Updates on What I’m Doing

I was supposed to make this post on Sunday, but my kids were constantly demanding my attention and we kept losing Internet. Then on Monday and Tuesday, I was playing catch up on finalizing The Rejected Groom for my editing team and doing the book keeping for November.

So today (at long last), I’m finally getting this post up. 🙂

First of all, Married In Haste got a mention on the RT Book Reviews blog.Married in Haste Ebook Cover for Website

It was an unexpected honor, and it’s only because of you guys that this even happened. So my heartfelt thanks to you.

Speaking of Married In Haste, I have updated the release date to December 30. Originally, it was due for a March release.

Married In Haste is Book 2 in the Marriage by Fate Series. (Book 1 is The Reclusive Earl. Remember Opal? Well, Ava was Opal’s friend in The Reclusive Earl. Married In Haste is her book.)

Married In Haste is also Brad’s story. I introduced Brad in The Rake’s Vow. Brad was Loretta’s older brother. In this book, he finally gets his happy ending…with some hiccups along the way. But if there weren’t some problems, there wouldn’t be a story. 😉

During the course of writing Married In Haste, I came up with an idea for Stephen’s story. Stephen is the younger brother of Brad and Loretta. That story is The Marriage Contract, and I’m currently 12,000 words into it.

The book that follows Married In Haste in the Marriage by Fate Series is Make Believe Bride.

make believe bride

Click here to pre-order

This is Lord Whitney’s story. I know what most of you are thinking. Who on earth is Lord Whitney? I briefly made mention of him in The Reclusive Earl. He was the one Lady Steinbeck and Opal thought was very boring. I bring him in again in Married In Haste, but he only has a small scene there. For those of you on my email list, he was in a special epilogue I wrote for If It Takes A Scandal. Other than that, I haven’t really brought him up.

The heroine in this one is Lady Stacey, who is part of Lady Eloise’s group. I haven’t brought her in heavily into a story yet, though she’s primarily in the background whenever Ladies of Grace meet.

Today, while I was writing in this story, I got an idea for Book 4 in this series. Originally, I was going to bring in Miss Tumilson from The Reclusive Earl, but a conversation developed during the scene that gave me an idea for Miss Webb’s story. Miss Webb is a part of Lady Eloise’s group, and she’s had more speaking parts than Lady Stacey. Anyway, since Lady Eloise’s reputation is falling apart due to events in Married In Haste, the other members are trying to figure out how to save the group (and their own reputations).

Miss Webb has come up with a plan that I think will make for an interesting story.  I’ll have to think on the plot, but I see a lot of potential for the story. I think I have an idea for a Book 5 and 6 in this series, too. At some point, I do want to do a story for Miss Tumilson, but at this point, I don’t even know if she’ll fit in the Marriage by Fate Series. I might have to put her somewhere. We’ll see what develops as events unfold in the series.

November turned out to be a very exciting month. I actually finished The Rejected Groom.

I didn’t think I was going to finish it until the end of this month. So I’m very happy about that.  I am enjoying all the stuff going on in the Regency world, but I loved writing The Rejected Groom. I loved it so much, I ended up going back and rereading Wagon Trail Bride.

For those of you who don’t know, Wagon Trail Bride is Richard and Amanda Larson’s story. At the end, Amanda gives birth to the twin boys: Anthony (aka Tony) and Mark. Since Tony and Mark happen to be close to Sep’s age, I decided they would be in Books 2 and 3 of the Misled Mail Order Brides Series.

The Rejected Groom (Book 2) is Tony’s story. The Perfect Wife (Book 3) will be Mark’s story. Now, Tony and Mark have a younger sister named Annabelle, and I already know she’ll be in Book 4. I just haven’t come up with a title or plot for it yet.

Anyway… while I was going through Wagon Trail Bride, I found myself drawn to the crazy antics of the Larson siblings. The same was true when I read The Marriage Agreement. I forgot how much fun I had writing about the crazy antics of that bunch, especially Tom and Joel. Then I thought, “I should go back to the Larons with another series after I’m done with this one.” I want to do a series with Tom’s four daughters. (Tom never did have sons. He’ll have grandsons, though, so it’ll work out.)

Now, I don’t know when I can get to Tom’s daughters. My writing schedule is pretty backed up right now. Some people have requested a third story for Dave and Mary Larson (and some have asked me not to write another book for them), so I’ve been putting that one on hold. I don’t know if there’s that much of an interest to write it.

Since I can’t get more than nine or ten books out in a year, I can’t afford to take on a story that won’t appeal to the most people possible. Being a writer isn’t easy. You have to decide which stories you can write and what you can’t write. Most of the time, the decision boils down to which ones have the greatest chance of pleasing the most people.

I judge this based on sales of past books. That doesn’t mean the books have to be wildly selling at the very moment, but it does mean when the books first came out, they had to have sold well. Books don’t stay up in the charts forever. Sure, books with a huge following like Fifty Shades of Grey and Harry Potter will maintain momentum a lot longer than most books, but nothing stays up in the charts forever.

