Trying to turn my backlist blues into something wonderful.

This past week, I did something that scared me.

I asked for the rights back to my older books. 16 in total. My shifter series, my selkie series and a few standalones. I now have to decide what to do with them.

Right now, I’m trying to stay open-minded. I’m exploring the world of self-publishing for some of the books, and I hope to submit others to different publishers. Either way, asking for the rights back left me in a tailspin. Because no matter what I decide, I’m left with the possibility that some of those books won’t see the light of day again.

As I’ve shared here before, 2019 was already a tough year in publishing for me. As a result, asking for my rights back on these olders books felt like a sucker punch, even though I initiated this change. I want to be clear, I didn’t ask for the rights back because of anything the publisher of those books did. It was just time for a change.

But now, quite frankly, I’m having to work through my fear, and that’s not easy. I find it difficult to be creative when stressed. Still, I’m trying to look at this positively. It could be the start of something good. In fact, I want to rework some of the stories and make them stronger. As writers, we are in this amazing position to learn as we go along, so I welcome the opportunity to fix little issues in my first books. However, this is a massive undertaking and I know I won’t be able to tackle them all at once.

It’s been hard. This past week, I’ve felt less like an author than I did since day one. Imposter syndrome hit me hard. My emotions have been all over the place.  Last year this time, I had won the Northern Hearts award for A Good Man. This year, I am a writer coping with extreme self-doubt. There are days when I feel as if very few people would notice if I decided to pack it in. I would just be one less writer in an overly-saturated field.

And yet it’s never been in my nature to quit, and I love those books. When I started writing, it was because I needed to hear certain stories, and those are the ones I wrote. I hope to rediscover that awe in writing again, that passion. Maybe I really can turn my backlist blues into something wonderful.

Either way, the books in question will likely become unavailable some time this month. I’m not sure when. I hope my readers will stay tuned and continue to follow my writing journey. And I hope to share some good news with you soon.

Thank you,

Rosanna

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Everything I know about HEA’s, I learned from Jon Bon Jovi. Sort of.

As a writer of romance, I never question the importance of the HEA, the “happily ever after.” It is the one rule to which writers of our genre must adhere. Don’t listen to the guys who tell you it’s not necessary. They’re not writing romance.

I’d be willing to bet most romance readers were pretty young when they realized the power of a good HEA. I don’t know about you, but I realized it from reading some of those tragic classics that still get pedaled as “romances.” Yeah, I’m looking at you, Romeo and Juliet. Do NOT fight Romancelandia on this. Romeo and Juliet is not a romance.

But it wasn’t just the classics. We see people slapping the romance label on all sorts of unhappy endings in pop culture too.

Allow me to present an example from my youth, one that still rings clear to me. The year was 1995. Bon Jovi had just released their single, “Always,” along with the very steamy video featuring actors Jack Noseworthy, Keri Russell, and one of my fave leading ladies, the talented Carla Gugino.

FYI, everyone in this video has a lot of hair. It was the ’90s.

I’m sure you’ve seen the video, so I doubt I’m spoiling the ending for you. Jack Noseworthy’s character, a cute hottie who looks like a little Jon Bon Jovi, is in love with Carla Gugino’s character. As Bon Jovi croons, he makes it clear these two are meant to be. They are madly in love, and we fall in love right along with them.

And then he cheats on her with her best friend Keri Russell. Really, Felicity? Et tu?

Understandably, Carla is distraught. She runs out and finds a hot painter dude. This guy likes to paint while half-nude, so it’s pretty much a no-brainer. They have sex, Carla feels guilty and calls Jack who ends up torching the painter’s place in a jealous rage.

This is not a healthy relationship, people! Definitely not HEA material.

Jack appears to realize the errors of his ways immediately, even though he doesn’t seem to be bothered by his tendency to employ arson as a coping mechanism (red flag! red flag!) He pines for Carla. He begs Carla to forgive him. But my girl Carla does not. I like to think she walks off into the sunset with painter dude. We don’t know for sure because the video ends there.

There are two conclusions to draw from this example.

One: this story is NOT a romance. If anything, I think of it as the precursor to Carla’s romance with the painter. I like to think they’ll have an HEA filled with hot sex and more topless painting.

Two: no one messes with Carla Gugino!!

Now, I was young when I first saw this video, and my first thought was, “This is so romantic! Little Bon Jovi’s pining for her! It’s like Romeo and Juliet!”

It wasn’t until I started reading proper romances that I realized how wrong I was. And when I say romance, I mean stories in which the main characters don’t cheat on each other, in which they stay together. In which no one commits arson. They should commit to each other. They should protect one another. They should try to make each other happy, not miserable. In other words, I learned the power of the HEA.

