So as most of you know by now, I released a “secret book” on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
Why was I so hush-hush about it when I am so chatty about my Darkness Saga? Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee (or something stronger) and we can have a fireside chat.
Let’s be real.
When I first began writing, my dream was to land the agent, get the big book deal and see my beautiful hard copy edition in every book store across America. (Hey international sales wasn’t such a bad dream, either.) I’m not going to lie to you, that still is my dream, but it’s been placed to the side. I think success is every writer’s dream. Writers want readers. That’s it. I want someone to swoon over Luce or Michael the way I’ve swooned over the literary heroes that grace my bookshelves.
So did I give up on that dream? NO WAY!
In my pursuit of the perfect agent, the perfect publishing deal, and the perfect way to become a household brand name, I lost sight of something really important– writing.
See, before I tried to sell my work, I had to write my work. There was a time when the happiest portion of my day was when I would come home from the day job, go through my nighttime routine and in the wee hours of solitude, type away and bring my imagination to life. I wrote for no one other than me. I wrote without an agenda, and it was the sweetest, purest writing time of my life.
Since I began querying three years ago, I lost sight of the magic of writing. I began studying “formulas” and “trends” and ignoring what I wanted to write because “paranormal was dead.” I began grasping at any way possible to make a career out of this path which I so desperately desired when rejection after rejection kept flooding my inbox.
Occasionally there were offers. One offer that against my better judgement I accepted. Well, you all know how that ended. If you don’t know, all I’m going to say is never go against your gut. When your subconscious is whispering to you, bring the brakes to a screeching halt and pay attention. I’ve learned my lesson from that, and despite how wonderful something may appear, I no longer try to force a square peg into a round hole. “Proceed with caution” is my new motto.
Which brings me to my reasons for going indie.
For YEARS, I fought against being an independent author. I was embarrassed by the title. Being an indie author means that your work couldn’t cut it in the real literary world, right? WRONG!
I have learned a pearl of wisdom, “The size of the book deal is not directly proportionate to the quality of the book.” I’ve read amazing traditionally published books. They sit on my nightstand like old friends. I’ve also read horrible ones. Books where I scratched my head because I actually found it insulting that a big publisher would think that this is what a reader wants.
The most profound writing advice I ever heard, came from Anne Rice, although I do not believe she was the original person to first utter the phrase. It’s simple: “Write the book you most want to read.”
If I’m writing a book I am passionate about, wouldn’t others be passionate as well? That’s how I created Lucifer. I wrote him without fear, not worrying what others would think. As a result, the words poured onto the page. Writing Luce is comfortable, like slipping into my favorite flannel shirt. It feels good to write him. You know what? Readers liked him too.
But wait a minute! How is that possible? That book is paranormal. The genre is overcrowded and nobody wants to read that stuff anymore. Hmm… tell that to the patient, devoted fans who are waiting for Killing Darkness to come out. I’ve already missed my promised initial release date. Sometimes going to the Supermarket can be hazardous to my health… Not that I’m complaining!
I’m not bitter. I’m actually blissfully happy.
I’ve recently come to grips with the fact that I DO NOT have to conform to what the industry says I need to write. Knowing this is liberating because it meant I could do something I always wanted to do since I was thirteen years old. Write a vampire book.
Vampires have been a deep rooted fascination with me since I was in elementary school. I think I got the obsession from my father who dressed up every year without fail as classic Dracula. While some kids learned how to look both ways before crossing the street, my dad instilled in me the importance of learning how to ward of a vampire. He prepped me on the importance of every young girl having a slayer box handy. Holy water, garlic and a cross of sterling silver. My dad was nothing if not original in his parenting techniques! Of course it was a silly game, but it planted a seed in my imagination. That seed burrowed down deep and blossomed within me. The thing was, I didn’t want to learn how to keep the vampires at bay. I wanted to invite them in.
When I first read Interview with the Vampire, I was in the eighth grade. I think I watched my VHS copy of Brad and Tom so many times I wore out the tape. That led to Lestat and Pandora… I had the Anne Rice bug.
There were many movies along the way. The Lost Boys, Bram Stokers Dracula, and of course The Twilight franchise. While I don’t consider Edward Cullen to be a real vamp, I do love that it reopened the door to vampires and paranormal in general. True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and The Originals prove that the public still craves a little bloody necking.
Which brings me to Bryce, my sexy Scottish vampire who prowls the streets of Manhattan each night looking for a little snack to pass the time.
It was so much FUN to create this character. My vampires are creatures of the night. Humans are food. The sun will kill them, their transformation is not instant and they DO NOT SPARKLE. What I wanted to draw upon was the seductive side of them. Vampires are sexual creatures. They lure in their prey and even the act of death can be somewhat erotic.
I wanted to explore their pain, the reality of no longer having a reflection and feeling invisible to a world that no longer celebrates their life.
So, while you’re waiting for Killing to come out, maybe you’d like to give Reborn a try. It’s 110 pages and only .99cents. It is the first book in The Blood Clan Chronicles. Book two will be available by Thanksgiving and book three by Christmas. Had I gone traditional, I NEVER could deliver these books to you guys so quickly. Being Indie means I can give my readers stories faster, without giving up on the quality of my production.
Just goes to show you how wonderful words can be when you stop trying to be what society dictates, and start embracing who you are and what you always wanted to do.
Love and Bloody kisses!XO