Editor's note: I deleted an entire cheese-filled post for the following sentimental, raw post. These are my feelings, real and true—please take that into account.
Today, I released my 9th book. It's been a different type of release for me. Quiet and sedate.
Recent book releases have come with so much pomp and circumstance, streamers and confetti and hours, day, and weeks spent online pimping, sharing and marketing (most of It spent in my robe).
This one is a different though.
In early 2012, I wrote a blog post on E.L. James—how whether or not you read or planned to read her books or not, she was living the Mom/Woman/Entrepreneur dream. Basically, if you wanted to put her down, you could go suck it. Subsequently, I was called by Katie Couric's team for my opinion. At the time, I admitted to her producers I always wanted to write a book. They said, "you should do it."
AND BY GOLLY, I did.
In 2014, I published Electrified, a romantic suspense novel. I put my heart and soul into that book. Did it become the next Fifty? NO. But it did serve it's purpose...to make people think about love and the idea that it doesn't always happen conveniently. There was also the seedy environment in which Electrified takes place—a gentleman's club in Sin City. There were themes that were somewhat uncomfortable and among all the glitz and bright lights of the stripper pole was a valuable lesson. It wasn't your typical romance, and for that I got some slack (including being called a religion basher).
Book two of this series, Smoldered, released later that year and I learned about books being labeled NOT SAFE. LISTEN, I don't say this to agitate reviewers...I was simply that stupid and naive back then. A long time reader myself, I pretty much read anything. I didn't have any triggers or unsafe zones when it came to fiction, but these are very real feelings for many real people. Smoldered is an ugly and painful tale about a beautiful couple who eventually finds their happy ending. I came to understand it wasn't for everyone.
Over the year, Big Mike had become a fan favorite in Electrified and Smoldered. It was obvious his story was next, but he was in love with a high-end escort.
I came to realize his story was neither safe nor comforting.
Every few weeks, I'd add a little more to Mike and Lynx's tale. It quickly began to turn into my grittiest story yet. So, I put it off, pushed it aside, and let the dust collect there.
I hate to admit this, but part of this was out of fear. I have a thick skin, and I mean it when I say, readers have their right to their own opinions and feelings (as stated above). BUT I found myself unable to work on Mike's book for a long time, and then I said, "Screw it," and started writing it again.
IT is not pretty.
IT definitely pushes some readers way out of their comfort zone.
IT includes a love affair between a biracial woman and a blue blood white male. IT is forbidden in more ways than one. She's a "working girl" and he's trying to be more than he was born into...
IT is steamy and sensual, raw and grimy, and the ending is just as I always saw it.
I'm proud of the risk I took for these two to have their story.
To all the readers who waited patiently, this book is for you. JUST read the dedication if you don't believe me.
This is why today is without confetti and streamers, but maybe I'll throw some tomorrow.