If this happens, she will notice how turned on Max is at each revelation. The more details she reveals the more excited Max will become. It may take a while, but Keely will eventually reveal that she was with Cole before (Cole is a god, remember. Keely knows.). This, if it plays out like this, will fuel both of their imaginations and may open the door for their foursome to begin.

    Straight up, we do not like Maggie that much right now. We don’t like Cole that much, either. We consider both of them to be selfish and immature–right up to the point where Maggie drops Max. How unfair is it to string along someone for three years? In their defense, Max knew of his fate, probably when he tried to slip their engagement ring on Maggie’s finger only to have her wear it around her neck. That would not fly if Max did not have his cuckold engine started and the emotional pain flowing.

    Now that we’ve put that out there, KT will come up with something different. Take it with a grain of salt, but it happens.

    Daria and Dave

    1. One last thought. The last line in the book made us bawl like babies. Having someone to come home to is so very wonderful.

      1. The last passage flashing forward is very informative to how the next 2 books (or more?) will play out. What caught my eye:

        Keely will sometimes drive Max “to the brink of madness.”

        What I mentioned previously about “astounding him with her own proclivities and her curiousity of his dark sexuality”

        She will also “bring him to his knees with the hurt he craved-her demons would taunt his.”

        It makes me wonder if there will be more than just Maggie and Cole…like I said, we learn a lot about Derek here, and the guy she dated in Ireland. Are we going to see them play a role in these games?

        Right now, Keely doesn’t know about Max’s cuckold fetish…that he not only liked seeing Cole with Maggie, he came to need it. Again, this part I see happening pretty clearly. It’s the other parts of the “quad” I’m less clear on. Maggie being OK with Cole and Keely…and Keely being OK with Max and Maggie.

    2. One more final, final thing…

      This: “Now that we’ve put that out there, KT will come up with something different.”

      If not saying we’re right. Far from it. It’s plausible, but that’s it. It’s not a challenge to KT at all. It’s just speculation and misplaced speculation at that.

    3. Two more things to add here.

      1. Dialog. One thing we’ve noticed about KT’s writing is dialog. Sentences aren’t overly long or too short. They’re perfect. The dialog in this book reads so natural, that we got a sense of how the characters spoke. It was almost like hearing them instead of reading them.

      2. I don’t know about you, but one of the many impressive things about this book was having a glimpse into the minds of the characters when they think they did something dumb. You know, you say or do something and later think, “Why did I do that?” “I think I really screwed up!” Stuff like that. It’s all part of Keely and Max falling in love. Most everyone has experienced it, too. It’s like you put such importance on that moment because it is so important to you that you want it to be perfect, but you second guess everything you say or do, “I hope (he or she) doesn’t think I’m stupid!” That kind of thing. KT expresses that wonderfully and it adds so much so the realistic nature of the story. That it’s there is so very appreciated, too. KT’s understanding of this really brings the book to another level.

      Just wanted to get that out there.

      Y’all have great weekends!

      DnD

      1. Hate having to rewrite a post because I accidentally clicked off the screen …

        I’m with you JL that Derek will probably play a role in Max and Keely’s hotwifing start. I feel like at the very least, Derek checks the boxes of people-who-get-fucked-in-a-KT-story, lol. But more crucially, I think that where things were left with Derek makes it seem like there’s enough not to forget him. I agree with your take above, JL, that there is more to Maggie’s story about Derek than meets the eye. For me, regardless of Maggie’s actual intentions (maybe she thought he actually was cheating, maybe not), I think we can believe that Derek actually was not cheating. Afterall, Keely seems to have changed her tune on that. I find that important because I think it means that A) He’s not such an asshole that getting him back involved is somewhat understandable and B) he’s probably not done pursuing a chance with Keely.

        I agree with Dave’s point that getting Derek involved will probably be because Keely opens up about her sexual past with Max and that’s usually the start of the fantasizing in these relationships. I think Derek is also a safe way to go because Keely dislikes him so much. Though I personally don’t like when emotional connections aren’t involved in sex in these stories, I know that in reality, having no emotional connection between the wife and the bull is how these are supposed to go. So Keely will be able to power through any loving-ish feelings she gets with Derek, while probably enjoying his physical prowess, when Max and her explore this relationship. I’m always crossing my fingers for complications, but I am willing to make some exceptions and still enjoy myself in a KT story, lol.

      2. It just feels like we learned too much about Derek not to see him again…but he was such a dick in that final scene with her that it also felt like a final goodbye. Guess we’ll find out.

        Since we know it ends well it’s fine…but we don’t know how bumpy the road is to get there.

      3. Thank you! I read books with good dialogue and study them. Also: dictation first, then cleaning up the transcribed document helps you find natural speech patterns.

        You asked earlier and I gave a lengthy reply that got chewed up by my new stupid website and I haven’t had the heart or the time to re-iterate it all, ha ha… In a nutshell: I edit using the pro version of PWA (ProWritingAid). I used to use others, too, like Hemingway App and Grammarly. I used to use all three. The benefit of the full PWA is that I don’t have to cut-paste my documents—it has a feature that allows it to edit your existing Scrivener files. That is huge.

        I dictate, write-by-hand (I have a bookshelf of filled notebooks with apartment sketches, ideas, etc.), type on laptops, iMac, or whatever is nearby. I piece it altogether as I go along in Scrivener. I try to edit every day but it’s hard to keep up. Once it’s got some shape I start to sort out chapters, etc. Then when it’s all done I edit (Separate Schools almost killed me—waaay too much to do all at once), then proof once on an iPad/Kindle app, fix then publish.

      4. KT,

        Thank you so much! I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your response–and in such detail, too!

        Well, you clearly know I don’t use any browser based grammar/spelling or other checker! Ha! My wife complains about my dropping words all the time. She complains about my run-ons and improper punctuation. So, thank you! I will be better armed in the future.

        Interesting that you dictate. Somewhere, Daria pointed out that some authors dictate and then work on the transcriptions. It makes sense, especially for dialog, as you wrote.

        Maybe, just maybe when I’m better armed, I’ll actually be able to finish something I start to write.

        Your workflow makes sense, too. It’s pretty much what both of us visualized. You make it work so well.

        Thank you again!

        Lastly, you’re quite an inspiration. I/we don’t know how you do it–thanks to you, we have an idea-but keeping everything straight? I doubt either my wife or I will be able to do so without a huge white board and lots of PostIt notes. Wow!

        DnD

      5. Re: dropping words, etc.: The post I lost had a lot more in it and I talked about writing style. You can drop words, use run-ons, get creative with punctuation… As long as you are consistent and your reason is always to more accurately convey meaning, you’re probably alright. It gets sticky when you do weird grammar things out of vanity or trying to be unique—that draws attention to the author. The author need to always get the fuck out of the way. As soon as something sounds like writing it’s wrong. (Read Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules on Writing—it’s freely available). I stopped using ‘big words’ because it was me using them. Now I only use them if I feel like the character whose viewpoint I’m taking would know them.

        PWA has a ton of bells and whistles. Lots of items on its dashboard to help you study all the things in your document that are wrong. Homonyms, Pronoun Usage, Sticky sentences, diction, Fleisch Reading Scale, etc, etc. They are extremely useful to analyze your mistakes so you can internalize them and make you think about your style when you’re doing the writing rather than the editing. I used to run all the checks and see where I was making my biggest mistakes, then I’d try to correct them while I wrote the next book. You’re always learning. There’s so much to know.

        But: I took a chapter from one of my favorite writers, ran it through PWA and it pinged a boatload of mistakes. That’s when I realized you can’t bog down on editing. The enemy of publishing is perfection. You’ll never be perfect. Do the best you can, finish something, swear you’ll be better on the next one and commit to learning.

        If you read King’s ‘On Writing’ (I think anyone who wants to write should), he talks how he abhors adjectives. Pick up one of his books, you’ll see he has adjectives. And talk about big words! He once described a stormy sky as a caisson. That’s a pressurized space that holds back enormous water pressure. Oh you didn’t know that? You’re not a ship-builder? But you know what?—fuck, caisson is a great word. Oh my God. It’s perfect. Sure you have to look it up. Sometimes that’s fun. And you’ll be a killer on the NYT crossword, too.

        And that Elmore Leonard guy I recommended? Fifty percent of his sentences are fragments. But that guy is a master storyteller.

        Rules are made to be broken—especially when you’re doing it to provide a good experience for the person who will read your book!

      6. KT,

        Wow! Thank you so much. To have such advice is invaluable. I’m/we’re blown away. There’s a lot to read and I’ll do it. It’s something I want to do. I mean, the first thing I tried to write is 32,000 words of literally nothing. It’s horrible. Dialog is overly long and sounds so fake it’s sickening, but I’ll fix it.

