Decided to Write Jeremiah’s Romance (Wyoming Series Will Get a 4th Book)

Here’s the Wyoming Series at a glance to help refresh everyone’s memory because looking at a cover helps remember what book an author is talking about:

theoutlawbridefinalebookcover  TheRanchersBrideFinal3  thefugitivesbride2

After The Rancher’s Bride came out, I guess Jeremiah appealed to quite a few people because I have been asked if I’ll write his book. The truth is, I did have someone in mind for him, but the age difference between him and the heroine was greater than what I usually do. I had discussed this age difference early on with a friend, and this person advised me to replace this heroine with someone else. The thing was, I didn’t want to pair him up with someone else. So in the end, I decided the best thing to do was not write the book. That way I could avoid upsetting a lot of people. But then I had a conversation with someone else, and this person pointed out a book where there was a big difference in ages between the hero and heroine. Then I thought in real life, how many men marry women a lot younger than them?

Alright, so here’s the deal. I always had it in my mind that Jeremiah was going to end up with Katie. The problem was that Katie had to be a child in The Rancher’s Bride because that’s how the story worked best for Abby and Thayne’s story. They needed a matchmaking meddler for the story to work. Originally, she was seven (I think), but I bumped her age to ten to make her more mature in the story. I couldn’t, however, make her too much older because she still needed to have some inexperience in order for her matchmaking schemes to come off as innocent rather than manipulative.

Jeremiah’s age was set because of Wade. Wade and Jeremiah grew up as practically brothers, but Jeremiah had to be older than him because he was someone Wade could look to for advice. Wade wasn’t the personality type to take advice from his younger siblings, even if they did make some good points. Someone of Wade’s personality needed someone like Jeremiah to keep him from making rash decisions that would have gotten him killed. So Jeremiah had to be older than Wade. Jeremiah was 34 in The Rancher’s Bride. Katie was 10. This makes him 24 years older than Katie.

Katie is the only person I’m interested in pairing him up with, and I’ll list two reasons.

1. Katie and Jeremiah are prominent characters in the Wyoming Series. I prefer to stick with core characters when I do a series. Introducing a brand new character in Book 4 doesn’t have the same appeal to me as using an existing character who has a history in the series. That is why I paired Wade up with Millie. We saw Millie in the opening scene of The Outlaw’s Bride. For me, it was fun to find out what happened to her and to follow her story from there. I introduced Katie in The Rancher’s Bride. I don’t have to go and create a brand new character when Katie is already there.

2. Jeremiah’s closed off, romantically speaking. He needs someone who has the ability to get through his wall. In order for that to happen, he needs someone who has a sunny outlook on life, is persistent, and is willing to do whatever it takes to wiggle her way into getting what she wants. That fits Katie perfectly. Katie is the only one who can do this. I didn’t intentionally set it up that when I wrote The Rancher’s Bride, but I believe the subconscious part of the brain plays a bigger role in connecting things up in storytelling better than the conscious mind does. This is why I’ve long ago learned to “trust the process”. Somehow, things end up falling into place, and the right characters end up coming together. I don’t consciously pick who ends up with who once I set up Book 1. If I were to try to fix Jeremiah up with anyone else, the story wouldn’t work because he’s not meant to be with anyone else.

I don’t know how many people are put off by the age difference between Jeremiah or Katie, but if you are, this is a book you’ll want to avoid.

Katie is going to be an adult when I write about her and Jeremiah. She’s going to volunteer at the orphanage and young men are going to come by to court her. Jeremiah’s going to be shocked by how old she’s gotten since she’s been out at the ranch with Abby and Thayne most of the time, and Jeremiah will fight his attraction for her because of his age and the fact that he had sworn he’d never marry again. Katie’s going to see him in a new light at the beginning of the story, too, but unlike Jeremiah, she’s not going to fight her feelings for him. So that’s pretty much the setup for the story, and I’m excited about writing it. I even got a cover made for it.

