Sunday, October 30, 2016
About ten years ago, I got an idea for a romance novel that just wouldn't go away. It was weird and wacky and when I queried an agent she looked at me like I had lost my mind.
Which I probably had.
She gave me half a dozen good reasons why I would never publish this book, and why it would never see the light of day.
I thought my best selling point was originality. NO ONE ELSE HAD THIS IDEA.
Also, I was winning writing contests.
She didn't care. In fact, the originality was working against me. She didn't want original. She wanted this book to fit into a tidy little box.
She kept asking me, WHO ARE YOU LIKE? WHICH AUTHORS ARE SIMILAR TO YOU?
I said, "I thought I was supposed to be one-of-a-kind, unique, original?"
I was a dumb-ass. I didn't understanding marketing.
A published author told me to delete the "Christmas" out of my Christmas story. I could sell it easily if it was just a regular contemporary romance.
A big name author told me I had to shave my hero. Big beards were not popular at that time, and she said this would turn off readers and publishers.
My book was too short. It was seasonal, the kiss of death. Newbie writers didn't get asked to join anthologies. Sex and Santa were a bad combination.
Well, the most effective way to get me to do something is to tell me I can't do it.
I didn't pad my word count. I didn't remove the Christmas from my Christmas story. I didn't shave my hero.
I kept querying publishers.
A year later, a small publisher told me they loved the book. They had a special section for holiday books! They loved the length! They thought it was sweet and whimsical and romantic!
A year after that, SWEET INSPIRATION was published.
Here I am, ten years later, and I am publishing the final book in the series. Is it a NYT-bestseller? No. Do I have an adorable bunch of readers who love the sweetness of this holiday romance series? Yes, absolutely yes. The best readers ever!
I learned a lot of good lessons with this series. I learned that there are two ways to approach this writing/publishing business. Neither one is better or worse, they're just different.
Some folks write to market. They see what sells, they write accordingly.
Some folks write the story percolating in their brain, regardless of market. They understand it might not sell a lot. It might not appeal to a publisher.
The Klaus Brothers have been on a rocky road with me. I learned about rejection with them. I learned how to write with them. I had a heart attack with them. I learned how to self-publish with them.
I feel like Santa is patting me on the back and pushing me into 2017, a year for new beginnings.
And HUGE JUMBO GINORMOUS THANK YOU to my readers who have stuck with me on this journey, the bumpy road, the quirky path.
Gearing up for the holidays,
Saturday, October 29, 2016
In preparation for the final Klaus book, I've decided to put books 1-4 on sale!
Catch up with the series before SWEET DESTINY is released.
Find the Klaus Brothers Series at...
Almost time for the final chapter...SWEET DESTINY, coming this December!
Get ready for Wolfgang!
All my best,
Monday, October 10, 2016
1. Cover Reveal!
Huge thanks to Lena Goldfinch for this gorgeous cover. Hey! There's a person on my cover. Where's the fruit?
2. Book Blurb for SWEET DESTINY
Wolfgang Reinhard Klaus, Director of Charitable Donations for the family business, is the last unmarried Klaus brother. While his four siblings have fallen in love and started their unconventional families, Wolfgang has been crushed by his heart-breaking obligations. The once affable Wolf has become a bitter and tormented man. All he has left is a nimble vision of loveliness who haunts his dreams. Is she enough to restore his faith in humanity?
Belinda Kiefer is a one-of-a-kind being, embraced by the winter forest and the woodland animals. Half-human, half-fairy, she flits between two worlds, searching for a place to belong. Her secret crush on Wolfgang is both a blessing and a curse. It will help her to soothe him in his darkest hour, but the outcome may cost her everything.
When Santa is injured before Christmas, the Klaus family is forced to take action. The Day of Reckoning is finally upon them, and one of the siblings must take responsibility for the beloved holiday. Which brother possesses the true heart of the Weihnachtsmann? Who will be the one to fulfill this long-awaited destiny?
3. Here's an (unedited) sneak peek at SWEET DESTINY, Klaus Brothers Series #5, coming in December 2016.
If you'd like to add it to your TBR pile, here's the Goodreads link.
Listen to the wind,
Listen to the silence,
Listen to your heart,
Native American Proverb
Wolfgang heard two things.
And the wind.
His breath was rhythmic and shallow. Like a metronome, steady, keeping him grounded. His fingers grasped the rough granite ledge, and he pulled himself closer to the cliff wall.
The wind was behind him. Below him. Beside him. It started slow like a puff of air, gentle and prodding. And then it grew. The gusts built to a crescendo until it roared in his ears. Rattling leaves became percussion, unique to each tree, shaking violently on the branch.
He focused on his breath and tried to ignore the thoughts banging around his head. Thoughts about hungry children and crying babies and the scent of death. Thoughts about family and obligation. His knee gripped the rock wall, bruising the skin. This moment required his full and undivided attention, as he searched for the next crevice, propelling himself higher. One slip—one bit of distraction—could be deadly.
Perspiration dripped down the side of his face and into his beard. He licked his lips and glanced at the ledge. So close to the peak. Would it be enough? Would it banish the dark thoughts and bring him peace? He’d spent months searching for tranquility. In the deepest sea, diving into murky waters, finding no clarity. In the jungle, but the noise there was deafening. On back country roads and in bustling cities. And now he searched in the dense Vermont forest, free-climbing a mountain wall into the clouds. Wolfgang knew a million places and a million people. But no matter where he went, he couldn’t escape the realities of his life. Those thoughts haunted his dreams and every waking moment.
Wolfgang Reinhard Klaus, third son of Alena and Nicholas Klaus, was Director of Charitable Donations for Klaus Enterprises. At first, he’d loved his job—traveling around the world and providing money for needy causes. He’d built schools in third world countries, raised funds for pediatric hospitals, volunteered his time at shelters. At first, he saw smiling faces of grateful children. Tears of joy from appreciative parents. At first, he felt like Klaus Enterprises was making a difference.
But somehow, slowly, over the years, he began to see another side of his job. Communities ravaged by war. Children suffering. Families crushed by drug addiction. And some patients—a little girl dressed in pink who fought to the bitter end—did not have a happy ending. They never left that hospital ward. They died there, and with them, so did Wolfgang’s hope.
It had taken weeks and months and years, and now his optimism was crushed to dust, blown away by a forceful gale of wind and replaced by bone-deep cynicism. His heart had hardened to protect itself from more disappointment. And unlike his brothers—who had found love and happiness with a partner, joy with their children, a future with their family—Wolf was alone.
Even though part of him still loved his family deeply, another part—an ugly part—was consumed by jealousy. Why were his brothers so lucky? So deserving? Why were they allowed to find love and he could not?
He bent his head and watched a stream of sweat pour onto his shirt. He swallowed nervously. He needed to focus and pull himself up to the break. His arms strained with the effort of holding himself in place.
He tried to clear his head, to block out everything.
He needed to concentrate on this moment. There was no past, no future. No magik. No elves. No Christmas carols belted out in off-key enthusiasm. No gingerbread cookies iced with grandma’s love.
He peered at the flat rock in front of him. He searched for the next ridge to clasp. But instead, he saw the face of a little girl who haunted his dreams, asleep and awake.
Drawn, pale, and strangely still hopeful until her last breath. He could not escape her, not even on this craggy wall of granite.
Wolf shut his eyes. What would it take to forget? There was nowhere left to go.
And in that moment, as his fingers clutched the minuscule ledge that kept him tethered to the rock and to his life, his hand flexed. His fingers slipped.
And with an utter sigh of defeat, Wolfgang dropped from the rock and into a pit of darkness.