        See, your saying things about perfection is going to bug me big time. I’m a perfectionist. I had to be in my business. It’s going to take some effort to shed that trait. I’ll give it my best, though. Ha! I’ll be perfect in shedding my quest for perfection… ugh!

        Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I had to laugh when you wrote about looking up words. In the last Maggie book you used a word to describe Keely’s eye color. It wasn’t green, it wasn’t jade, you used emerald, but that’s not the word. Daria and I looked at each other and used the Kindle software dictionary–no luck there. Then we searched. Yep, it was there. I haven’t been able to find it since. I searched the book, even. Please tell me that word, again? It’s really nutty that I can’t find it. In this book you used another word we had to look up. It’s fun. I need to find that word, too. It read as if it were and Irish phrase. We don’t have to look up many words, but I have to tell you, never stop using words like that. Never, please!

        You’ve used caisson, too. In the sentence, you used it to describe something other than a wagon for ammunition “…as the caisson’s keep rolling along…”. So, we looked it up, too. Damn if it wasn’t the perfect word! You’re good at that. I remember saying, “Thesaurus!” I guess both of us here are old school in that regard. It’s funny to even write old school given web-based resources and what I did for a living.

        I’ve bought or got the software you listed. So, it’s time to learn it and get going on something.

        Thank you again, KT. You don’t know how much appreciation I/we have for what you’ve shared.

        DnD

      7. The word was smaragdine (for Keely’s eyes), ha ha. I like it better than just using ’emerald’ because it means ‘of emerald’. Like her eyes were made from emerald rather than they’re the same color as emerald. Poetic, huh? And I specifically remember thinking Keely was Irish and would appreciate poetic language. I’m a nutjob.

        I don’t use a thesaurus as a regular rule. I have a thesaurus app for when I edit and I will use it to erase word duplicates. Like if a unique word appears twice in a chapter or something like that I’ll do a quick thesaurus check to replace one of them and make sure you don’t hear it twice.

        What I do have is a word sketchbook. If I come across interesting words or concepts I write them down and contemplate how they might relate to a book I’m writing. Sometimes I don’t find a use, but other times I do. Like ‘ataraxia’ I used to describe Nia’s epiphany phase after the blow up on the house boat. Or ‘parergon’ which was Geoff’s painting that he did while he also worked on the paying book illustrations. Those aren’t thesaurus words because they don’t have synonyms; they are unique concepts. You can’t even look them up—what’s the word for that work you do that’s parallel to the work you’ve already undertaken? Right, ha ha? I keep a paper notebook to write stuff like that down when I hear about it and hope I can use it someday.

        And now you know where I first heard the word caisson! lol

      8. I fucking love seeing this stuff about how the sausage is made at ole Licorice Books, Inc. I personally love the big words, fyi, I do not mind opening tabs to look up words, haha, it’s actually gratifying to me. If I was smart I would open up a tab to google words before I pick up your next book, but it’s usually a mad rush to start reading when a book is published.

        Personally, I just love your clever use of language. I think I’ve already mentioned your use of the word ‘totem’ which I think made an appearance in the same context as it did in ‘Maggie,’ in ‘Six Weeks,’ it’s fucking brilliantly dirty on several levels. You have the literal phallic nature of the structure, and the social status implications that it’s intended to bring to mind, i.e. Maceo possessing his junk is a sign of his value as a masculine person, he is ‘high on the totem pole,’ etc. I love that. I obviously pick these books up to be turned on, but I want my intellect to be needled, too, if KT didn’t make stories that felt realistic, deep, and intellectually stimulating I wouldn’t be here literally every day, posting pretty much daily, too. I can’t get enough, I was like a fiend putting down Keely 1, sad that my fix was over for a indeterminate amount of time.

        KT, I think you brushed on this before, but I don’t recall if you ever said what the origin to this style was, I apologize if I missed that somewhere. What inspired the alternating limited third person style that is sort of a KT trademark? I think a lot of authors in the genre like to use alternating first person, straight up first person, or straight up third person. I admit sometimes it’s a little taxing where it might take a couple paragraphs for me to realize I’m reading a chapter from the guy or girl’s perspective, but it is fun.

        My two favorite transitions that KT has ever done, when she switched to Jess’ perspective when Pete asked for dirt on Tyler from the detective, and the transition when Odie was in the road after the accident. A tinge exploitative, KT haha, but hey, I remembered those moments so I guess that’s a thing …

      9. Ha ha on the exploitative! I know it. But I figure if you take the high road enough no one will mind if you take a cheap and dirty route every once in a while. That came on the fly, anyway, so it wasn’t too contrived (I hope!)—it just felt really good.

        If you’ve been around long enough (you have!) you’ll know I’m in love with QT and specifically Pulp Fiction. When I found out QT was miming a writer called Elmore Leonard I read all that guy’s books. But I’m also a romance reader. So I think I took what I love about Elmore Leonard’s style and balled it up with my loveliest romance writers. Ergo, alternating perspectives, guy and girl usually but not always, done in third person free indirect discourse. Add in some literary idols like Gustave Flaubert and dirty literary realism, Beckett, too, and James Joyce, and I also desperately love poetry. That’s why I love this genre so much—it allows me my greatest writing indulgences. I don’t have to trope or chart pace like for romance. I can explore and get weird and get funny and grotesque, and do all the things I like the way I like.

        I just finished Duma Key today (Stephen King) and his epilog was awesome and something I already believe: that life isn’t three acts, it’s more than that, it’s like five plus; that’s the way Shakespeare wrote; his characters took unchangeable turns to break acts multiple times; life is comedy and tragedy together. That’s why I write these books this way. You can’t have a character hurt unless you’ve had the character laugh, you know?

        I’m very lucky to have you all who like my strange books! I’m thinking of making this website my home. Thinking of moving to maybe doing romance books that aren’t romance books the way some expect them. Like dark but funny and tragic love stories full of weird sex and macabre moments, plus suspense and badness.

      10. Also: if you’re on a kindle or kindle app you can just hold your finger on the word and the definition will pop up.

      11. Smaragdine! Got it! Thank you, again! I haven’t been able to find the other word, yet… something like ‘kaloolying’ or maybe way far away from that. You also used a word my mom (I’m not calling you old!) used a lot: Rigmarole. Only she put an “a” between the g and the m. Rig A Ma Role. Four syllables. Not Rig Eh, but Rig Ah. Things like that make me think of being a kid and all the stuff that went on in our house. Mostly music–all the time–and laughing.

        I honestly think other than the last paragraph and last line of “Keely” the best most heartwarming moment was when Max asked about the time zone difference between Michigan and Ireland! We laughed so hard at the result. The visual was hilarious! But man, what a connection between the two of them!

        It’s a strange coincidence that you bring up Nia and Geoff. Maybe not in the context you used, but we actually started re-reading LHW2 late last night. When we get done, we want to post a review. Way late, but it will be out in the universe.

        Words are cool. When my Dad was deployed (read: Underwater somewhere in a steel tube), my mom used to think I was strange–I read the old Webster’s collegiate dictionary they had. So, yeah, strange. Daria just rolled her eyes that I would even mention that. Now she called me a “fucking nerd” and left me to my own devices–literally, devices. LOL! Gotta love it! I don’t have an “Internet of Things”, I have an “Internet of Stuff”.

        Anyway, in terms of nutjobs, I think Daria and I have you beat! 🙂 You’re cool. The way you described using smaragdine and why is just why your books are so good. You really get into them. They’re not just something you crank out of a word mill to make a few bucks. You have passion for what you do. Having passion is so important. It shows. I mean you took time to give not only me, but everyone who reads this blog encouragement to write and not be afraid of constraints. Wait. Are you sure you’re not Maceo? Your handing of Maceo in that case was spot on genuine. Don’t try to not lose it because it will be gone, just go with it and for it.

        Thank you again! You are golden!

        DnD

      12. Gosh, ha ha, thank you so much!

        Strangeness: everyone has their strangeness, some are secret, some are out in the open, but it’s true to all of us, IMO.

        The word was kyoodling, I think. It’s the sound a pack of coyotes make. Pack animals that make sound only because the others are; Keely uses it to describe the cult of Finance Bros.

        And yes! Write! Don’t make the mistake of being one of the people who proclaim themselves an author and write the same masterpiece they’ve been working on for five years, never finishing it. [Sorry—I just realized there’s nothing wrong with that if you like doing that].