Right now I’m working on A Perilous Marriage, An Earl In Time, Interview for a Wife, and Suitable for Marriage. A Perilous Marriage is almost done. I’m getting close to the end. But when I finish that one, I’m going directly to Heiress of Misfortune because it comes right after A Perilous Marriage, and I want to keep the events from A Perilous Marriage fresh in my mind. So I’m going to start Jeremiah’s romance once I am done with An Earl In Time or Interview for a Wife. It depends on which one gets done first. Regardless, I probably won’t have Jeremiah’s book ready until about March 2022.

I know that seems like a long time from now, and I am anxious to start this book now that I have the stage set for it, but I’m going to be good and finish the other books first.

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What I’m Working On

Where to start? There’s so much to include. I’ll try to make things brief so the post doesn’t get too long. 😀

Perfectly Matched will be out March 27

(Husbands for the Larson Sisters Series: Book 2)

This one is now up on pre-order on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Apple. Here’s the page where you can find it if you want to reserve your copy today: https://ruthannnordinauthorblog.com/chronological-order-of-my-books/my-historical-westerns/husbands-for-the-larson-sisters-series/perfectly-matched-husbands-for-the-larson-sisters-book-2/

As a quick reminder, this is Patricia Larson’s romance. She’s the second daughter of Tom and Jessica. This is a cute romantic comedy, and for those of you who prefer romances that contain little to no sex, this one has only kissing in it.

A Perilous Marriage

(Marriage by Necessity Series: Book 1)

I’m hoping to get this out on May 7, but I’m currently behind schedule, so I might have to push the date back. The good news is that I managed to get to 50,000 words before I was forced to take a week and a half off from writing. I suspect this book will be another 10,000 to 15,000 words before it’s done. As long as no other surprises come up, I should be able to get this out on time.

An Earl In Time

(standalone time travel romance with a fairytale feel to it)

I’m planning for this one to come out in July or September. I’m 54,000 words into this one, but it’s turning into a longer story than my usual 60,000-65,000 word count. I suspect we’re looking at 80,000 or so for this one. If I can’t get this out in July, I’d like to get Interview for a Wife out in July instead.

Interview for a Wife

(Nebraska Prairie Series: Book 3)

As a quick reminder since I only recently created the Nebraska Prairie Series, Books 1-2 used to be in anthologies I had under a publisher. I got the rights back to Books 1-2 last year, republished them, and decided to add Book 3 to the series.

The Purchased Bride was in the Bride by Arrangement anthology, and The Bride’s Choice was in the A Groom’s Promise anthology. If you have those anthologies, you already have these books.

I’ll post the anthology covers for quick reference and then post the new covers for the individual books.

Anthology covers:

bridebyarrangement  a groom's promise ebook cover

Individual books:

20200920_ThePurchasedBride  20200921_TheBridesChoice  20200917_interviewforawife3

I’m currently at 25,000 words in Interview for a Wife, and it’s looking like I’m about halfway into it. That’s why this one might come out before An Earl In Time.

Suitable for Marriage

(Husbands for the Larson Sisters Series: Book 3)

I’m hoping to get this out in November. I’ve gotten 9,000 words into it so far. This is Erin Larson’s romance. Erin is Tom and Jessica’s third daughter. At this point, it looks like it’ll be another cute romantic comedy, but we’ll see as the story progresses.

***

I finally updated the old covers for the South Dakota Series. I’ve been itching to do this for years, but until recently, I didn’t find the right models I was looking for.

I have to give a shout-out to Book Brush for how easy they make creating book covers.

I’m not sure how many authors bother reading these posts about my works in progress, but Book Brush has a background remove feature that allows you to remove a white/gray background from a model so that only the model remains. It can take a long time to remove models from a background if you use a program like GIMP. I still use GIMP, but it’s for the small touches rather than the main cover itself. Anyway, Book Brush allows you to easily take the model and place it in any new background picture you want. The whole process takes less than five minutes once you figure it out. Book Brush also includes fonts for the text.