Of course, I’m being tongue-in-cheek with my Bon Jovi references, but I don’t think I’m wrong. It’s not a romance, but at the time, I bought it as a romance. A tragic romance, yes, but a romance nonetheless. And that’s exactly what people have tried to sell us with other examples like Romeo and Juliet, Cathy and Heathcliff, Tristan and Isolde, any book by Nicholas Sparks, Titanic, the Little Mermaid (H. C. Andersen version,) Gatsby and Daisy, West Side Story, Gone with the Wind. At some point, I’ve heard all of these stories referred to as romances. And then people usually babble on about how those stories “broke the mold” or “redefined the genre” or “elevated the genre.”

I call bullshit. They’re wrong, and everyone in Romancelandia knows it. And anyone who tries to package a tragedy as a romance is kidding themselves. In a romance, the main characters won’t die or commit unpardonable offences against each other. Sure, they will make mistakes. They might hurt each other in certain ways, but those sins have to be forgivable. The reader has to believe that set of protagonists has a healthy future.

So, I definitely learned about writing romance from reading wonderful romances, but I also learned about it from paying attention to stories that don’t end with an HEA. A romance won’t leave you feeling sad or hopeless at the end. It will inspire you. It will fill you with joy and with hope.

Now, I hope you will excuse me. I feel a sudden need to write Carla a real romance.

 

One step forward, two steps…somewhere?

The last time I posted here, I shared some of the struggles I’ve been having with my writing and the publishing world recently. It’s tough coming up with new material when setbacks, well, set you back. But I’ve been determined to muddle through and write something, write anything, quite frankly.

You may notice my Handymen series is no longer available. This has been the source of my disappointment. I can’t go into the reasons why it is no longer available, but suffice to say it was a huge blow to me. I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of a book as I was of A Good Man, and as you may recall, it won the Northern Hearts Contest in Contemporary Romance 2018.

However, when the brakes were put on that series, I had book 2 all ready to go, and was already plotting book 3. So, in effect, I have a series in limbo, and there are days when it simply eats away at me.

I know some of you will say, “Hey, just self-publish the series!” And I promise I have considered this option many times, but given the amount of time and energy I have to spend elsewhere on the day job and family commitments, I’ve come to the conclusion that self-publishing is not for me. It would be a tremendous learning curve first of all, and I just don’t think it’s something I can take on at this time.

So I’ve been submitting A Good Man again. It hasn’t been easy. There are only so many publishers who will touch a previously-published book, and I get that. Still, I’m hoping there is a good one out there who will recognize this award-winning book and series, and take a chance on me. In the meantime, I’ve been writing book 3 in the series, so that if a publisher does show interest, I can offer them a complete series.

It’s been hard. There are days when I struggle to find joy in the publishing world, and as happy as I am for friends who receive good book news, I am also ready for some of my own. Last year this time, I felt like I was on top of the world. Now? Not so much. I want readers to find my books, and especially this series. It’s warm and full of love and passionate HEAs. I’m still seeing good reviews coming in for A Good Man, even though it no longer has a platform. That tells me the story meant something to other people too.

At least the writing has been going better than it did for a long time. Thus, my one step forward. I just wish I didn’t have to write under the shadow of an uncertain publishing future.

 

 

Where have I been? Where am I going?

For those who follow my blog, you may notice it’s been a while since I shared anything. The fact is I haven’t written anything substantial for a few weeks. Mostly, it’s because my day job has been hectic and I’ve taken on extra hours, which I’ve really enjoyed. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in my writing head, and it’s nice to sometimes get wrapped up in something else every so often. And hey, as a result of those extra hours, I was one of a team of people who catalogued over 13,000 new items for a new library in our system! How cool is that?

However, my writing hiatus began before that. I had to deal with some changes on the publishing front and those changes threw me for a loop. I usually roll with the punches but this time I got overwhelmed. It was hard to write through my disappointment. Luckily, there were some wonderful people who talked me off my ledge.

When I did write during that time, I didn’t like what I wrote. I started about four new books in the space of a few weeks, and abandoned them all. I’m not being dramatic when I say this has probably been the darkest moment of my writing career, thus far anyway. It was hard, and my creativity was zapped.

I’ve always believed things happen for a reason, and I won’t stop believing it. So, I stopped writing and threw myself into my other work. There’s been a lot happening on the family front, as well. But now, I can see some time opening up in the near future, and I know it’s time to start writing again.

