When people hear I write romance novels, they often smirk, or roll their eyes, automatically making assumptions about me, my husband, and our private business. Funny, when they hear I also write really bloody, gruesome thrillers, they don’t assume so much. I guess it’s easier for people to think about the sex toys I might have under my bed than the bloody knife I might have behind my back.
The point is, people make assumptions about who I am, what I do, what I make, and what my life is like. A lot of those assumptions are wrong. So I thought it might be fun to offer some insight into what it’s really like to be a published author.
- Not all New York Times bestselling authors are rich. Believe me, I know. I am one. And I am a long way from rich. I also have a lot of friends who have hit bestseller lists over the years, who are still struggling in the midlist right along with me. What people might not realize is that the Bestseller Lists determine which book is super hot and selling madly for ONE WEEK out of its entire shelf life. To illustrate—say, in one week, I sell 10,000 copies of an independently-published book priced at .99. I’m making about $3500.00. And I hit the NYT list. But that book might not sell another 10,000 copies over its entire shelf life. And $3500 is by no means the salary of a rich person.
- I do not lie on a couch in a pink peignoir, eating chocolates, dictating my book to an assistant. I write in my home office, or, if my back is really acting up, a recliner. And oy, would I love to have an assistant! But if I had one, she would not be taking dictation, she’d be running to the post office to make books to contest winners, or running to the bank, or filing the tons of receipts, or making copies, or answering mail, or taking inventory, or arranging booksignings, handling my schedule, outlining my workshops. I have no assistant…so I do all of those things. As well as writing the books, marketing them, and doing every other thing required of a self-employed person.
- I do not travel to exotic countries to research my books. Ever heard of Google Earth? I use it. A lot. I research books and websites and maps to make my settings more rich and realistic. The last time I traveled out of North America was in 2005!
- I do not need somebody to offer me ideas for stories. I have TONS of ideas. The ideas are not the problem. At this particular moment, I have really strong, fleshed-out ideas for at least five novels in three genres. The problem is finding the time to write them all, not figuring out the stories.
- Harlequin, my romance publisher, does not tell me exactly what to write. They do have general guidelines for the various “lines” of books they publish. I happen to write for Blaze, which is their sexy line of short, contemporary romances. I know I need to write a book that’s about 60,000 words long, that is very sexy, and that has young’ish (20’s-30’s) usually American protagonists. That’s the full extent of what they tell me to do. Everything else is right out of my own imagination.
- Even though I write romance, I am fully capable of writing very dark, edgy stories. The presumption that I couldn’t really ticks me off. In fact, it ticked me off so much early in my career that it cost me an agent, who didn’t believe I had the ability to do anything except the light fluff I’d done so far. I think my three very dark suspense series prove that theory wrong.
- We do not just sit around all day, waiting for the “muse” to gift us with her presence and her words. The truth is, we work hard, probably more hours a week than the average person. We have deadlines and commitments and the work has to get done, whether we’re in the mood or not. And even if we’re not sitting a chair with our hands on a keyboard, we are plotting and planning stories in our heads.
A TOUGH DETECTIVE FACES THE CASE OF HER LIFE WHEN A CORPSE IS DISCOVERED IN THE WHITE HOUSE…
Detective Veronica Sloan isn’t shocked by much. But even she is stunned by the brutality of the crime that took place in the White House basement. This case is making waves throughout Washington, and when the killer targets Ronnie, she has to admit she needs the help of FBI Agent Jeremy Sykes.
Sloan and Sykes know the victim was a participant in a top-secret experiment. They’ve been training for just this kind of case, waiting to use their special skills, anxious to learn if a recording device implanted in a victim’s head can help solve their murder….before the killer strikes again.
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Genre - Thriller
Rating – R
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