Warning: My Upcoming Books Might Not Be Your Cup of Tea

I didn’t know how else to title the post. But basically I want to give everyone a heads-up on what’s coming so no one is shocked.

Ever since I jumped off the “writing to market” bandwagon, I have found that the stories I’m writing are becoming more and more different from the stuff I wrote during the period I was writing to market (2016-mid-2018).

Now, these two books that I have coming out later this year are both funny and light.

Nelly's Mail Order Husband for website  Adobe Photoshop PDF

(A quick reminder: Nelly’s Mail Order Husband is the romance for Tom and Jessica Larson’s oldest girl. Forever Yours is Dave and Mary’s third book.)

I will still write funny and light romances. I already know Book 2 in the Husbands for the Larson Sisters series will be funny and light. But I’m not ready to write it yet. I don’t even have a title for it. I’ve learned to wait for the right idea to come along instead of forcing it. When the book is ready, it’ll get written.

In the meantime, I am writing in some areas that some of  you might not enjoy, and I’ll get into that below:

Marriage by Fairytale Series (Regency gothic romance)

The Marriage Contract new ebook cover One Enchanted Evening ebook cover The Wedding Pact ebook cover fairest of them all ebook cover The Duke's Secluded Bride ebook cover

This series is a look into the darker side of the human soul. I noticed a couple of people don’t care for this series, so I thought I better offer a warning now before Book 5 comes out. The further into this series I get, the darker (or more gothic) these books get. This wasn’t intentional. I didn’t set out to go in this direction. This just evolved as time went on.

The Duke’s Secluded Bride (Book 5) is going to be darker than the previous books in this series. This particular story is loosely based off of the Rapunzel fairy tale. I had to explain why my heroine is hiding from the world. I wasn’t sure what the reason was when I started this book, but I’ve now come to realize that she is voluntarily hiding in the west wing of the manor because believes that man-eating creatures are lurking outside and will get her if she goes outside. Now, we all know these creatures don’t really exist. But the point is, she believes they do.

You see, the villain in this story likes to play psychological mind games on the people around him. I show this early on in the book. So don’t worry. I didn’t just spoil the book. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been researching the topic of gaslighting and narcissism. (This is the Psychology major in me coming out.) Anyway, this research is impacting the direction of this story. Some narcissists like to gaslight the people around them. That’s the case with this villain. In order to stay in control, he makes the people around him think  they’re going crazy by gaslighting them. The process of him doing this while our hero and heroine are falling in love is what I’m most interested in exploring, and that’s the focus of the story. I imagine that toward the end of this book, he’s going to actively hunt down the hero and heroine, and since there is no redeeming him, he will have to die. The death might be deemed violent. I don’t see the villain going down without a fight.

Marriage by Design Series (Regency romance)

BTR SNL final Other books to be added to this series

This series is funny and light, BUT they feature feisty heroines who aren’t afraid to speak their minds. For the most part, I have avoided these types of heroines because they are not popular with most readers. Most readers prefer the heroine who is soft and easy to win over. That is not this kind of heroine, and judging by the lady who’s going to be the heroine in Book 2 of this series, she’s not like that, either. Both of these ladies are strong-willed. In Book 1, the lady has her sights set on the hero and traps him into a marriage. The hero, while in love with this lady, is not happy. He’s actively trying to dismiss his feelings because she’s rejected him in the past, and he doesn’t want to be vulnerable again. Her goal is to figure out a way to get him “back”.

To do this, I’m going to get two notable cads: Lord Edon and Mr. Christopher Robinson. I’m going back in time in this book. At this point, in the timeline, these two gentlemen are still bachelors. The events in A Most Unsuitable Earl and His Reluctant Lady have not taken place yet. Mr. Christopher Robinson (if you’ll recall) helped the heroine in this book (Lilly Lowell) sneak into Lord Hedwrett’s townhouse so she could see what kind of scoundrel Lord Hedwrett was. After that, Lilly ended her betrothal to Lord Hedwrett and set her mind on winning Mr. Morris (the hero in Breaking the Rules) back. Anyway, long story short, Edon and Robinson will help her with this task.

Now, if you read A Most Unsuitable Earl and His Reluctant Lady, you know what Edon and Robinson are like, and you know they’re not the most “mature” characters around. Personally, I love them and bring them back as often as I can because I have so much fun writing them. I’ve learned that my kind of humor doesn’t make everyone laugh because a lot of people find the humor to be immature.

Suffice it to say, if feisty heroines and my kind of Regency humor isn’t your thing, then you’ll want to avoid this series.

Wyoming Series (historical western romance)

The Outlaw's Bride ebook cover2  The Rancher's Bride ebook cover 2 Either one or two books will be added to this series.