        I will say that I fell into that trap and was never happier than when I discovered pulp writers (Wow—Barbara Cartland!). I don’t think of myself as an author. Too grand. A writer, sure, but really an entertainer. I bump up against people who are unhappy with their writing—then you find out they keep re-writing the same thing over and over, editing, hashing over bits and pieces and never finish. That could have been me. I would have been very unhappy. Perfection is unachievable. Look up To Kill A Mockingbird on Amazon or Goodreads. There are people who drop 1-stars on that, I’m sure. You can never be perfect. Be finished. Do another book better. Get all your stories out of you. More are coming!

      13. KT,

        I don’t think I’ll ever make the mistake of calling myself an author and not delivering! LOL! At best, I’ll be nothing more than a barely passable writer with ideas that are way out to lunch.

        Today, Daria was playing with the software you recommended and said, “This stuff is awesome!” So, thank you from both of us. I’m going to read the two book you listed, too. It was funny when you mentioned their advice is pretty much, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

        And thank you for “kyoodling”, too. That was the exact word. We seldom use the Kindle app for iPads. Mostly it’s Kindle on an iMac (which is really bad software–jumping pages, etc.), MacBook Pro, a laptop, or on our phones. The dictionary never finds stuff there even after loading. Well, not never, just hardly ever.

        Regarding your wanting to do romance books. Go where you feel you need to go, KT. I know that’s odd coming from 33 year-old but it’s true. You never know until you try. If I hadn’t moved to Michigan in 2008 (when the local economy was really hard hit by the Great Recession), Daria and I wouldn’t be where we are right now. Go where your heart leads. Don’t listen to your head, lead with your soul. (If you don’t believe in that stuff, go with your inner voice. If you don’t believe that, follow your muse. I’m covering all bases here!)

        And when I tease you about being Canadian, I’m just teasing. I have nothing but respect for our fellow American’s up north. (My Dad once went to South America while he was in the Navy. He told me he was told to caution those who were under him that everyone on the American continent’s were technically Americans.) My mom was Canadian. We spent a lot of time in Canada visiting.

        Thank you again, KT. Sincerely, you’re the best.

        DnD

        PS Take a vacation or we’re going to start calling you “The Hardest Working Bot In A Lot Of Genre’s”.

      14. Thank you!

        PWA is really great, but you don’t have to follow all their recommendations. Take your passages and run all the checks to see where you make the most frequent mistakes then consider them while you write new stuff. It really helped me.

        And if I took a vacation all I would do is write anyway!

      15. Thank you for the advice! I have to get used to the software for a bit. It makes a lot of recommendations–most of them are arcane, but not like HemmingwayApp where it just points out errors. One thing that was odd was the writing level they reported–they were different. I think I wrote elsewhere about writing papers for publication that I wanted things to be very easy to understand. I guess that trait was held over to what I’ve written so far. One reported I wrote at a seventh grade level and the other, Hemmingway, I think reported I wrote at a fifth grade level. I was actually happy about either level but being me, it seems both programs use different criteria for reporting level.

        LOL! Writing on vacation. That’s great, but wouldn’t it be nicer to do so where it’s much warmer? It’s 81F here. It’s 20F at home. Last year we couldn’t break away–the house we rented the year before had its first floor destroyed in the hurricanes. We both got really sick staying in Michigan last winter–I ended up in the hospital. This winter? Uh-uh. Same house. There’s a lot to be said for snow birding it, KT. A LOT. I’m not trying to make you or anyone else feel badly, but really, a week or two in warm weather does a person good. I know, none of my business. 🙂 Just making a suggestion!

        Dave

      16. The grade scale that Hemingway App uses seems to be its own measurement. PWA uses official Flesch and some others. I would trust PWA’s because it uses more universal measurement, but maybe I’m wrong.

        I would love to go away. Warmer is good, but not too warm. Obligations keep me housebound!

    4. DnD…you make some great points on Max and the cuckold mindset. I took his curiosity as just Max wanting to know everything about this girl was has reawakened him in so many ways, but I think you’re right, there is a part of the cuckold mind in there too, even if subconsciously.

      At this point in the timeline, I don’t know if Max remembers that Keely is the girl whose pictures Cole showed him way back when at the beginning of “Maggie.” We know he knows at the end of “Maggie” cause he makes a comment on it, but he doesn’t mention it here so I suspect he doesn’t remember at this point. When it does come up, probably cause Keely will tell him, it will be interesting.

      It would be quite a lot of emotional “hurt” to offer up your new girlfriend to the guy who let’s face it, stole your last one, who you thought was the love of your life. Even if the dynamic is different, the hurt will still be there. And like I said, I wonder if anyone else will be involved in Max and Keely’s “game”…probably not, they probably just do it with Maggie and Cole, but who knows?

      1. Thanks!

        We kind of like the thought of others being involved once Keely understands Max completely. Whether or not it happens is all up to KT.

        James mentions Derek. Maybe he becomes a bull for them? (I hate the word “bull” in this context.) Somehow, I don’t think he’s the right temperment for that, though. He’s violent. Maybe Max kicks his ass? 🙂

        Thing is did you notice Keely 2’s progress? 🙂 It’s furthre along than Six Weeks. I sure hope KT has taken some time off, though. Sincerely. Books can wait. Life can’t.

        DnD

      2. Another thing… I think I understand cuckolding intellectually, but I can’t wrap my head around it emotionally.

        I think there are two key feelings that are essential to cuckolds: Jealousy and the ability to feel angst. There’s a guy on OHW who thinks being a cuckold (not a stag or hotwife husband) is a sexual orientation. I used to agree with it, but I’m not sure now. I agreed because I don’t have the emotions or the ability to eroticize certain things. So, while I know people can eroticize almost anything, I’m not sure that ability isn’t learned.

        Then again, those abilities might always have been there and were laying in wait for the proper synapse to fire.

        I’ve read way too much about cuckolding to simply dismiss it as something people just do.

        DnD

      3. I could see Derek as maybe a “safe” first entry into cuckolding for Keely. Jumping into it with Cole and Maggie may be too daunting for her at first…so much history between those three.

        Derek would be “safe” cause she doesn’t want a relationship with him, and he is the exact kind of guy that will push Max’s cuckold/humiliation buttons…big guy with a big, well you know.

        But also, we know it only works for Max if he’s in love with the girl. He’s not there quite yet with Keely. And even though Keely is described as faithful in the Maggie epilogue, that’s not to say something doesn’t happen that causes her to question Max’s feelings for her and have a slip up initially. Hence, the coming angst.

  14. The possibilities are delicious. Maggie is sad because she knows Max is basically a great guy and not likely to leave his girl crying. On the other hand, Keely notes that a gal could have some fun in a lot of ways with a fall like Max.

    Clearly, we are in for a fun weekend at the Beckers one of these days and this is especially welcome as my favorite Susie Wong appears to be waiting in the wings.

      1. LMAO!!!! Too funny, and spot on! 🙂

    1. I think Keely pretty much was spot on about Maggie, but she also missed out on Cole who in my opinion is the biggest douche of them all. Nothing redeeming about the guy. I get Max screwed up (both of them did) it’s plain as day that a couple in this sort of thing should never ever use friends. Way too easy to mess yourself up, but of course KT being the writer she is knows this.

      1. I don’t really get that Cole was super involved in pressuring her to make this decision. I think it was hers. No offense to Cole, but in all matters outside the bedroom Maggie is the boss in that relationship.

        Now, don’t get me wrong…I think ultimately he’s fine with it. I doubt he tried to talk her out of it. I just don’t think he was pressuring her to come to this conclusion. But again, he’s still a bit of a mystery as we haven’t seen his thoughts.

  15. Love the song choices too at the top…am I right in assuming the Keely/Max stand ins above are from that Fosters show? I may have to look up those and watch now…to see what they’re discussing in the coffee shop. Probably not polyamory and cuckold fantasies…just a guess.

    Also, I’ve never seen a coffee shop/laundromat before. Have to keep my eye out for one of those…

    1. Ha, yes, it’s from The Fosters. No, they are just getting to know each other and falling in love. But in another WTF, Fosters?! moment, the redheaded girl is a cello player in a class taught by the dark-haired guy. W-T-F-Fosters!

      1. Well, to be fair, neither are Max and Keely yet. They’re also just talking and falling in love. Their banter in this book is just about the best stuff I’ve read in a long time. It had me smiling throughout.

        I remember soap on a rope well…bought it for me own dad a few times as a kid. We definitely had it here in the States too.

      2. Thank you—ha, ha, I think they are a great couple!

      3. Also, the way she says “create minions from your own loins” was so great in that scene. Its funny and also true…in the non malevolent way of course. She is able to articulate in a joking way what Max was struggling to explain about himself.

        His goal in life is to have a family and take care of it…he thought Maggie would choose him because of that. Part of that is being successful and making money, but the bigger part is just being there for them and loving them.

