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Big Uneasy Remembering

When did my Big Uneasy Series begin?

July 11 The Big Uneasy Pauline Baird Jones

I have some fun, Big Uneasy news, but first I thought it would be fun to take a look back at where all the New Orleans quirky began. 

Believe it or not, the genesis of this series goes all the way back to…I think 2000 or maybe 2002? Somewhere in there. 

 It’s hard to imagine now, but digital books were so new that most readers didn’t even want to talk about digital books. 

I had published several books with a digital-only publisher and managed to interest an agent on the strength of a couple of awards I’d received for those books, helped by an editor who was interested in my work. 

At the time, it looked like I was on the fast track to a publishing deal with a major publisher.

My agent suggested I write a proposal for a series. I’d written my Lonesome Lawmen books, but there were only the three brothers. When I ran out of family, I ran out of books. Lol

So, I thought, why not create a BIG family. Then Big Publishing would know it is a SERIES

I came up with the idea for The Big Uneasy (I went back and forth between calling it that or my Baker’s Dozen) and submitted a proposal to both agent and editor.

The concept was solid. There was a retired cop dad and enough siblings —13! — to keep me going for quite a while. The kids were grown up and in various law enforcement or public services careers, which should help me with plotting…I hoped. 

The first feedback from the editor was pretty hilarious. 

  • I love, love, love everything about it, but
  • …change, change, change everything about it. 
  • Too many kids…
  •  Oh, and you have to add sex scenes. 

That last was when it all came to a screeching halt. It was kind of ironic because I’d heard editors and agents state over and over again at various conferences that authors should write in their comfort zone. Apparently, that is only true if the comfort zone includes sex scenes. Lol

So all of us parted ways. At the time, I might have been a bit bummed, but it turned out to be a huge blessing to me because I hold the rights to all the books I’ve written and I’m not limited by what an editor wants me to do. 

If the series had sold then (without sex scenes), they’d have controlled it, and it would have been a very different series.

  • Because there would have been a smaller family. 
  • And I would have had to change everything about it. Lol 

In the end, I set the whole to one side and worked on different projects. I loved the characters I had created, but the series was…shadowed by what had happened. 

After some years had passed, a good friend found my first couple of chapters on her computer and asked if I was ever going to do anything with it. 

I’d mostly forgotten about it, but I pulled it up and started reading and went, hmmm, I still like these people and it would be fun to write about New Orleans, where we lived for eighteen years. 

I was not thrilled with the plot I had submitted to the agent and editor, probably because I am a seat-of-the-pants writer. If I plot, then the story feels stale and finished to me. Plus, it was super complicated and made my head hurt to read it. I know, I do that to myself all the time. lol

I removed the Bakers and the two main characters from the old plot set them in front of me and began to ponder what their actual story was. 

Out of that pondering came Relatively Risky, the first book in the series. And here we are in 2022 and I’m working on Book 7, Pirogue Wipe Out. It will release at the end of September and is currently available for preorder!

I’m at the halfway mark in the series. Halfway, you ask, doing some math. Yes, I know there are thirteen siblings, but Louisiana Lagniappe is about the dad, Zach. One plus thirteen equals fourteen. (I didn’t have to use a calculator for that math. Even I can add one to something. Haha)

I’m also releasing a new short story in the series next month (on the 18th). It’s called The Family Way and I had a lot of fun writing it! Here’s the blurb:

Alex and Nell are expecting! 

At Nell’s baby shower, she’s hoping for a ceasefire between the law-enforcing Bakers and her criminal cousins (not to mention her scary grandmother, the mob doyenne). 

The girls just want to have fun, but when the silly shower games are interrupted by some unexpected guests, it takes the “fun” right out of this dysfunctional family shower. 

Can Baby Baker help these families inch closer to neutral ground and begin to heal old wounds and fractured friendships?  

Preorder The Family Way today!

If you haven’t tried the series yet, you can also get a taste, because Family Treed is free! I hope you’ll check it out! 

How is July treating you? Have you found a fun series you can share? 

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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