Ash & Rae have gotten a makeover

Writing a book is a very intense process. You pull words and emotions out of yourself that maybe weren’t there before. You inhabit your characters’ souls, and delve into their biggest fears and desires. As if that wasn’t hard enough, once you’re done you have to pick a cover and a short blurb that encapsulates your story and makes people want to buy it*. And here’s an ugly truth most people won’t tell you: sometimes this part is much, much harder than actually writing the book. In fact, I think it’s the part I am least successful at.

Case in point: the book previously known as ASHES TO ASHES.

You may have seen me do a huge push for it this summer. I had a number of book bloggers sign up to review it — and they loved it — but none of those reviews helped with sales. In fact, Ash and Rae have been nearly dead in the water since then … and that hurt.

I begrudgingly acknowledged it was time to do some soul searching and additional market research. What that research told me was that the title didn’t help people understand what the story was about. ASHES TO ASHES said nothing about the words within. In my head, this is the story of a woman burning everything to the ground and then rising above to find love. Appropriately, with a man named Ash. I thought the title was clever. Buyers? Not so much.

In fact, I ran a focus group last month and almost unanimously no one realized it was a bodyguard romance. People told me they loved Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner’s The Bodyguard and if they’d known this had a bit of the same feel, they would have gobbled it up immediately. They also told me that it needed to be in Kindle Unlimited, because that’s how they test the waters for an author they’re not familiar with.

Taking all of this into consideration, I set out to give Ash and Rae and makeover. And I think what I’ve come up with hits the nail on the proverbial head. Hopefully you agree and will love this story as much as I do.

PROTECT ME
A Bodyguard Romance

PROTECT_ME.jpg

He was the mistake I never forgot. Now my life depends on him.

When an obsessed fan takes things too far, my team calls in the big guns for my protection. There’s just one catch: the bodyguard assigned to protect me is the one man from my dark past that I never forgot. Now we’re on the run and all I want is to forget about the danger I’m in. To lose myself in Ash’s strong, capable arms. 

I told myself it was only sex, but I’ve done the unthinkable and fallen in love with a man I can’t have. I should walk away before it’s too late, but I’m hooked. And now it's not just my life that needs protecting—it’s also my heart. 


* While the I love the process of writing, this is also a business for me, and in order for it to stay one, I need people to pay me for my words. Art and commerce have long been linked, so I don’t think it’s speaking out of turn to talk about this side of the industry. Yes, a lot of us write for the love of it. But we also enjoy getting paid too.

A Tanya & Aidan Update (Dublin Rugby #5)

I've been asked a lot about Tanya and Aidan lately and when their story is coming, so I thought I'd take a moment to give a public update.

If you've read RUCK ME, you know their back story. If you've read BREAK DOWN, you know their current situation. 

baby.jpg

If you haven't read either book, you should probably click out of this post now.

.

.

.

.

(Spoilers commencing in 3, 2, 1 ...)

I had every intention of writing Tanya and Aidan's story. I had the best happily-ever-after planned for them. They both deserve it.

And then two Irish rugby players were accused of raping a girl they met at the bar hours earlier. I'd cheered for those guys. They weren't my favorite players in the world, but I happily clapped, stomped, and screamed when they played well. And as you can imagine, I was disgusted by the details that emerged from the trial -- not just of these two guys, but of some of their fellow teammates -- and I knew I couldn't work on that book. I was too heartbroken.

So I tabled WING IT until my heart didn't hurt quite so much. But that day never came. Even now, sitting here writing this update, my hands are shaking with rage over what that girl endured, how she was vilified in the public, and how those scumbags got away with rape because they're famous white boys.

It's a story as old as time. 

I want to give Tanya and Aidan the ending they deserve. Really, I do.

But I can't.

As authors we pour our hearts and souls into our characters -- into our stories -- and my heart can't handle this right now. Especially when the likelihood of people buying this book is slim-to-none. I won't lie to you. With each successive release of the rugby series, my sales get lower and lower. Poor Donal and Liam. I know the world tells you it's crass to talk about money, but this is my job. I need to sell books. I will happily break open my chest and pass my bloody, beating heart to my readers ... if it is going to be worth it. And living in a state of perpetual heartbreak while I get this book out only to lose money just isn't worth it.

I may come back to Aidan and Tanya someday. I've toyed with making it a short newsletter exclusive. I may still do that someday. Alas, that day is not now.

I hope fans who loved my writing in this world will stick with me as I explore new love stories, and new couples, and create new worlds.