        Keely figures that out pretty quickly, and she gets that’s a great thing. A thing she wants for her own future kids, cause she didn’t really have it with her own dad growing up. So many little things there behind the fun back and forth, but I suspect that conversation is another point where Keely falls more for Max, and perhaps more significantly, where Max really begins to fall for Keely.

  16. Honestly, I was kinda hoping for that 6 weeks of winter to be a French guy rather than an Italian… Anyway that’s the next book that is coming out I hope that or Separate Schools (or Reza).

  17. In Defense of Maggie

    I’m doing it again, because I feel like we all hate her so much for stringing Max along and I get that, but there’s more to her that I want to see if I can unpack. I know I’m exaggerating, I think most people on here don’t actually hate hate her, and some people are closer than others, but I feel like there’s more to her than we are letting get through.

    First let’s make sure we understand where things came from (at least backing up to Recovering Maggie), this was a threeway relationship since Schroon Lake. These are three best friends that care about each other, whether we truly understand how they fit together or not, and sometimes I really don’t. So the status quo for a while has been the three of them were a thing. It was doomed to fail, I think we all agree, after all we all knew Max got bested by Cole in this Maggie saga in terms of Maggie’s heart. That said, is it Maggie’s fault for not letting that seep through as quickly as it should? Yeah it is (I’m really not doing well defending her right now am I?), but it’s at least something that is understandable.

    I want to stop for a second to also point out that of course it’s Max’s fault too for letting himself get too comfortable in a relationship he knew was on the way out, but this is about Maggie right now.

    To Maggie’s credit, she still loves Max, so when she put out feelers to Keely and establish that the two would mesh well, she was able to push through her own personal pain getting those two involved with each other. We see throughout their first interaction that Maggie, knowing she had to be there in order for it to make sense that the two see each other, was in emotional distress seeing them hit it off so well. She even did it again when Keely confronted Maggie the first time to understand why she was so noticeable distraught about the whole thing, and Maggie pushed through that knowing Keely wouldn’t ask Max out knowing her friend had a history with him, and set Max up with Keely a second time. To me, you could make the case that Maggie wasn’t emotionally ready to break up with Max, but she knew she had to and it was the right thing to do. She even went a step further and set Max up with someone she knew would be better for her than she would ever be, that’s not nothing.

    Finally, one key piece to the story, they are all still friends and even keeping sex involved between them, even years after they all met and had their own consternations. As much as I want to disagree with this sometimes, the four of Maggie, Cole, Max, and Keely are not dumb people. The fact that by the time that Recovering Maggie is concluding, that Max is still getting a little something from Maggie, Cole is having sex with Keely, and Keely is the maid of honor for Maggie and Max is the Best Man for Cole, has to show that there is a genuine feeling of love and friendship that the four have for each other when it’s all said and done. I don’t feel like anyone is manipulated in this story, everyone in the story knows the score, even when it’s happening, so I think every emotion people are expressing (even Maggie’s), love, sadness, loss, etc. they are all genuinely felt.

    I feel like we really need to hear more of the full story of how these four try to make a healthy foursome that isn’t too emotionally painful, for me to understand how it all fits together, but I feel like Maggie putting her foot down when she’s defending herself from Keely’s characterization of Maggie, Cole, and Max’s relationship is really important. Everyone (including me) found an emotional release for Max when Keely calls Maggie out for what she did setting Keely and Max up, but there’s Maggie’s side of the story as well, and I am (still) dying to hear it after Keely 1. The questions will be, for me, how long did Maggie know that she needed to end things with Max before she did it? How many interactions did the three have where Maggie was conscious of the fact that she needed to end it with Max and how much did it hurt her knowing what she needed to do? And how are they able to compartmentalize being sexually involved with each other from their emotional past enough to think that they could keep doing it?

    1. Not that I disagree with you, James. I don’t. I’m going to point out something that was a big clue of what we think was the end of Max as Maggie’s main love interest and how selfish it was of Maggie to deny it from that point on.

      This is all from memory, and I’ve confirmed it with Daria, and while we remember things the same way, we might be wrong–we’re not going back and reading those parts of the Maggie series that either confirm or make us dead-assed wrong.

      Remember when Max, Maggie, and Cole (along with Maggie’s family) visited the church to see if it would do for Max and Maggie’s wedding? We believe KT through out a hint at Max and Maggie’s future there, too. Something like “Maggie knew she’d not get married there…” or words to that effect. So, that was long, long before her dropping Max.

      Yeah, there was guilt and all that goes with it, but it’s more like “Oh, damn, I know it’s going to happen, but how do I tell Max?” Max pretty much gave her an out by taking the ring away but after that, to me, it’s all selfishly playing both Max AND Cole. Maggie knew her parents approved of Cole and Max didn’t have the guts to stand up to her father. Cole had his future planned. He was far more marriagable (is that a word?) in Maggie’s folks eyes.

      We see more in this book about how Maggie gave up her notions about being an artist and in so doing, conformed. We’re wondering if somewhere down there road there’s not some rebellion about that down the road? This series could be going on for a long, long time if KT so chooses.

      Maggie is a great, fallible character, so are all these characters and that’s what makes their stories great. That we can either relate or even dislike a character is nothing but a tribute to KT’s ability.

      Whew! That all down, did anyone notice the progress bar for Keely 2? 🙂

      DnD — lost in the ether

      PS Why are Daria and I so enthralled by cover picture? I mean, wow! It doesn’t consume us, but really, it’s a super, super photograph! KT’s Photoshop/Gimp, or whatever work she’s done on it is great, too!

      1. @DnD – I get it, you guys clearly don’t like Maggie, or view her as deeply flawed/selfish. I just don’t see it so cut and dry. By the way, Max sees how Maggie is with Cole, shouldn’t he be mad if he wants that same level of treatment, or maybe withdraw his own affection when he knows he’s second fiddle? I mean let’s look at it another way too and say that Max is not dumb when he points out that he could see what was inevitably going to happen, but yet he waited for Maggie to do it for him. I mean you can’t really blame a guy for trying to win her back, sure, but the writing was on the walls for every reader to see and he just endured. Why is he doing that to himself?

        So what are we mad at Maggie about, exactly … for showing Max affection that she felt, but felt more for someone else, and he and everyone knows it? What’s the solution if they all believe that polygamy is worth a shot, equal affection or no affection at all? Actually, that’s pretty good, lol …

        But again, why, so many years later, are they all still great friends and banging each other? Shouldn’t someone as mean and selfish as Maggie is made out to be in this blog be someone that not only Max (when he comes to his sense) but Keely too, want nothing to do with? Maybe Maggie’s display of friendship might not work for us, but apparently it works for Max and Keely, and that’s what matters. Again, I don’t think these people are dumb, no one is really being exploited (unless that’s what they’re into, ahem, Max), so everyone’s emotions are genuine and they understand what’s happening and their role in their relationships.

        I don’t know what quote you’re referring to in your “I never want to get married here,” thing, but I feel like it goes against how I read the beginning parts of the story, I never got the stated impression from any part up until probably Discovering Maggie, or probably Uncovering Maggie, that would indicate that Maggie didn’t want to marry Max. We could all smell problems, but Maggie never didn’t want to marry Max until way late. I thought …

        And KT brought this up in the post-Recovering Maggie discussions, which was corroborated in ‘Discovering Maggie’ that she felt like there was no way that Maggie was going to stick with art as a profession. Cole didn’t really do any of that, I think it was mom and dad, purely.

      2. We may like Maggie and Cole more as the story evolves. What we’re doing is trying to take things at face value and not let the future that we know about impact what we think now. It’s kind of like watching Apollo 13, Titanic, or First Man knowing the outcome–it’s the journey to that end. It’s difficult to do with this because of the feelings involved, but I don’t think it’s wrong or incorrect to interpret writing in ways that may not be the intent of the author and even disagrees with the masses. It’s why we read–each of us takes away something different and the story affects each of us differently.

        Maggie is clearly torn, but she made her choice long before she cut Max loose. Sure, Max was a willing partner but that was because of hope. In our way of thinking, if you love someone as deeply as Maggie loves Max, you don’t string him along. You’re upfront with him the instant you realize there is no future for them. Sure, maybe she didn’t fully know and that’s why she wore the ring around her neck (we know as of the last Maggie book, Maggie was still wearing the ring around her neck–but that doesn’t count here, for us). But from the way the story played out Max had that feeling for a long time. Yeah, he could have acted on it, too.

        There wasn’t a quote, it was a feeling that KT shared when they were touring the church–we may be wrong, but it might have been Maggie’s dress, too. Something like a thought, “I’m never getting married in this dress,” or just knowing the church or dress was never going to be used. Anyway, the feeling was conveyed to us as more foreshadowing than an actual statement.