I’m a little scared, I won’t lie. There’s a part of me that worries I’ve forgotten everything I learned along the way, even though I know that isn’t true. However, maybe that fear is good. Maybe it’ll push me in new directions.

If I am quiet going forward, rest assured, I am still here and am still dreaming up new characters and stories. My hope is to finish the book in front of me, and then move onto a brand new series. It might take a while, but I’ve decided it’ll take as much time as it requires.

Thanks to all who have read my work. Your support gets me through those days when I lose sight of what I’ve accomplished.

If you are new to my blog, welcome! Please check out my work here.

Have a wonderful summer!

xoxo Rosanna

Vice, Vegas Sins 1, is now on sale!

Sale news is always exciting, and I’m thrilled to share some of my own.

Vice, Vegas Sins 1, is now on sale for $0.99…but only for a limited time, so don’t wait! Grab your copy here.

Las Vegas has it all—casinos, gambling, money, and women. For a handsome business entrepreneur, it’s paradise.

Wearing success like a well-tailored suit, it’s business as usual for Liam Doyle while he runs his multi-million-dollar empire…until a pesky protester catches his attention.

Staging a one-woman demonstration, Kate Callender has the potential to be a huge pain in his ass. If he doesn’t take care of her soon, there will be bad publicity slapped all over Vice, the newest addition to his chain of casinos.

But there’s one tiny problem Liam didn’t count on—the feisty redhead isn’t about to go down easily. She’s fighting him every step of the way…and he’s starting to like it.

I hope you enjoy it! If you do, please consider leaving a short review on Amazon or Bookbub. It would mean a lot to me.

Have fun with Liam and Kate!

Sexing Up the Spy by Tina Holland @haveubeenaughty.

A warm welcome to Tina Holland, as she shares her latest romance, Sexing Up The Spy!

***

Title: Sexing Up The Spy.

Series:  Caulfield Cowboys Prequel

Author:  Tina Holland

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy

Release Date:  April 2, 2019

Blurb:

Lexi Andrews keeps her erotic writing a secret but she’ll gladly risk exposure for the chance to work with “Killer” spy creator Jake Stone. While Jake is hesitant to work with anyone, he’ll meet Lexi to appease his female fans. They hatch a plan to rehearse the love scenes and give Jake’s novel realism.

But what starts out as an experiment soon takes on a life of its own. Jake’s deadline doesn’t seem as pressing as Lexi’s lovely body. Can Jake and Lexi keep their hands off each other long enough to “Sex up the Spy”?

Excerpt:

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

DING-DONG! DING-DONG!

“Lexi, are you in there!”

A muffled voice came through her dreams. Lexi’s head screamed and she was

damn uncomfortable, “Go away,” Who was at the door this late? Sounded like Jake,

“Jake, come back tomorrow!” She shouted back. Lexi rolled over. The sun blinded her.

Oh, crap! Sunlight!

She shot up like a springboard.

“I’ll be right there!” She fell to the floor with a loud thud trying to run to the door.

While she slept, Lexi’s usual thrashing tangled her up in the afghan. “Are you okay?”

Jake called from the other side.

“Fine.” She started to pull the afghan off her feet, but the knots were stuck through

her fishnets. Great, just great. She managed to raise herself up and shuffle to the door

like a penguin. She threw the door open, but the action propelled her forward. Lexi lost

her balance and collapsed once again.

*

Jake looked down at Lexi sprawled on the floor, “Are you alright?” he lowered

himself to help Lexi get to her feet.

“Sorry, I’m all tangled. The knots of the afghan got caught up in my fishnets.”

“Why are you still wearing last night’s clothes?”

Lexi turned red, “I wanted to get some cleaning done before you came over. Guess I

fell asleep.” She teetered forward, while motioning her hand around the house. Jake

caught her along her back and under her knees, lifting her against his chest.

“Where do you want to go?”

“The bedroom.”

“Lexi, I do love your line of thought.” He winked at her.

“I need to shower and change, of course,” she hit his chest playfully, “Go that way,”

Lexi pointed to the opposite wall. Jake started in the direction, “Turn right.”

Jake took in the surroundings of the room, soft green walls, dark brown wood

furniture, and sheer off-white curtains. It suited Lexi and more to the point, him. He could

seduce her in this room. At least it wasn’t pink with stuffed animals everywhere. He

shuddered remembering his first time with his high-school sweetheart, Fran Something.

Jake never was good at names.

“Do you need anything else?” Jake asked with anticipation, depositing Lexi on the

bed.

“I don’t think so.”

“Alright, I’ll go wait in the living room.”

“Okay.”

Jake no sooner closed the door than a loud THUMP came from the other side of it,

“Are you okay?” he peeked back into Lexi’s bedroom.

