“Like the fool I am and I’ll always be…” ~Jim Croce

I’m obsessed with the number three. A lot of artists are. I’m convinced Jim Croce was. His songs break down that way a lot, and the lyrics follow a rhythm I respond to on an instinctive level, long before I know why.  Snippets of Croce music have always been there for me, when I’ve needed them, and they converged while I wrote Love on Mimosa Lane, being there for my hero, who I was at times having a hard time seeing.

Law Beaumont was a bad boy (hence the Leroy Brown initials), but he’s not anymore. But who is he. He has no clue. Except he’s an honorable man doing his best to raise his daughter, feeling responsible for how badly her young life had turned out so far. But he’s going to keep walking that tough, winding road, not yet living a hidden dream, but he will be (say that in Yoda’s voice, it’ll mean more to you)…because leading characters to their dreams (more on that soon) and setting them free from the past, so they can thrive, is my pattern. I do it in threes, too, I’ve discovered over these last three books (more on that soon, too).

winding road sunset

“If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud…”

Not having pride about trying hard and failing is a good thing, until you let it distance you from dreams that have more to do with thriving than they do surviving. My survivor of a hero has lost sight of that at the beginning. We all have, once or twice in our lives, at least I have. We forget who we once were–we forget our “name” as it where.

And so, the first “third” of Love on Mimosa Lane got the working section title, “I Have a Name.” Law finds himself, who he was before it all went to hell, because it’s the only way to really help his daughter. Taking his identity back from all the damage and failures and mistakes is the only way to unchain himself and his child from their hold. It’s the only way any of us do, really.

“Moving ahead so life won’t pass me by. I’m gonna go there free…”

I’ve told you Law as a musician, right? That’s how he thinks of it. It’s who he was, not who he is now. Except, when Kristen comes into his life, when he allows her in after staring at her from a distance (in a sexy-as-hell, non-creepy way), so does his music. His creativity. His voice. His soul. She unlocks the parts of him he gave up to survive.  She won’t let him be only what he thinks he’s become. She sees who he is and doesn’t let him off the hook about it, because to have her, he’ll have to be more than broken–she’s come from too much brokenness herself, to settle for that kind of half-life, and she’s just as good (better?) at protecting herself as he is.

And, so, the second third of Law and Kristen’s story happened with the working title, “I Have a Song.” She’s his song. He’s the music she craves. Together they become more than they could ever be alone. Sounds trite and cliche. But you know me better than that.

sing it loud

But singing someone else’s music only gets you so far down that road. Law’s a songwriter, too. Like Croce and all other artists, he sees life in a way no one else can. Expressing that vision defines him, feeds him, creates him. Until he can wrap his head in song around what he’s thinking and feeling about Kristen (and the life she could bring back to him and Chloe, by sharing it with him), it’s not really there.

And so we have the last third of the novel’s working title, “I Have a Dream.” Law’s Valentine’s gift to his daughter and lover is singing to/for them at the town V-Day Dance. But to Kristen, he sings the song “Come Back to Me,” that he’s been composing in his mind for longer than he can remember, since first seeing her years ago. Only now he can put the notes and words down. Now he can say them, claim them, sing them for her and himself and everyone else. Now that dream is real.

“If you’re going my way, I’ll go with you.”


Croce’s “I’ve Got a Name” is broken into thirds, and I’d never realized that before now. Before this book.

Have I been that blind?

Ordering my thoughts along the lines of his creative genius pulled everything together for my characters and story, even though these quotes and headings are long gone. His progression of theme and lyrics is something I talk about in the story itself. It’s something I hope you experience as you read. I’m dying to have done it and them justice.

You’ll have to let me know…

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