        I hope that clears up things. 🙂

      3. I haven’t checked, but the only thing I remember about Maggie’s state of mind during the wedding phase was that the believed the selection of the venue and dress were about her mother and father. That if she were asked she would have no debate about the location and the dress…

      4. Honestly I don’t think Maggie knows she’s never going to marry Max until after the revelations in the Schroon Lodge…it’s why she doesn’t take the ring back on her finger IMO.

        But she still loves Max, and wants to be with him. I come down probably more with TBTH…I have my issues with how Maggie decides to do things sometimes (and how she talks about Max sometimes in relation to Cole)…but I don’t feel she was ever doing it in an intentionally cruel manner. It’s just a really screwed up situation where there isn’t a perfect way out. Until you can find Max a red headed Irish kook.

      5. Well, you’re the author, KT. Are you going to make us read that whole part about the church and the dress, again? (It might have been later, but working from memory under the distraction I’m under right now, is taxing.) I just remember and Daria does too, that we had a feeling Max and Maggie weren’t getting married based on something you wrote that came across as a feeling Maggie had. I know… Out to lunch, again.

        Dave

      6. She did tell Max that the dress she picked out for their wedding was “her favorite dress.” Not sure what that means, but if she didn’t want to get married to Max I doubt she’d look back on that dress with fondness. Or maybe she’s just trying to make Max feel better in that moment, as it’s when she also tells him she’s pregnant with Cole’s child.

        I still go with she truly wanted to marry Max…but I also think some of her love for Max is a “first love” kind of thing, along with a desire to be free of her parents. As she and Max dived into the dark side of their fantasies, she discovered she was a little more like her mother than she realized.

        When she says Max doesn’t “get” her, I suspect this is what she means. He’s always going to see the 18 year old Maggie…the artist with blue hair. And that isn’t who she really wants to be.

      7. When I say that, I don’t mean to say that Max just wants Maggie to be the shy girl who just stayed in his house and pursued her art while he supported her. He would have supported anything she wanted to do. But Max fell in love with the 18 year old Maggie, and so much of his love for her is tied into that. Notice how most of his stories and memories revolve around that Maggie. I don’t think he quite gets that Maggie doesn’t want to be that girl at all really. She wants to be a woman, fully confident in herself and her sexuality. Cole will always see her as that woman, a large part of Max can’t let go of his memories of the girl.

      8. That’s how I see it…

        via GIPHY

      9. Really JL and KT? I don’t see that as much, I’m actually going to defend Max (for once) here and say that Maggie would not be acknowledging the malleability of Max’s views on Maggie, if she were to be concluding that Max was always going to see her as the college girl he started dating. He understood better than anyone (even Cole) that Maggie wanted a transition, that’s why he let Maggie work out what she needed to in advance of the wedding, and I continue to believe that Max would have been right there with Maggie when she came out the other side saying, “Ok, I’m going to go to Harvard, and I’m going to be lawyer, just like my mom.” What I think Maggie is conveying when she says that Max doesn’t get her as well as Cole does is Max didn’t apparently understand that she was lost and needed someone to help her see what was inside of her, which apparently was “do as mom says.” I think you say something to that effect, but I diagree with the notion that Max’s love of Maggie couldn’t encompass her changing her mind on the direction she wants to go as a person.

        I don’t think Max has a childish view of Maggie, I just think Maggie thinks he had a childish view, period. Which is wrong, by the way, Max was just being hands-off where he felt it was not his business to be providing input, when apparently Maggie needed someone to be hands-on. To be fair, maybe Max needs to know when she needed that kind of help, like “Maggie, have you actually thought about how you might be happy with art after college?”

        Honestly though, was Cole doing this? What makes Maggie conclude (if I’m right) that Cole was the guy that helped her get out of this rut?

        To be honest, I can see why some people boil down Maggie and Cole being together versus Maggie and Max to simply, “they have better sex.” Cole has Max’s qualities in a lot of the positive connective and emotional senses, but not in the sense of physical attraction, bro-ness, and I’ll say it again, does not resemble father.

        To that I say I want to see more of Maggie and Cole together to get a sense of how Maggie is substantively better off being with Cole versus Max, because I still don’t see it. Again, not saying they won’t be happy, Maggie and Cole, but so could Max and Maggie have been.

      10. Yes, I agree with this, too, but still don’t disagree with JL23. JL’s take is a short summery, like if a publisher wanted a synopsis. Of course it’s more complicated, and to me, especially at their age, they don’t really know, and it’s one of those things where a bunch of years later you look back and realize what was really happening to you.

        Max would have been amazing for Maggie. Max did not see the law stuff coming, Cole was not as surprised. Maggie with Max is like a fourteen year old girl with her first boyfriend. She likes the woman she is now and Max is not the type of man that would ever have drawn it out of her. It was buried in happiness with Max.

      11. I do think some of Maggie’s perception of Max is in her own head…I do agree that Max could have accepted Maggie the woman, I’ll call her Margaret to be clear. But he fell in love with Maggie, and he always would have a large part of his love tied into that girl. He’s hanging on really for that Maggie to come back, at least a part of her…his Maggie would want the guy who’s going to love and take care of her and be a great father.

        But at this part of her life, that’s not what she wants. I think she wants the guy who only loves her as Margaret….and by all accounts Cole treats her right too and loves her. I think for both Max and Maggie there is too much of their love wrapped up in who they both were than who they really are now to make it work. If that makes any sense…I’ve endeavored to see this from Maggie’s viewpoint and that’s what I see.

        That’s what’s behind her master Keely plan…she doesn’t see it as manipulation (even if I see it as that, at least a part of it…and I think everyone else around her sees it). So if I can try and get into Maggie’s head here, this is what I think she’s thinking:

        “Max can’t give me everything I want, and I can’t give him everything he wants. As much as I love him, and as much as he loves me, we’re not meant to be together. But if I tell him that, I risk losing him forever, and I can’t lose him…not completely out of my life. So I need to find a way to get Max to want to move on from me, at least from a relationship perspective. I look at Keely and I see someone like Max…smart, funny, a bit quirky, but with a lot of love to give to the right person. She’s someone who’s always picked the wrong guys and been treated bad, and she experienced her fair share sexually. She’s not curious about who she is there, she knows what she wants…and she wants someone who isn’t like her Dad, who will cherish her and the family they create…someone who’ll always put them first. That guy is Max…I just need to figure out a way to get them together, and they will quickly figure out they’re perfect for each other.”

        I think she was right on most of this…if not all, at least when it comes to Max and Keely. The problem is, she has to know that Max is never going to move on and look toward Keely until he knows he has no hope of being with Maggie. I do think her hope was they would meet and slowly fall for each other, and then Max would be the one to end it with her and Cole. She didn’t anticipate Keely would move so quickly, and that Max would respond by telling her everything about them. It was a bad misread of Max in my opinion.

        That’s why I also can’t wait to see Maggie’s reaction to the burgeoning relationship in part 2. I’m curious if they tell her right off the bat, or if they hold it to themselves for a while as they get to really know each other. We know Maggie is still conflicted here, she wants Max to move on cause she knows her future, as she sees it, isn’t with him and it isn’t fair to keep going like they were. But its also incredibly hard to watch her Maxy doing exactly that, and to see another woman appreciate all the things she sees in Max. And rather than not wanting those things, or not having those things be enough, this girl wants to be with him because of all that. In many ways, Keely is the girl that maybe Maggie wishes she could be…the one who only wants Max.

        Keely will pick up on this, and no doubt she’ll also be really wary of Max being around Maggie, at least initially. It’s going to be really hard for Max to commit to her if he’s still around Maggie. That is why I’m fascinated to see how they make this all work, and how Keely ultimately accepts the “unbreakable bond” between Max and Maggie.

      12. If we are looking at what JL said as a point where it is Maggie’s perception of Max’s love for her, then I agree, but when JL is stating the Max loves an old version of Maggie as if he wouldn’t love her as she changed, that’s where my disagreement lies, because otherwise I love what’s being talked about here.

        It’s Maggie’s choice who she wants to ultimately marry her, she cannot help her heart, and I think Maggie grew up on her own, not with the help of Cole or Max. So the fact that she loves Cole enough to marry is not a problem to me, nor are the reasons for why she landed on that decision. But if we want to analyze what Maggie meant by Cole, “gets her” better than Max, I just don’t personally see how that’s correct other than to say that Cole was better equipped to be her man in subtle ways when she finished her transition. Cole knew law better, knew how to draw the most extreme levels of what she desires out of her (ok that one is not so subtle), and he was going to Harvard too.