Lexi was face-first on the floor trying to get back up. She looked like a bright

caterpillar inching its way along the wooden floor. “It seems I need help taking off these

stockings,” she said, without even looking up.

Jake smiled wide. “My pleasure.” He helped Lexi back up onto the bed and looked

into her sea-green eyes. She seemed to stare at him mesmerized, mouth agape. Lexi

darted her pink tongue out to lick her lips. Jake let out a guttural exhale.

“The afghan,” she spoke at last.

“Of course.” Jake looked down at her black stockings and wondered how to

accomplish the task at hand without seducing Lexi. Why not seduce her? It was good

practice, and really, what was the worst that could happen? She might say ‘no’. Jake

could live with a ‘no’. He wondered if he would regret not touching her.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Sexing-Up-Spy-Prequel-Caulfield-ebook/dp/B07NRWFW33

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131032063

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/sexing-up-the-spy-1

About the Author:  Tina Holland was born in Frankfurt, Germany and is now settled in the Red River Valley of North Dakota.  She lives on a hobby farm and enjoys horseback riding, camping, traveling, and reading books by her favorite authors.

Tina has been published since 2005 and continues to pen new stories for her readers.  She is a member of RWA, Writers Zen Garden, and the F-M Word Weavers.

 

Author Social Links:

Website – http://www.tinaholland.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/author.tina.holland/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/haveubeenaughty

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/tina_holland

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/haveubeenaughty/

 

 

 

 

Shepherds and Lambs by @rosereywriter.

Some time ago, author Rosemary Rey asked me to beta read her new book, Shepherds and Lambs. Folks, I am so glad I did. Even though I read an early copy, I was riveted. Rosemary has spun such an engaging read, and I just had to invite her to share it here on my blog.

I urge you to grab a copy of this exciting romantic suspense today!

Shepherds and Lambs by Rosemary Rey

 Dr. Grace Shepherd is living her best life as a professor at a small liberal arts college in rural Maine where she teaches students the sexual values and mores of societies, while also running a micro-farm. But when FBI Agent Andrew Wolff shows up to investigate the poisoning of her estranged cult-leader father, High Shepherd Collin A. Shepherd, everything Grace has done to shake off her toxic past goes up in smoke.

Now, Grace must return to her father’s home in Northern California—the Glen, residence to devotees of a centuries’ old sex cult—to help Agent Wolff gain access to the estate in order to solve her father’s murder, and hopefully discover a well-hidden secret from her own past. Unfortunately, access isn’t so easy to come by, particularly when Grace meets the sexy interim High Shepherd, Cordero Monteverde, and learns her father left her the entire Glen estate and a promise to reveal the answer to the twenty-eight-year family secret, under one condition. She must submit to Cord and the rules of the Glen.

Grace can either play the part of a Lamb to Cord’s sexually intense Shepherd, and acquire the information that will reveal her own identity and place in the world, or get in bed—literally—with Wolff in order to investigate her father’s murder, bringing her closure and the chance to return to her old life. Torn between two men, Grace must decide if her own thirst for answers is reason enough to maintain the secrets of the Glen or if it’s time to let her father’s legacy go once and for all.

If you like Romantic Suspense, Shepherds and Lambs can be found on:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Us8Haw

iTunes: https://apple.co/2uCLeoK

B&N: https://bit.ly/2uBXFkB

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2CRP6Xn

SWs: https://bit.ly/2I5QskL

 For US readers, there’s a Goodreads giveaway until April 15, 2019, for a chance to win one out of ten eBooks of Shepherds and Lambs: https://bit.ly/2OG0JFA

At ten-years-old Rosemary Rey never imagined that setting a heavy Smith-Corona typewriter on her lap to type out short stories, smudging black typewriter ribbon ink on her small fingers, would be the start of her writing career. After rediscovering Romance, Erotica, and Contemporary Women’s Fiction, she left her law practice in 2013 to write her first Romantic Suspense novel before turning forty. Her first book, Rebound, became the first book in her Pentagon Group series. Her favorite story lines contain plot twists and cliffhangers. When she’s not writing, she’s watching sports, Hallmark Romance and Movies and Mysteries films on repeat, and The Golden Girls before drifting off to sleep; she hopes to be as sexy and alluring as Blanche in her second half of life. Rosemary Rey lives in the Midwest with her husband and three children.

You can find Rosemary Rey:

Website: www.rosemaryrey.com

email: rosemary.rey.writer@gmail.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosereywriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rosemaryreywriter

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rosemary-rey

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8294728.Rosemary_Rey

 Thank you and Happy Reading.