Happy Black History Month! I hope 2018 is off to a great start for you and your family!
Since I’m no longer on Facebook and I’m still getting the hang of Twitter, my dear hubby suggested that I try blogging every month to keep my readers updated on what’s going on with me and my books. So here we go! 😀
First things first, I want to offer a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has purchased THE SWEDE, recommended the book to others, and taken the time to leave a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. I have been gratified and humbled by the outpouring of love and support for THE SWEDE. It had been nearly two years since the publication of WICKED GAMES (the first book in the Denver Rebels series). Realistically, I knew I’d lost precious momentum by taking so long to release the second book. I knew many people were understandably frustrated with the delay, and some had probably moved on. So I lowered my expectations prior to releasing THE SWEDE. To my everlasting gratitude, the book has already become one of my top-earning releases of all time. Yay!!! I know many fans will always prefer WICKED GAMES, and I’m totally good with that. I think Reid and Nadia are pretty awesome, if I don’t say so myself. But Viggo and Scarlett have won their fair share of hearts, so I’m super grateful for that. 😀
Okay, y’all, real talk coming. Pour yourself a drink, get comfortable, and brace yourself for some raw candor.
A few years ago, I was seriously contemplating retiring from writing. I felt burned out. I felt like I was writing for everyone but myself. I was still striving to deliver quality books because I’m a perfectionist, and I think readers deserve my best. But I was slowly losing my joy for writing. It was becoming more of a chore than a pleasurable endeavor, and I absolutely hated feeling that way. Writing has always been my passion and my lifeblood, and I couldn’t imagine living without it. But something had to change. And then one day, Yvette Hines invited me to participate in the 12 Alphas 12 Months boxset she was coordinating. I was honored to be included in a collaboration with some of the most talented authors in the interracial romance genre, and it was just the creative diversion I needed. So I cranked out a novella about a sexy hockey player named Reid Holden, and a few months later, 12 Alphas 12 Months was released. Yvette’s brilliant marketing strategy, coupled with the enthusiastic support of readers, helped propel our boxset onto the USA Today bestseller list. After that, I turned my novella into a full-length book and published it in December 2015. WICKED GAMES was well received, and for the first time in a while, I was excited about writing again. Hallelujah!
Trusted friends, advisers, and agents told me to strike while the iron was hot and put out the second book ASAP. I was incredibly tempted to heed their advice, but I had already promised to release a few other books that readers were anticipating. So I put THE SWEDE on the back burner and worked on those other books. I wrote and published SPEECHLESS, a Naomi Chase prequel. It pretty much flopped. You could argue that most readers didn’t want a prequel, felt the book was too pricey, or simply didn’t enjoy the backstory. All of those reasons could be true. But the reality is that I can never recoup the many months I spent working on SPEECHLESS. With a daughter in college and a son almost out of high school, I simply don’t have the luxury of gambling on projects. So for now, I have to move on.
Which brings us to WHATEVER YOU NEED. It had previously been under contract with Harlequin, but they graciously released me from the contract when I was unable to deliver the book. In hindsight, I probably should have taken that opportunity to shelve the book and keep it moving. But I didn’t want to disappoint my fans, so I hunkered down and wrote WHATEVER YOU NEED: PART ONE, ending it on a juicy cliffhanger. I was happy with the story and looked forward to releasing the second installment (serialized novels are very common, and it was the exact same length as ANY WAY YOU WANT IT). Needless to say, I was unprepared for the vitriolic responses I received. I mean, I expected some grumbling about the cliffhanger ending, but…whoa. A lot of folks were really in their feelings, and the sales were disappointing. So that really sucked.
It was around the holidays, so I took a deep breath and decided to treat my loyal readers to a heartwarming Wolf Pack novella (even though the series was on hold). I chose to feature Marcus and Samara, the beloved couple that launched the series. It was just a short story to give Wolf Pack fans a chance to catch up with their favorite family. What could go wrong, right? Hoo boy! Once again, I was blindsided by the vicious responses to OH BABY. The negative backlash was truly disheartening, but it reinforced my decision to keep the Wolf Pack in hibernation until further notice. Folks, I love my Wolf Pack. They will always be near and dear to my heart. But I’m ready to spread my wings and explore new characters, families, settings, etc. Just as readers aren’t obligated to buy my books, I’m not obligated to write books I’m not feeling.
So let me just repeat myself: The Wolf Pack series is on hold until I feel inspired to write another book. I know this is disappointing to many readers, but I want to be completely upfront so that people aren’t waiting around for the next Wolf Pack novel and getting angry and frustrated. If you only enjoy my Wolf Pack series, I’ll understand if you decide to move on. Please feel free to unsubscribe from my newsletter and unfollow me on Twitter. There’s really no need to trash my upcoming books or drag me on social media. But, alas, I can’t control the behavior of grown adults. At the end of the day, I believe my true fans will always want the best for me, even if I’m not writing the novels they prefer.
For those who decide to stick with me, you’re in for some exciting reads. Right now I’m hard at work on Logan’s book, which will be released in the coming months. I’ve never been a fast writer, so I’ve learned my lesson about promising publication dates. But I’ll try my hardest to get Logan’s book out as soon as I can. I plan to release WHATEVER YOU NEED: PART TWO later this year, so please stay tuned. I’ve received plenty of emails about the Ecstasy Island series, so I definitely hope to return to St. Mirabelle someday (even though I haven’t earned much money from STAY WITH ME).
So what else is on the horizon for the Denver Rebels? After the series ends with Hunter’s book, there will be followup novellas chock full of fairy-tale weddings, babies, family vacations, and fun couples’ outings. Rest assured that all unresolved plot threads from THE SWEDE will be addressed in remaining books. I’m also considering an Off The Grid spinoff series featuring Scarlett’s bandmates. The first book will feature Traeger and Cara (yes, they are OTP). I’m already imagining them on a comical double date with Viggo and Scarlett. LOL. I would also love to write books for Viggo’s five siblings (especially Rikard and Svea). That would give me the perfect excuse to return to Sweden! 😉
2017 was challenging for me and my family, but it’s a brand new year and I’m feeling optimistic and rejuvenated. Hopefully I can channel this positive energy into writing great books!
I’ll be running a contest to give away autographed copies of WICKED GAMES and THE SWEDE, so please stay tuned for details.
Well, that’s my update for now. I promise the next blog post won’t be so freaking long! 😀