        These aren’t insignificant but make no mistake about it, she is simply choosing to believe that Max doesn’t get her. I mean what about the times in life when she needed to take a few lumps and make mistakes? To flail aimlessly when she is trying to go a path someone like her has never gone? I think Max was there for that, closer than Cole ever was. Cole might have been her friend at the time too, but he got to see Maggie on the road to Margaret, he never saw Maggie working out her phase. Max was there for both. Cole might have been there as a friend, but he never would have accepted that Maggie would want to try and explore what a sexual attraction was with Jay, he hated that the minute he heard she did it. Max did too, perhaps, but at least he took it in stride and let her explore. Inappropriately, to be fair, asking Maggie to play with Jay’s emotions, but going back to “Tempting” Cole would have probably busted into the room from the closet when Jay started getting hard, he wouldn’t have even allowed curiosity to win out, in my opinion. “Forbid me,” she said to Cole in Discovering Maggie.

        Hypothetically speaking, who is better equipped to love Maggie, no matter what, should she decide once again, that she wants to change the direction she is going, Max or Cole? Perhaps it’s both and it doesn’t matter if Maggie chooses either one of those two men if it came to that scenario, but to me I think it’s Max. When Maggie says Max doesn’t “get” her, she really doesn’t “get” it.

        The disturbing thing to me is KT is almost saying that because Maggie won’t be as happy with Cole as with Max, she would have never grown up. Maggie is a woman now because she is less happy, if that isn’t a metaphor for adulthood I don’t know what is, lol.

      13. I probably messed up more than this spot, but when I said “The disturbing thing to me is KT is almost saying that because Maggie won’t be as happy with Cole as with Max, SHE WOULD HAVE NEVER GROWN UP.”

        I mean “she actually did grow up [because she isn’t as happy with Cole].”

      14. Ok, and one more thing, I want to convey that in my hypothetical scenario where Maggie changes again, the choices are obviously Max, Cole, or none of the above, as well …

        Maggie’s love is not a binary choice between those two men (or Keely while I think about it, apparently that’s a thing too … lol).

      15. TBTH…I guess I am speaking more about Maggie and what’s playing in her head than Max. I do agree he’d love whatever Maggie wanted to be and would be supportive. But I do think there’s something to the idea that a lot of Max’s love is tied into the other Maggie. When he talks about her, it’s about that Maggie, the blue haired artist who kind of rebelled against her parents expectations. Those are always going to be things Max loves about her, but these are not things Maggie currently values in herself.

        It hits to the “tragedy” of Maggie’s decision, as KT once talked about way back when we were talking through the end of Maggie. She’s giving up a great thing in being with Max and the warm embrace of the Milton family in exchange for falling deeper into the suffocating embrace of her parents (though to be fair we don’t know much about Cole’s family, or at least I don’t remember it…maybe they can provide balance). Maggie in her mid 20’s doesn’t see that, but maybe Maggie in 10-15 years will see it that way. But then it will be too late…once Max commits himself to Keely it’s over. He would never upend his family or his love for Keely to chase after Maggie again.

        For me, whatever remote chance she had to win back Max in the future (if she wanted to) officially ends on that balcony in Fiji at the end of “Maggie”…that is a Max who is fully in with Keely, ready to start a family with her.

        But you hit on something about love not being a binary choice for any of them. Perhaps that’s the real reason they become a “foursome.” Neither Max nor Maggie is forced to completely give up their love for another. They still get to be in each other’s lives, supportive of each other (and occasional lovers)…while also being in the primary loving embrace of people who are better suited to care for all their emotional needs. With Max still in her life, Maggie never needs to wonder “what if”…and over time Max doesn’t really either.

        Perhaps this is where Keely and Cole are wisest of all…they realize this and never require their partner to sever the bond. I’d love to see a Keely/Cole conversation about this in a future chapter. Maybe it’s Cole explaining to her that the price they have to pay for getting to love these people is accepting their pull to each other.

    2. We had a really nice long reply to this that started out by me writing, “I agree with you, James.” But it’s lost in the ether, now.

      It was about a bit in the Maggie series where Max, Maggie, and Cole, along with Maggie’s folks were checking out churches. Maggie through KT knew she wasn’t going to get married at that time in that church. At least that’s what Daria and I remember and agree upon. We may be out to lunch about that but it’s from memory and as such might be fallible.

      So, from that point on, in our minds, she knew she wasn’t going to marry Max. It may not have completely crystalized as actionable thing, but it was further solidified when Max took the engagement ring back. That gave Maggie her out and she took it. When she didn’t fully accept the ring when Max returned it, Max’s fate was sealed.

      We see the time from the church until Maggie finally broke it off as extremely selfish. But we do see your point about compartmentalizing, it happens. People can be weak and that’s what KT conveys so wonderfully.

      Maggie’s weakness is further solidified in our minds by her surrendering her dreams of being an artist in order to be with Cole–that is right in line with what her parents want, too. Cole was favored over Max from the moment they met Cole.

      Are there storm clouds on the horizon should KT continue the Maggie story? I mean, she’s given up dreams, has an inherently selfish way, and even though she’s pregnant, it doesn’t mean that years down the road she doesn’t rebel. Then again, she could just happily be a stay-at-home Mom and paint like Janie until Max shows up one day.

      We’re going to spill, now. We hope we get to read about Max and Keely’s wedding. All through Cole’s and Maggie’s reception, Keely is worried about Max. She gets him and loves him. They belong together in our minds. Then again, what do we know?

      DnD — lost in the ether

    3. TBTH I’m mostly with you on Maggie. She was really efforting to set Max up with the softest of landings. But the problem is life doesn’t work that easily, especially since this particular relationship is so complicated. She’d should have known that Max would have never moved on until she ripped the band aid off, so to speak.

      And I think this is also due to your other point…she really doesn’t want to let Max go herself. It definitely pains her to see Max and Keely getting along, and that Keely is interested enough in Max to want a real date.

      So she couldn’t rip the band aid off herself cause she was terrified that she’d never see Max again, I suspect. And that would probably be the worst fate of all.

    4. Gonna try one more time and then I guess… well… I don’t know.

      We don’t hate Maggie. We just think she was being selfish. I mean three years, knowing from early on (when they all went to see the church) that she wasn’t going to marry Max? We understand that she was crushed when Max foolishly took back his ring. Max might have thought he was paying some kind of penance when Maggie didn’t the ring on. But three years?

      Oh, well… that’s it for now. I have two other posts in limbo somewhere, that did a better job than this one. Oh, well.

      1. Wow… I just figured it out. I use a VPN to get to the Internet and then on our devices, we use an SSLVPN so all traffic from our devices come from the same IP address (home, no matter where we are–it makes things easier and avoids captcha crap). I didn’t check to see if the SSLVPN was active and it wasn’t. So, when I posted earlier today, traffic came from VPN location I chose. Apparently, WordPress or the blogging software checks IP addresses and if the IP address isn’t on known list, it holds the message, perhaps for moderation, thinking it might be spam or something. Interesting.

        I wish we had the post we made earlier. 🙂 LOL! They were a lot better than my last!

        Dave

      2. I don’t think Max was being foolish taking back the ring. He was being foolish by giving her back the ring when she clearly didn’t deserve it or want it. I think Keely was spot on with everything, but maybe not completely true in the way she perceived it.

        Maybe Maggie does redeem herself in Keely’s eyes by doing something that shows she isn’t completely self serving as she appeared to be. Also I think Max didn’t feel like he deserved Maggie and that she deserved Cole. Personally, I think Max needs to get some new friends like Keely suggested.

      3. We thought Max taking back the ring was foolish because it was done as a punishment. He didn’t mean it. He just wanted to hurt Maggie like he was hurt. Had he meant it, it would have been different. Cole wasn’t too broken up by it, either. It gave Cole another opportunity to soothe Maggie.

        And we know how that ended up. Three years until the hammer dropped.

        Of course this is completely ignoring everything after Max was let go and where it was during Cole and Maggie’s honeymoon.

    5. I can’t find the original place you said it rn, but I have to say when you said they were “getting the old fuck band back together,” I lol-ed suuuper-hard!

      1. Haha, love that!

  18. Hey KT,

    Are posts being moderated? Just wondering.

    Thanks,

    Dave

    1. My question about moderated posts was due to my stupidly not noticing the SSLVPN client on my laptop shutdown due to inactivity, yesterday. Pulse Secure is really good–really. 🙂

      1. Dave, you really know you’re stuff!

      2. Thanks, bro. But when someone like me doesn’t think to look from some obvious signs, it’s troubling. Gotta get back into the nerd stuff. You don’t use it, you lose it! I suspect the VPN endpoint I was using was on a blacklist somewhere. Apart from keeping traffic secure, VPN’s have the added positive side effect of allowing me to watch British Formula 1 commentary, so I’m in and out of the SSLVPN client all the time. Sky Sports restricts access to IP adresses owned by British providers, so I just set the VPN to use a British endpoint and I’m off to the races! I don’t remember what endpoint I used yesterday, but clearly WordPress didn’t like it. 🙂

  19. One other neat little bit of symmetry I just realized. We end this chapter with Max and Keely having sex in a bed they’re not supposed to be in together…in a room Keely was hesitant to be in at first. When we first meet her after the wedding, Max is also taking her to make love in another room they’re not supposed be in and one where Keely was hesitant at first…Cole and Maggie’s bridal suite. Add in Martina’s bed, and these two really have a thing for doing it in other people’s beds. What perverts!

  20. Yay! I loved 6 Weeks and really wanted to see the next step there. And I had to wait a whole year to get my Keely and Maxy fix…so I’m glad we’re getting Chapter 2 pretty soon too.

  21. Well Crap… working on my own erotic story/novel that is more of erotic suspense. It does have a lot of angst/betrayal/adultery with some violence but nothing over the top that I have planned. My issue is that I’m at page 27 and no sex yet. Damnit.

    1. That’s okay, isn’t it? I think it’s okay…

      1. should I rush it? I feel like just letting things build to see where they go…

      2. [Maceo’s voice] Do what your heart tell you.

        Seriously, though. Do it the way you want and study it when it’s done. You can edit, move scenes around… The most important thing to do is keep going with it in whatever way…

  22. File this one under, Literal application of quotes from the story to lyrics in a song. It doesn’t hurt that La Roux is a ginger herself …

  23. I would also say that the other thing Maggie miscalculated in her “plan” was Keely, who has a temper and can be hard headed. Also, she has a painful history of being mistreated or used by people in her life, particularly men (even her father)…we see with Max in the dorm room, even as she realizes she’s likely overreacting to Max wanting to go back to Maggie’s house she can’t bring herself to rectify things until the next morning.

    So I think it’s natural that she would put the worst possible spin on Maggie’s motivations, and that it would keep her from pursuing Max, and also would cause her to sever her relationship with Maggie. I honestly think Max is right, if they don’t run into each other outside the butcher, I bet Keely stays away from all of them forever. Maggie owes another debt of gratitude to Max…he helps to save her from losing her best female friend too.

    1. These are really great points, I hadn’t thought about the chance encounter between Keely and Max and how that was what got the ball rolling again between them. I also didnt think about how much Maggie possibly using Keely was a Carol-like move. I dont personally think Maggie was being that level of manipulative there, but I could see where it can be interpreted that way, especially when her first reaction to be accused of lying to her, Maggie replies with “Well you lied to me too” (about Keely’s history with Cole). Manipulative people do that.

      1. Its definitely the Carol in Maggie coming out IMO. Its a softer Carol, a more caring version. She’s doing what she’s doing mostly cause she thinks it will be the best thing for 2 people she cares about, not for nefarious reasons. And she is right, they are perfect for each other. But she still manipulates and controls to try and put them together. I think that is also why the shoe comment hurts her so deeply…in that moment she probably realizes Keely sees her like Maggie once saw her own mother.

        As Max said, she throws Keely into his life like a hand grenade, without any warning or preparation. it reminds me of another thing Max throws out there…that I don’t think we’ve discussed. That Maggie threw Keely to him in order to get him to cheat and she’d then be justified to break up with him.

        Now that would be Carol like manipulation, and I don’t believe Maggie was doing that. Her reaction to Max and Keely hitting it off shows us that I think. But the fact that Max is now willing to think Maggie is capable of that is kind of the first indication we see that he’s coming to realize the Maggie he fell in love with doesn’t really exist anymore.

  24. Anyone else love how the awkward departure after Keely and Max’s first actual sex in Keely’s dorm played out? I can’t get over how absolutely on point this whole thing is. Keely insisting that it’s okay Max leaves but doesn’t want him to, nor does she think it’s wrong if he did, and Max completely indecisive on what the right move is. To see Keely talk about how wonderful it was being with Max, then cut to Max’s point of view where he thinks he was a flop. What was pleasant for a KT story which does not usually happen this way (lol) is those negative emotions I felt for Max as the reader were immediately soothed because Keely shows up at Maggie/Cole’s place the next morning to really help alleviate Max’s concerns that he fucked up with Keely, again.

    That whole portion of the story was really heartwarming to me.

    1. Yeah I’ve said it a bunch, and I’ll say it again…I love Max and Keely together. They are my favorite couple of all these stories…they’ve passed Nia and Geoff for me.

      It was also good to see Max in action, and discover that like Geoff, just cause you’re not hung like a horse doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing.

    2. I just like how well I can relate to the whole experience, it makes the reaction I have to reading it more in line with what’s being conveyed in the story. For instance, I enjoyed the authenticity of that “should I stay or go?” interaction and enjoyed being able to see how that played out from the mind of Keely while Max acted exactly like I probably would have. It was really pleasant.

      And in that moment after Keely watches Max feeling good and bad about how great Max was but left it in an unsavory spot, we cut to Max who thinks it was a total disaster, lol! I felt like a flop because Max did, because of course I would have catastrophized leaving Keely’s dorm like, “she was mad, and of course it’s my fault” just like Max would have. It’s fucking adorable, haha.

      1. I know, you would think the fact that Keely nearly broke the windows in the dorm from screaming would tell Max he was far from a flop. But since he doesn’t know her yet maybe he thinks she was faking it…

  25. Ah! So we should be getting 6 weeks part 2 very soon! 🙂

    1. Go kt. Edit away. I’ll reread part 1 in preparation.

  26. While we wait for Six Weeks and then Keely part 2, a few other topics that came into my mind rereading part 1. I’m definitely coming around to the idea that perhaps Maggie made the whole Derek up. While that would be like her mother, again I see Maggie being able to rationalize it:

    “Derek is not a good guy…he doesn’t treat Keely right, and if her isn’t cheating on her now he will in the future….and they have nothing in common. Max would be perfect for her, they’re so much alike and he’ll treat her like gold.”

    Either way, I definitely think we see Derek again…there’s just too much story still there. And I do want to see it, even if a part of me is afraid I’ll look at Keely and Max differently if something happens between them and Derek again.

    The other thing is I don’t think Max is thinking about “sharing” Keely at this point yet. So his question about her sexual partners is just him being curious and wanting to know everything about her. Max only wants to do that with someone he loves…and it’s too early with Keely. Plus, I would have to figure he would be gun shy to jump into something like that. He probably just wants a regular relationship now.

    I suspect Maggie is going to find its not easy to completely let go of her Maxy…you see it everytime Keely talks to her about Max. Maggie hates, deep down, that Keely is interested, even if that’s what most of her wants. So she’s gonna really hate seeing Max and Keely together.

  27. Things we learned about the Maggie Series from Keely 1

    I thought I would do a cliffnotes version of the questions at least I had about the series going into this reading that were answered or alluded to. I’m trying to be factual, but I’m sure a lot of what will be said is opinion, so I want to keep that in mind.

    1) Max is a big deal in the big apple. Self made wealth, has a porsche, modest apartment but hey. I think we all knew this after Recovering Maggie, but now we hear it in detail. I just looked it up, Carol has a porsche too, probably a coincidence.

    2) Keely has been jaded by assholes. For whatever reason, Keely’s hotness has attracted douchebags and it has made her into a cynical romantic, the weirdest and most beautiful dichotomy that can only be matched by one Max Milton.

    3) Keely is NOT a hand-me-down. Contrary to what was very carelessly stated by Maggie in ‘Recovering,’ Keely was not someone that they passed off to Max because she was convenient. Maggie happened to be mentoring Keely already before she learned that Cole and her had a brief fling. It was Maggie’s friendship with Keely that ultimately led to Maggie setting the two of them up.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I had the wrong view that maybe Keely bumped into Cole one day at Harvard since everyone is in law school and tried to hook up or something not knowing Maggie was dating him, and that was how it all started. Instead we learned that Keely’s relationship to Maggie and Cole was entirely platonic, and actually through Maggie. It seems that it is through Max that Keely starts to get sexual with the two of them, when I thought it was the other way around.

    4) Similarly, Keely did not know about the triumvirate, she developed an attachment to Max before she knew that Maggie and Max were a couple and, contrary again to my original thoughts, it wasn’t well received by Keely what was happening from the beginning.

    5) Max almost fucked it up. Lol, not his fault, but he got weird at his apartment and it almost crushed Keely to the point of never wanting anything to do with him. Lucky for Keely, Max is a good guy showing up to explain himself, and Maggie helped by showing how much she cared about Max by putting up a fight in the Keely/Maggie argument, in my opinion.