This series is a “Wild West” kind of series. These are primarily romance, but there are some gritty moments that take place, and some of those are graphic and violent. For anyone who’s read my Native American Romance Series (especially Restoring Hope and Brave Beginnings), you’ll know what I mean. I used violence in that series because the plots called for it. The plots in these books are the same way. The Outlaw’s Bride has one scene that gets pretty violent, but it takes place toward the end of the book. I just started The Rancher’s Bride this week, and the opening scene has the heroine stabbing and slitting the throat of a man who’s trying to kill her. I didn’t just tell what happened. I showed the event happen. So it’s that kind of violence. I expect the rest of the series to be this way due to the overall arc to the series, which is the need to get back a ranch from a man who’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants. So if violent scenes bothers you, you’ll want to skip this series.

A note about the three series:

These are all romances. The hero and heroine fall in love, and the romance is central to the stories. Without the romance, none of the stories exist. There is also a happy ending. Those are the core traits that define a romance, and all of these books will have them.

But, as you can tell from the way I described the three series I’m working on, each one has a different type of “feel” to them. I don’t know if you like the elements I described above or not.

Since I’m not sure what kind of romances will appeal to some of  you, I thought I’d send out a warning now so  you can mark down what books you don’t want to read. That way when the books comes out, you won’t be caught off guard. I’ve received some feedback from people who were shocked because they didn’t expect certain content in my books. I figured if I gave people a warning in advance, I’ll limit how many people will get upset.

There’s no sense in wasting  your time in reading something that doesn’t appeal to you. I have some authors where I only read certain books they write because not every book they write interests me. I’m okay if you don’t read everything I write. My tastes vary. I write a wide range of romances. Sometimes I’m in the mood to write light and funny. Sometimes I want to write something dark and serious. Sometimes I want to write something tender and sweet.

Ever since I went back to writing for passion, I’ve let my creative side go wherever it wants to. I’m not sure if people will like it or not, but I’ve found that doing this helps my mind to stay fresh with new story ideas. Plus, I don’t get burned out writing this way. I got burned out trying to stick with the same kind of romances all the time. Some authors can write the same type of stories and be fine. I’m not one of them.  I always put two characters together to fall in love, and they do have a happy ending. Those are the only two consistent thing in these books. Other than that, anything goes.

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The Downside of Writing Fast

downside of writing fast blog post

ID 153106770 © Antonio Meza | Dreamstime.com

I should do a quick disclaimer here. The definition of “writing fast” will differ depending on who you talk to. So let me offer you my definition of “writing fast” for the sake of this post.

To me, “writing fast” is when an author writes 1-2 books a month. Then they publish those books as quickly as they can. This is called “rapid release”.

I write in the romance genre, and I’ve seen plenty of authors using the rapid release system. They’ll have a new release coming out about twice a month. It seems to be that these are novellas or novelettes. (In romance, 50,000 words is a full-length novel, though I’ve seen some people argue that a full-length novel in romance can be 45,000 words long. Novellas usually hover around the 20,000-30,000 word range. Novelettes are usually around 15,000 words in length.)

The shorter the book, the easier it is to finish it more quickly. This is why so many romances are under the full-length novel word count. This is fine. I see nothing wrong with shorter stories. The horror genre is notorious for short stories, and as long as the author does a good job of telling a satisfying story, all is good. It’s possible to write good quality stories that aren’t full-length. In fact, I would rather read a shorter book that keeps me turning the page than read a longer story that doesn’t.

So anyway…

The other day an author was talking about her plan to do a rapid release schedule. She was planning on a book every other week. She was also planning on spin-off series that would also be quickly written and published. Then she stated out how she was going to promote these books, etc, etc. The further I read into her plan, the more my eyes glazed over. I couldn’t even give you the details of her plan because I couldn’t wrap my mind around all the work she’s going to do. I assume she has an assistant because if she doesn’t, she’s going to burn herself out.

Do I believe it’s possible to write and publish a book every other week? Sure. I’ve seen enough authors do it. If the book is short enough, it’s totally possible.

But the question that keeps going through my mind is this: “Is it WORTH it?”

If an author hits a hot genre, knows how to market effectively, can produce work fast, and knows how to line up all the plot points and character types that are popular within that genre, they can make good money. I’ve heard of too many authors who’ve made “a six-figure income” a year doing this to think otherwise. Obviously, the strategy works.

But again, “Is it WORTH it?”

The answer depends on the author’s goals. If you’re writing to make money, then yes, it is worth it. This is the way to win at making money as a writer.

But what if money isn’t the main motive for writing? What if your main motive is the story itself? What if writing is like taking an enjoyable vacation where you get to stop and check out the sights, sit and talk to good friends, and eat a new, delicious meal? Would you want to rush that experience? For me, every book is a vacation. I don’t feel like I’m truly alive until I’m in the story. That’s not to say I don’t get a lot of enjoyment in real life because I do. Just as there are things you enjoy doing when you’re at home, there are also a lot of fun times you have on vacation. The beauty of the story is that there are no limits. You can go anywhere in any time period with anyone you want. The stuff you can’t do in real life doesn’t apply to the world of fiction.

So while God has blessed me with a great husband, kids, and friends, He’s also blessed me with an imagination that takes me on some of the best vacations I’ve ever been on. Vacations don’t take away your enjoyment of being home; vacations add flavor to the wonderful life you already have. There’s nothing as thrilling as being in the process of writing a story when everything is brand new since the characters take me through the story. I never know exactly where I’ll end up, and that makes things so much fun. And best of all, when I reread the story, I get to relive the great memories.