I typically buy model photos from Period Images since they have models in historical clothes and have a focus on romance. I use the background photos from Dreamstime.

With that aside, here are the old covers for the South Dakota Series:

loving eliza new ebook cover 3  bid for a bride  bride of second chances new ebook cover 3

(Some of you may remember this cover for Bride of Second Chances since it’s the original one:)

bride of second chances

And here are the new ones:

Loving Eliza new ebook cover  Bid for a Bride new ebook cover  Bride of Second Chances new ebook cover

If you see those covers change on your e-reading device, it’s because I changed them. I know this can be startling, and you end up wondering if this was a book you’ve already read. The same thing happens to me when an author updates their covers. The reason we update covers is to look more professional.

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The Danger of Unrealistic Expectations (A Serious Flaw in the Writing to Market Mindset)

*Note: When I speak of “writing to market”, I am including the “writing to trend/fad” under this umbrella.

I’m sure by now everyone is aware that I’m opposed to the Write to Market strategy. Today, I’m going to list another reason why I hate it so much. (In fact, the more I explore it, the more I hate it.)

At the moment, I am having my kid go through a book titled Common Sense Business (Principles for Profitable Leadership) by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch and Whitney MacMillan. This is for his homeschool class titled Business: Sole Proprietorship. I figured since I run a business (which is being an independent writer), I would teach him what really goes into entrepreneurship.

While I was reading this book to prepare the lessons on common sense ways to run a business, I came across a portion that addressed the false notion that we must ALWAYS win. Winning, in terms of business, is all about profits. It’s this idea that we must see success after success, and the more we get, the more we’ll continue to get. The book continued to state that the culture in the United States is based on this unending increase that leaves no room for drops in income or failures.

As I was reading the book, I realized this mindset has trickled into the writing community. The whole purpose of writing to market is to win all the time. It’s about making more and more money. There might be a book here and there that doesn’t perform well, but the belief is that you WILL make more this year than you did last year, and you WILL make more next year than you will this year. And on and on it goes. The expectation is that it’s always going to be better. And if you don’t continue to win, you have not done something right.

So basically, it trains authors to feel like failures if their income drops. This is why when authors lament that they had a drop in income, they get bombarded with things the author did wrong. Their cover is lousy. Their description needs work. Their keywords are wrong. They didn’t do the right ads. They didn’t do enough ads. Their story sucks. Their website needs an overhaul. They aren’t engaging enough on social media. Etc, etc, etc.

There is always a reason to blame the author for a lack of sales. The writing to market mindset ignores the reality that sometimes you can do everything right and still see a drop in income. It is NOT always the author’s fault. The world we live in is ripe for success, but sometimes failure comes into the equation, too. It’s not realistic to think that everything must continue to go up. There are times they come back down. We will all face failure at some point because no one is perfect. Can we improve something with our book? Sure. But will it ever be perfect? No. Perfection is a myth.

When you give yourself over to this myth that you can create the perfect book with the perfect metadata and the perfect marketing plan, you’re going to end up disappointed. You face enough of these disappointments, and you’ll end up losing your enthusiasm for writing. The love you once had for creating new stories will wane. Writing will get harder and harder. The pressure to sell more is going to take over, and if you can’t hit the amount of sales you want, you’re going to get increasingly frustrated until you grow to hate writing.

Life is all about ups and downs. It’s just part of the ebb and flow of human existence.

This is true for every area of our lives. Do you have a good day every single day of your life? Does everything always go your way? Is today better than yesterday? Is tomorrow guaranteed to be better than today? Will next week be better than this one? Can you rely on things always being wonderful? Are the people around you always pleasant to be with? Are you always pleasant around them? Are the things you own always working like they should? Are you blessed with a repair-free existence? What about your health? Have you been well every single day you’ve been alive?