    6) Max saw the end coming. I for one thought that Cole and Maggie severing romantic ties with Max was sprung up on Max, potentially. It couldn’t have been without signs, but I wondered … and it’s now clear that Max knew that Maggie and Cole were getting closer, and his relationship with Maggie, further away.

    7) Maggie cared about what was happening between her and Max. Again, you could get the impression (some people still do) at the end of ‘Recovering’ that Maggie was using Keely to finally get rid of Max once and for all, but isn’t as cold and simple as could have been perceived. She powered through doing the right thing and helping Max find love with someone she knew would be better for him, despite the pain it was causing her. People are seeing the Carol in Maggie, which I can’t really disagree with, the ‘Help me help him’ line comes to mind there, but I like JL’s characterization – Carol with a heart. A benevolent dictator, lol.

    8) On a similar note, Max and Keely hate Maggie’s parents. Good. Fuck ’em.

    1. James,

      That’s a great synopsis! Maggie is something else. Subtle, but obvious manipulation of situations to her benefit. Yep, she’s torn up as hell about Max and Keely, but you’ve read what I thought about all the time leading up to letting Max go.

      What’s interesting, and I’m sure we’ll get there, is how that all changed where the triumverate changed into a polyamorous quad.

      Ever heard of a band called Triumvirat? They sounded a lot like ELP. I’ve got my dad’s old albums (vinyl and CD). Album covers featured a rat. That all just popped up when you wrote “triumvirate”.

      Dave (remember, drink lots of water!)

    2. Lol I was going to call Maggie a benevolent dictator too and forgot.

      Most of my assumptions on how things came to be are being met. I figured Max would have seen the end coming with Maggie…it was just too obvious.

      Personally this is how I thought the Keely introduction to Max would go…I thought it’d be after the breakup though. But I figured they would get to know each other first before jumping into the deep end with Cole and Maggie.

      I think Max might be more relieved than anything else, that he no longer has to try and please the Becker’s. Though Keely’s dad doesn’t seem like a picnic, unlike Maggie she doesn’t seem to have any interest in impressing or being like him. And the rest of her family sounds like a lot of fun, a more boisterous version of the Milton’s…

    3. Your post also made me think of something else. Keely likes referring to Max in her head as “Maggie’s castaway”…and Keely was referred to in Maggie as “Cole’s hand-me-down.” Even though it was Maggie and not Max who thought that, I kind of think it would be cute, and indicative of their quirky relationship, if they started referring to each other as that. Two people who’ve been bruised in love (and tossed aside) but emerged with each other at the end.

  28. KT,

    Just a really strange question for you. Are you going to use the same lady for your cover on book 2? Just wondering. That picture is captivating. What you did to it in Gimp, Photoshop, or Portrait Pro is amazing!

    Dave

    1. Yes, I will use her again—and I don’t remember doing anything to touch the photo up other than to make her eyes green…

      But thank you!

      1. Not green…smagardine…there’s a difference. I love using that word now lol.

      2. Ha ha, you’re right about that—*of* emeralds!

      3. Damnit! That word! It’s so… so… a great word!

  29. As we wait for Book 2, one thing I was trying to keep track of was the timeline between where we are now and the end of “Maggie” with the wedding. If I’m right I believe we have up to 2 1/2 years of potential Max and Keely stories, because here Keely is about to enter her last semester of undergrad, and at the end of “Maggie” she still has a year of law school left (she tells Max she wants to have a baby six months after she graduates.)

    In part 1 Max is driving a ‘96 Porsche which he states is “the year of my birth.” He’s 24, so that puts us in December 2020. Cole and Maggie’s wedding occurs sometime in May or June of 2022 then, if I’m right.

    I also wonder where everyone is living once Maggie and Cole graduate. I believe we speculated about this after “Maggie”…I assume Max is spending as much time with Keely in Boston (and her in NYC on her breaks and summer), but sounds like Oxbow (and Cole’s job) may be in RI…or maybe they can be in Boston or NY for storyline purposes (a big fund like Oxbow would certainly have an office in NY and probably Boston.)

    As George Carlin would say…”these are the kinds of things I think about when I’m sitting home alone and the power goes out.” They are ultimately meaningless details, but I like to analyze them endlessly.

    1. Love this.

      All correct, except Maggie and Cole’s wedding is May 2024. (Six years after the Twilight which was Oct ’17…)

      For those interested (DnD!): I highly recommend a new bit of software I use called Aeon Timeline. It tracks timelines visually, and you can age your characters, etc, get a better view of their relationships and their lifestyles…

      1. Just got it, KT! Thank you! I like the look and feel.

        Dave

      2. Yeah I didn’t count the years right…

        Another question to ponder, and see if we get the answer in part 2: why did Maggie not introduce Keely and Max before this? You would have thought they’d have run into each other before this, given how much Keely was running in their social circle. So to me it was deliberate on Maggie’s part to keep them apart.

        So was it cause she was waiting for Keely to be available, or cause she couldn’t bring herself to give up Max, and she knew if Keely met him she’d be into him. Or both? I suspect it was a little bit of both, but probably more the second one initially.

  30. One Maggie quote in part 1 that stuck with me was her telling Keely: “I think you get Max too.” But how would Maggie know that since Keely had never met Max before? Is it possible Maggie figured out Keely would be into Max’s kinks, and unlike her could give him her full heart?

    As you can see, I’m really interested in Maggie’s perspective in part 2…it’s still a big missing piece in this whole…whatever it is we’re calling it.

    1. I’m sure I’ve made my thoughts clear on this point, but I’ll say it again, I too really want to get Maggie’s perspective on lots of things. We’ve had many crucial points in the Maggie saga provided by Max’s take on the situation, or Maggie’s superficial or in-the-moment take on things, so we cannot adequately understand Maggie, in my opinion. My current take on why this is the case is to keep the story’s tension at a high level, so I’m all about how it is/was written, but in a continuation of a series which has as one of it’s goals (presumably) to tie loose ends, I am hoping we get some long awaited answers!

  31. KT, will it be this week?
    via GIPHY

    1. Ha ha—next week! (with more words!)

      1. About 20,000 more words it seems…next week can’t come fast enough.

      2. “…No more words! No more words…” Berlin

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIb9QUGjdIc

        Just teasing… but wow! An explosion of creative thought! What triggered it?

      3. Some of it was already done—it was Keely book 3 stuff—but now I think I have enough ready Keely Book 2 will just be a bigger book…

      4. Thanks, KT. There’s nothing wrong with importing to make something more complete.

        Longer books are a good thing.

        I have a lot of questions about how to do things in what I’m writing, so I’m at a impasse or a fork in the road. I honestly don’t know which it is at this time. Maybe take a break from it for a bit and let it sort itself out? I don’t know.

        Thank you again, KT.

      5. IMO, do not take a break. Long walks help. Dickens was the long walking legend…

      6. I would like all of the words, please …

      7. KT has to have one the dirtiest long-walk inner dialogues of anybody.

      8. Thanks for the advice, KT. We do walk a lot. Run, too.

        Direct question time: Have you ever had a story that could go completely off the rails if you let it? My conflict comes from the characters and who they were prior to the events that led them to this point. Do I let what I want to happen lead me or do I write what they want to happen? In the former case, it doesn’t go batshit. A true conflict and it’s all mine no matter what happens.

      9. I don’t know what you *should* do, but I know what happens with me.

        (I don’t know entirely what you mean by off the rails but I’ll say that I’m bound by what is allowable on Amazon as far as content goes.)

        But to the rest of your question: I decide a rough outline showing what I generally want to have happen, but then I write linearly without too tight structure and I explore the characters. The characters make the decisions once I take them to what I thought were plot points. I might get them to a hurdle I concocted knowing what was supposed to happen, but then the character wouldn’t do what I brought them here to do. If I stay true to the character, I figure, they will show me a better way than what I intended.

        If it’s a plot point that must be completed the way you want, you may have to introduce another device that forces the out-of-character decision—but then you’ll probably need a subplot prior to that that will show the development of that device so it doesn’t appear out of the blue. Everything’s workable!

      10. LMAO! On the GIF! Are you “Walking on Sunshine?” 🙂

        I need to figure this out. I don’t work from an outline. Everything has been in my head and kept there. I need to rethink my workflow. I know where I want them to be at the end, but this issue is really troubling. Thank you again, KT. And to think it all started at Michigan State’s Veterinary Clinic. That part flowed. It flowed all the way until now. Fun stuff. Thank you again, KT!

  32. You’re the best, KT! Good luck in editing!

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