The business of book selling is based on getting new books out on a consistent and regular basis. Authors watch what type of books consistently do better, and they base future writing projects based off of that input. If a writer wants to have the best chance of having a successful career, that’s what they do. They don’t keep writing the types of books people aren’t interested in buying.

This is why I dropped contemporary romances. Contemporary romances are a big selling genre, but they aren’t a big seller for me personally. I do much better with historical westerns and Regencies. That’s why I focus on those genres. Then I break down the types of books within those genres that have done well for me, and I narrow down what to write from there. My Native American Romance Series, for example, is one of my lowest all-time selling series. The interest isn’t there. That’s why I’m not doing another one. Over the longterm, the Larson family has done pretty well, so I keep going back to them. As for Regencies… I find that overall, my Regencies outsell any historical western romance 2:1 longterm. That’s why I am now doubling up on Regencies and trimming back on historical westerns. Also, standalones suck in sales. It’s why I always work on series these days. If I can’t figure out how to get a story idea into a series, I don’t use it.

This is all based on objective business decisions. Yes, I love every single book I write. I have a ton of stories ideas I would love to write. But since I can realistically only write about nine books a year, I have to be careful when I select which ideas get picked up. It’s just the nature of the business.

Wow. I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent like that. Sorry to ramble everyone. 🙂

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The Rejected Groom first draft is now done!

Tony and Velma have just gotten their happily ever after!

This is Book 2 in the Misled Mail Order Brides Series. Book 1 is The Bride Price. Book 3 will be The Perfect Wife.

The Rejected Groom Ebook Cover

I honestly didn’t think I was going to finish this book until mid-to-late December, but from November 12th on, the story took off. The characters told me exactly what they wanted to do, and when characters do that, writing is easy and fast. I wish all stories were like that.

I really enjoyed this couple. Other couples I have immensely enjoyed writing have been John and Eliza (from Loving Eliza), Dave and Mary (from Eye of the Beholder and To Have And To Hold), Perry and Paula (from The Earl’s Scandalous Wife), Sebastian and Celia (from Taming The Viscountess), Chogan and Julia (from Brave Beginnings), and Jake and Sue (from An Inconvenient Marriage). Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy all of the couples, but the ones listed above wrote the stories for me. I didn’t have to wait and think on the storyline. Even before I sat down to write, I already knew what was going to happen next. Because of that, I feel like I have a better connection to them than other couples. Writing takes on a magical quality, and I always feel sad when their stories end.

Since I had this strong connection to Tony and Velma, I ended up writing about 3,200 words a day for the past two weeks. I couldn’t even take a day off. The story was burning inside of me, and I had to keep writing every day. If I didn’t write, I wouldn’t have gotten any sleep. (It also helped A LOT that I didn’t go online while I was writing.)

Now that I’m finished with the first draft, I’m taking the rest of the month off to edit this book. Then I’ll have it ready for my wonderful editing team. I haven’t decided on a release date yet. With Christmas being a busy time, I’m going to give my editing team longer to work through my book. Usually, I give them a month, but in this case, I think I’ll do a month and a half. So I’m thinking an early February release date will be best.

This means I’m officially done with NaNoWriMo. I ended up finishing at just over 60,000 words. That wouldn’t have happened if Tony and Velma weren’t so easy to work with.

Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about Married In Haste.

Married in Haste Ebook Cover for Website

This is due out December 30. I’ll upload it within the next couple of weeks to Amazon, and I’ll update the release date on iBooks, Kobo, B&N, and Smashwords when I upload the book. Once I’m done with initial edits in The Rejection Groom, I’ll focus on getting this one uploaded.

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Looking Ahead for 2018

Right now I’m trying to get an idea of what my publishing schedule will be for 2018. (Or at least the first half of 2018. It’s hard for me to plan beyond six months.)

So this is what I’ve come up with…

Married In Haste will be out December 30

Married in Haste Ebook Cover for Website

This is close enough to January 1 that I’m adding it to this list.  This is Book 2 in the Marriage by Fate Series. Book 1 is The Reclusive Earl. This is a Regency.

This is Brad Bachman (aka Lord Youngtown)’s romance. Brad was introduced in The Rake’s Vow (Marriage by Bargain: Book 2). He was Loretta’s older brother. In this book, we see the beginning of the end for Lady Eloise.

The Rejected Groom is projected to be out late February

The Rejected Groom Ebook Cover

This is Book 2 in the Misled Mail Order Brides Series. Book 1 is The Bride Price. This is a historical western. This is Anthony (Tony) Larson’s romance. Tony is one of the twin boys of Richard and Amanda Larson. Richard and Amanda’s romance was Wagon Trail Bride (Pioneer Series: Book 1).

The Marriage Contract is expected out either March or April

The Marriage Contract Ebook Cover

This is going to be the start of a brand new Regency series.  It is Book 1 in the Marriage by Fairytale Series. This is going to be Mr. Stephen Bachman’s romance. Stephen was introduced in The Rake’s Vow, and he plays a major role in Married In Haste. He is the younger brother of Loretta and Brad.

It takes place five years after the Marriage by Fate Series, so I don’t know if I’m going to end up going back through the five years and filling them in with other series. I’ll have to see how the storylines play out.

Make Believe Bride is expected out in May or June

make believe bride

This is Book 3 in the Marriage by Fate Series. It follows Married In Haste. In this we get to see what happens to Lady Eloise in more detail because Lady Stacey (the heroine in this book) is in Lady Eloise’s group. We will get to see some old Regency characters like Catherine (from A Most Unsuitable Earl: Marriage by Scandal: Book 2), Agatha (from His Reluctant Lady: Marriage by Scandal: Book 3), Loretta (from The Rake’s Vow), and Celia (from Taming The Viscountess: Marriage by Bargain: Book 3). We’ll see some old familiar faces from the gentlemen, too, but I routinely bring them back into my Regencies.

All of my Regencies take place in the same world. If you go to this page, you will see all of the books and the order they take place.

Right now I’m hoping to add a fourth book to this series, but at this time, I don’t have a solid plot line. So  I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not.

The Perfect Wife is due out next summer (June – August)

The Perfect Wife Ebook Cover3

This will be Book 3 in the Misled Mail Order Brides Series.  This is Mark Larson’s romance.  I might or might not do a romance for Tony and Mark’s little sister, Annabelle. I have a vague idea for her, but it might not pan out.

****

I had to drop three books from the list.

1. Wanted: Mail Order Husband

Wanted Mail Order Husband ebook cover

I already posted about this one. The story went off track for this one. I’m not sure what happened here. I love the premise of the story, and I want to do what’s best for it. I think when I’m done with the Misled Mail Order Brides Series, I’ll come back and see if I can get this one straightened out.

2. The Outlaw’s Bride

The Outlaw's Bride ebook cover

I’m not “dropping” it altogether. I’m just not going to have this one out next summer like I had planned. This one is going to be longer because I’m not charging a price for this book. I had some recent financial setbacks, and this has forced me to focus on books that have the best chance of making money. Since this is a rewrite of The Stagecoach Bride and I bought the rights to it from the co-author, I promised I would make this one free so that people who purchased the original won’t feel cheated by having to buy this one, too. The main story will be the same, but there are a lot of changes. I am rewriting the entire story so that it crafts around my voice. Otherwise, the other books in the series will end too different.

Right now I’m only at 16,000 words. I have a long way to go. I only get to this book if I have time. I am currently 1.5 months behind my original writing schedule, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I only manage to get 30,000 words into this book by this time next year.

3. The Rancher’s Bride

The Rancher's Bride ebook cover

Since this book follows The Outlaw’s Bride, it’s obvious why I put this on the shelf. I won’t be touching it any time in the near future.

***

I understand there are some of you who are itching to read the books I’ve dropped from 2018, but the time constraints hold me back from behind able to get them out that soon. I write books that average 60,000 – 65,000 words. Some of them are in the 50,000 range and some are in the 70,000 range. But I am not a novella writer. And I can only write so fast. I know there are some really good authors who manage 1-2 books a month, but I can’t do that.

My usual book output is 7-9 a year. That’s the best I can do. I would love to be able to go faster. I thought dictation was going to allow me to do that, but I ended up draining all of my energy this summer by dictating 4,000 to 5,000 words a day. My pace is best at 2,000 to 3,000 words a day and taking 2-3 days off a week to work on non-writing activities.  So because of this, I have to be selective in what projects I invest my time into.

And as much as I’d love to say money doesn’t matter, the truth is, it does. I’m going to continue publishing wide. I was considering putting a book or two into Amazon KU, but I ended up deciding to keep publishing them on all retailers. Some of you have been with me for years, and you shop at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Smashwords. I posed a couple of questions on Facebook to find out where you are buying my books from, and I was surprised by how wide the diversity was.  I don’t want to shut anyone out.

So in order to keep things going, I am focusing more on Regencies since they sell better. I’ll still do some historical westerns. (I love both genres a lot.) I’m also going to test a higher price on The Marriage Contract. During the pre-order phase, I’ll have it marked at $2.99. After it’s released, the price will go to $3.99. I think it’ll stay $2.99 for the first couple of days after the release, but I’m not sure how long it’ll take for the price changes to take effect across all retailers. I want those of you who’ve stuck with me to be able to still get the book at $2.99. That’s why I’m not going to ask $3.99 during the pre-order phase.  I want to see if upping the price will help offset some of the loses I’ve taken from not being in KU. Since KU, I have lost almost half of my Amazon income. It’s gotten better since I’ve focused on Regencies, but it’s not what it used to be. I’m not complaining. I’m just explaining why I’m doing the price change for The Marriage Contract after it’s released.

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