Ah, but some risks are worth taking.
Like the one I took in early 2012, when I submitted a novel to a publisher for the first time in my life. That time I had encouragement from family and good friends, and from an author I really admire (thanks, Amy Lane! 🙂 ). I still worried. But Dreampinner sent me a contract for that novel, which was Good Bones, and here I am today.
Here I am today, July 18, with my 15th novel releasing! Staged has been a risk, too.
I had read Anchored and Counterpunch, novels set in an alternate universe much like our own–but where slavery is legal. I really enjoyed both books. And then a plot bunny from that universe hopped right up to me and bonked me on the head. Hard.
I emailed Rachel Haimowitz (the publisher at Riptide and the author of Anchored) and asked whether I could try writing a book in her ‘verse. She very kindly said yes. And this was my first risk, because if she didn’t like the book, I wouldn’t be able to publish it elsewhere. There would go several months of my work, down the drain. But that plot bunny was in cahoots with my muse, and they were very insistent. So I wrote.
I had a wonderful time writing this book. And that risk paid off in the end because Rachel liked the book and sent me a contract. Yay!
But now we come to the second risky aspect. Staged deals with darker subjects than most of my books. Sky Blue, the protagonist, is a slave. Some really bad things happen to him. They were difficult to write about and, for some people, might be hard to read about. What if I scare readers away?
Here’s what I can promise you about the dark stuff. It’s there because it has to be. I don’t dwell on it more than necessary. And the characters’ reactions to that stuff are genuine and, I think, realistic. There is romance in this story, albeit an unusual one, and an HFN ending.
Why did I write this? Because as an author, I have to write the stories that come to me. Sometimes that means sweetness and light. Sometimes–and yes, I’m looking at you, Tin Box–those stories are difficult in parts.
My hope is that readers take a chance too, maybe trying something a little different, and that in the end you find that the risk pays off with a good story and memorable characters.
And there’s a blog tour with exclusive posts and a giveaway. Click on the banner or scroll down for the complete schedule.
(Incidentally, this book is a standalone, so you don’t need to read the other books in the ‘verse to understand it. But I encourage you to read them anyway because they’re really enjoyable.)
Buy links for Staged:
Once the second-prize winner on My Slave’s Got Talent, Sky Blue has spent the past few years singing at a failing New York nightclub. While Sky has never had control over his fate, his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he’s torn from the familiar comfort of performing and sold to a rich and enigmatic man.
Morgan Wallace takes his newly purchased slave to San Francisco, his intentions unclear. On the one hand, he treats Sky with more kindness than Sky has ever known—treats him like a real person. On the other hand, he shares Sky at parties hosted by his sadistic new friends.
A confused slave is an endangered slave, and Sky isn’t even sure of his master’s real name. Is he Morgan Wallace, wealthy and cruel, or Mackenzie Webster, caring and compassionate? Caught between hope, fear, and an undeniably growing attachment, Sky struggles to untangle which parts are real and which are merely a performance. His future, his heart, and even his life may depend on it.
Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes:
Stops for this tour: