A little over a week ago, I was riding Cloud 9, because, after a year of hard work of pushing Desire After Dark, me and my fellow authors in this anthology, were well situated to make the USAT list with over 5000 preorders.
The USAT list is a weekly list that puts out the top 150 selling books in the US. To hit the low end of the list, general wisdom suggests around 5000 sales.
So you can imagine how thrilled we were, and excited, for the book to release last Tuesday.
Well, it released on Apple and Barnes and Noble, but Amazon (where the bulk of our preorders were located) GLITCHED and failed to publish the book.
I felt complete and utter devastation, just really this gut-churning overwhelming sense of defeat.
All that work…a year's worth of pushing…for nothing.
We agonized all day Tuesday…Wednesday…Thursday as Amazon said they were ‘fixing' the problem.
(FYI: USAT counts sales from Monday to Sunday…so the clock was ticking.)
The authors talked, and we made the heartbreaking decision to pull the original book and republish it, losing all those preorders, and attempt to accomplish in THREE days, what we'd done in over a year.
Talk about knuckling under, calling in favors, begging, pleading…
It was rough.
And you came through for me, and for the other authors in the set.
In three days we sold over 7500 copies!!!
OMG…I could not believe it.
It really does take a village and you are my village.
This is my sappy post, and I wanted to share something deeply personal with you.
This picture encompasses achieving a 10-year dream.
Each little bit of this picture symbolizes something special to me.
The bottle of champagne…I didn't buy it for this reletase.
That bottle of BRUT? I bought it when I released my first Indie Book, Heart’s Insanity. You may notice it was never opened. Which is kind of sad when I look back on it. I bought that bottle to CELEBRATE publishing my first book. That’s something to celebrate, but the day the book published, other things were happening. Jet and I put off celebrating to the next day, and then the next, and then the next. Days turned to weeks, as that bottle just sat in the fridge.
We bought a house and sold a house, and when moving all our things to the new house, that unopened bottle came with us. I’d look at it now and then, always remembering how it’s the bottle I never opened, the milestone never celebrated. I should’ve opened it that day, way back when. I shouldn’t have postponed the celebration. After weeks, months, and years pass (Heart’s Insanity was published in 2016!) that bottle started to represent something else to me.
It represented a failure of sorts. Failure to be present in the moment. Failure to celebrate wins. Failure to share success with others. I kind of became this weird anchor weighing me down.
A bottle of champagne.
Isn’t that funny?
So when I hit #80 on the USA Today Bestselling author list, the first thing I did when I got home was to grab that lonely, unopened bottle of champagne. We were going to celebrate.
But then Jet said…WAIT! We need a picture.
So we took a picture of the bottle.
But then, I wanted to stage it, and I went for the champagne flutes. In getting those, I came across the MCCS (Marine Corps Camp Services) engraved glasses we brought home from Okinawa, and I thought THESE need to be in the picture.
Because my writing journey began in Okinawa. We loved the six years we spent in Okinawa and I would go back in a heartbeat if I could. It was truly the best six years of my time with Jet and the boys. I was an Air Force officer, living on a Marine base, working in a Navy hospital, with special forces friends all around me. I mean, it doesn't get better than that.
The ONLY reason I became an author is because Thing I, my new Space Force specialist son, came home with an English assignment. He had to write a descriptive paragraph about a girl looking out over a cliff.
AND THAT WAS IMPOSSIBLE! (his words)
So we sat down and I told him don’t worry about writing the paragraph. What do you think that girl is looking at? And he told me. Then I asked him, what is she wearing? And he told me. I asked if it was day or night? Cold or hot? What did she see when looking over that cliff? Was there wind, or was the air still?
We created this world between us and once he imagined what was happening, he wrote his descriptive paragraph. He got an A on that assignment.
The next day, he asked me, so what comes next?
I was like, what do you mean?
For the girl? What comes next?..he said.
And it was like getting struck by lightning. My very first book came out of that one assignment. It’s called Calagonia, a young adult science fiction novel, that’s never been published.
Calagonia launched my journey into writing.
I then wrote another young adult science fiction novel, Vendel Rising, which had romantic elements.
And I knew my writing needed help. With the help of the internet, I joined an online critique group and learned the mechanics and art of writing and story telling.
I wrote The Princess Murders, which became Twist of Fate, which became Rescuing Melissa (as you know the story now).
Then I wrote more…the Angel Fire series was formed, then more stories came after that.
In that picture, I’m toasting with Jet…THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART!
He always encouraged me to write, even when my stories weren’t his cup of tea. When I turned to romance, he turned away for a time. Not that he didn’t like the stories, he’s read everyone, but it—again—wasn’t his cup of tea.
He got more involved. When I needed to talk through a plot point, he’d brainstorm with me. Brainstorming turned to plotting. Plotting turned into our first co-created series THE ONE I WANT. He envisioned, plotted, and helped form that entire series.
Saving Abby is the story included in the Desire After Dark anthology. I wrote the novella, Finding Peace, years ago, and it never felt complete to me, or to readers like you. So I took Finding Peace (20 thousand word novella) and tripled its size, fleshed out the story, and WOW, I love SAVING ABBY far better than its anemic start as Finding Peace.
All this is to say, I didn’t become a USA Today Bestselling Author alone. I did it with the best person I know, the man I love, the man who is the other piece of me. The man I met and married in less than four months.
If you wonder how, or why, most of my characters fall in love in the span of days or weeks, it’s because of Jet. I knew he was my one the first day we met.
Love at First Sight, I’m a believer, and I’m thrilled to be on this crazy author journey with him by my side.
So the bottle of champagne is to remind me to celebrate all the wins. Small, medium, or large…CELEBRATE your wins.
The MCCS (Marine Corps Camp Services) Okinawa is where my writing journey began.
Jet…what can I say? Without him, none of this would be possible.
And then there's you, the most important part. Writing stories is no fun without the ability to share them with others. To join you in escaping this world by diving into another one is a tremendous gift.
So, I wanted to thank YOU. Without you, my dream would not have been possible. AND I can't wait to see where we go from here!