I could go on, but you get my point. If other areas in our lives are filled with ups and downs (good times and bad), then how can we expect writing to be any different?

“But, Ruth,” someone might say. “You can control your books.”

While that is true, you can’t control who buys it. That’s a factor that no author, regardless of how good they are at everything else, can accommodate for.

And yet, this is what writing to market is all about. Even if it’s not said aloud, the expectation is there. Writing to market gives the unrealistic promise that if you follow a specific formula, you’re guaranteed success because you are writing what people want to buy. This mindset is dangerous because it’s not grounded in reality. It sets the bar way too high.

As much as I hate to say it, the people selling courses promising that “you too can make tons of money if you follow their strategies” are making a big chunk of their income selling courses to authors. There’s good money to be had in these courses. When they brag about their “six figure income”, how much of that is from the courses they’re selling?

Regarding authors who brag about their “six-figure incomes”, how much of the money they make is partly due to the fact that they have an “in” at retailers you don’t, such as a personal rep at Amazon who can help place their book in front of more customers? I’ve personally benefited from special treatment at Apple years back (don’t remember how long ago at this point, but it was when self-publishing was taking off). The special placement I got from Apple helped me gain a footing over there that I otherwise would not have had. Also, how many of these authors know other authors who have a big readership to give the book exposure you can’t? Years ago, I remember Dave Ramsey mentioning a book on Amazon that had to do with building good habits. After Dave Ramsey mentioned that book, it zoomed way up in the charts at Amazon. Now, in this case, I don’t think the author knew Dave when Dave mentioned him on the show. But there are authors in the writing community who know each other, and group promotions happen. These promotions are legit. I’m just pointing out that being mentioned by a highly influential person can give you certain perks not available to other authors.

The extra perks some authors have change the equation quite a bit. That’s why you can’t compare yourself to someone else. Just because an author is making a certain amount of money, it doesn’t mean you will. The writing to market community fails to point this out. They make it sound like if you follow the advice in a certain book or course, you’re going to sell a lot of books. So you’re left believing that if you aren’t making the kind of money these other authors are, you are a failure, and you’re often blamed for not doing something right.

If you’re starting out today, it is possible for you to pay bills and even make a living, but be prepared for some ups and downs along the way. Things don’t play out the same way for everyone. If I had not started out back in 2009 with ebooks, I doubt I would be where I’m at today. Timing places a big role in success. Those who hit something big early benefit from it. Look at Bitcoin. I remember my sister telling me about Bitcoin about a decade ago. I wish I had gotten some back then. But that ship has long sailed for me. However, I did luck out with the writing thing. Would I be able to make good money if I started out today? I don’t know because I’m not starting out today, but my gut tells me there is no way. The field is different than it used to be. Back then, there were so few ebooks out that it was easy to get noticed. Now there’s a ton of books available, and a lot of them look professional. It’s hard to distinguish one book from another sometimes.

There is hope. I see people starting out who have been able to make money. Some supplement their income. Others quit their jobs and write full time. It’s going to be different for every author. You do your best and hope it pays off. That’s all any business owner does, whether it’s in the creative arts or running a restaurant or a store. Not all businesses succeed. It could be that you do everything right and still don’t make it. That is not your fault. It’s just the way life is.

Here’s the truth about the writing business. Income goes up and down. Some books sell better than others. Some books will receive praise and others will receive criticism. You can’t hit a home run every time you go up to bat. You’ll have years that are great and years that aren’t so great. That’s okay. I really think the writing to market mindset puts way too much pressure on authors, and I’m afraid all it does is weaken their joy and enthusiasm for writing. Writing should be a reward in itself. I realize you can’t eat joy and enthusiasm, but it sure is a lot easier to write when you’re enjoying what you’re doing. That’s why having realistic expectations are so important. Realistic expectations prepares you for the ups and downs that come with writing, and I believe that, ultimately, they lead you to a sense of peace that I don’t think exists in the writing to market community.

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