To me, the downside of writing fast is that the vacation is rushed. There’s not enough time to savor the experience. The more fun I’m having, the more reluctant I am to leave, and this is why some books end up being longer than others. Some books are meant to be shorter, though. Not every vacation is meant to be a long one.

For example, Fairest of Them All was so much fun that I ended up going into a subplot. That book ended up being 86,000 words when all was said and done. It’s one of my favorites. On the other hand, I enjoyed writing Forever Yours (which is 47,000 words long) so much that I had to go back and reread Eye of the Beholder and To Have and To Hold again because I really enjoy seeing the Larson family from Dave and Mary’s point of view. The reason Forever Yours was shorter is probably because it’s Dave and Mary’s third book. Dave and Mary are my favorite Larson couple, and I do feel like the third book completes their story. If you add up all three books, the word count is about 200,000 words. (Eye of the Beholder was about 80,000 words, and To Have and To Hold was about 73,000 words.) So that tells you how much I’ve enjoyed spending time with Dave and Mary. That all said, Forever Yours is their last book. There’s nothing else I can do with them. But I do feel that Forever Yours finally completes their story. One reason I do so many Larson books in general is that they are my favorite family to write about. I enjoy going on vacation to visit them. It’s always nice to run into old friends while meeting new ones.

So anyway, I’ve decided I don’t want to write fast. The rapid release schedule isn’t for me. That means I can’t focus on the money part of writing. This is the shift I made when I decided (almost two years ago now) that I was going to start writing for passion. I’m a lot happier. I’m no longer burned out. I love the stories I’m writing much more. I think what I’m doing these days is some of my best work. Not everyone agrees, of course, but we all have our different tastes.

I’m just going to continue taking my time and enjoying each story as it comes. My primary goal as a writer is to have fun. I want to go on vacations that excite me. Sometimes I want to laugh. Sometimes I want to feel the suspense of wondering what will happen next. Sometimes I want to delve into the heart of difficult topic. But in every vacation, I want to fall in love, and I want the happy ending.

For those of you who continue to join me on my vacations, I thank you. If it weren’t for you guys giving me your support and encouragement along the way, I would have given up a long time ago. There were times I wanted to walk away from it all, but someone would send me a message and remind me of what’s truly important when it comes to writing. You guys are the best!

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Fairest of Them All is Now Available!

This is one of my all-time favorites. 🙂 It’s exactly what I intended for a gothic romance to be. It has a strong romance, a spooky feel, and plenty of suspense.

fairest of them all ebook cover

This is Book 4 in the Marriage by Fairytale Series.

The Marriage Contract new ebook cover  One Enchanted Evening ebook cover  The Wedding Pact ebook cover  fairest of them all ebook cover  The Duke's Secluded Bride ebook cover

Here’s the description:

A duke who has imprisoned himself in an attic for nine years is in need of a wife…

Evander Meyrick, the Duke of Sutherton, has lived the past thirteen years under a curse. He didn’t know just how bad the curse was until every lady he married died within a year of their wedding day. Now he has a step-daughter, Tabitha, who is ready for her first Season, and he longs to give her something he can’t have for himself: a normal life.

A spinster who thought her best years were behind her may find a second chance so long as the curse doesn’t touch her…

At thirty-four, Miss Viola Keane is well past her prime. Having gone through three failed Seasons, she had resigned herself to never knowing the joys of marriage and children. Instead, she focused her attention on her family.

Shortly after her brother’s death, however, she finds out her family doesn’t have any money. When she learns that the Duke of Sutherton is offering a sizable sum of money to any lady who’s willing to marry him, she jumps at the opportunity to become his wife.

The notion of a curse doesn’t scare her. She, after all, doesn’t buy into such superstitious nonsense. But since her new husband and step-daughter are convinced the curse is real, she abides by the strange rules he lays out for her.

He wasn’t planning to fall in love again…

Evander only intended to spend enough time with Viola to discuss her role as Tabitha’s step-mother. But it’s been a long time since he’s had a meaningful conversation with another person, and something about her reminds him of what his life was like before the curse ruined his life.

Dare he take the chance of opening himself up to her and potentially risk losing another wife, or should he keep his distance in order to keep her safe?

If interested, you can find it here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Apple

Google Play

Smashwords

Payhip (coupon XQ5A99KCZM will give you 75% off; this coupon expires on Thursday September 4)

Special note about Payhip: I was originally going to offer 50% for the Payhip coupon, but Kobo US and Canada is running a Labor Day sale which has lowered the price of The Wedding Pact temporarily to $0.99. This also impacted the price of The Wedding Pact on other retailers. Since those of you who used Payhip to buy The Wedding Pact paid $1.99 for it, I didn’t feel it right to only offer 50% off of Fairest of Them All with this coupon. That’s why I’m making the coupon good for 75%. With the sales price, it’s $1.00. (That’s as close as I could get to $0.99.) Be sure to use the coupon when checking out at Payhip! 🙂

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