I first started writing erotic romance for fun back in the late 90's when a chat room friend and I co-wrote a story, published in on Literotica.com, and shamelessly reveled in our 15 minutes of fame. I went on to write quite a few more solo and loved receiving feedback from readers. An earlier version of my most recent release, Second Chances, was posted there but even that one wasn't the original.
Another chat room friend challenged me to write a story based on the Nine Inch Nails song "Sanctified." I listened to it several times and something in the lyrics reminded me of a news item I'd once heard while driving home from work decades earlier A newly married couple had been hit by a drunk driver while going from the church to the reception venue and the bride was killed. I took that event, wove snippets of the lyrics throughout the story, and threw in a stripper for good measure. It had a sweet but sad ending and my friend loved it.
Fast forward a few years, I decided to rewrite "Sanctified" and submit it to Literotica's annual Halloween contest. i deleted the lyrics for copyright reasons, changed the tone to a much darker one, and altered the ending making it cynical and appropriately spooky. Although it didn't win the contest, it was rated well and received many positive comments.
When I began pulling short stories together for my experiment in self-publishing, this one jumped up and down, yelling "me, me, me!" The characters were given backstory, the minor character of the club owner became a force in her own right, and the length of the story tripled. My beta readers STRONGLY advocated for a full-blown happy ending which I cheerfully provided. It still strikes me funny that Claudette speaks french and I don't, so hopefully the translator I used was accurate.
I can't say I like any version better the others; they feel like three different stories to me and each version is representative of where I was in life at the time to some extent. If I'm as objective as one can be about one's own work, I can also say I'm a better writer than I was in 1998, thank God. It continues to be my #1 goal to learn and improve but with OTHER stories. This one deserves a rest and I'm satisfied with it.. Although, if the trend holds true that began with my first published story, someone will say it should have been a novel.
I'll think about it. Maybe after I finish the other three novels I have going!