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April snow better bring a damn warm May!

Happy Easter! I hope everyone is spending it with family. If you’re unable to be together, hopefully you’re at least getting some rest and relaxation in for today. I also really hope that the weather is warmer wherever you’re at in the world. It’s unseasonably cold in Minnesota with scattered snow showers, so the Easter Bunny likely froze his tail off while distributing this year’s treats. Now, it’s on to business. Keep on reading for updates on where things currently stand with various projects.

First up are the audiobooks for the Secrets and Lies series. I haven’t heard anything from the narrator and that’s with ACX trying to reach her several times as well over the last several weeks. I’ve terminated the contracts for Complicated and Concealed, which means I’m back to square one in finding a new narrator. To make matters even worse, Conflicted was released with Kodi as the narrator, so I must get her agreement to pull it down or wait SEVEN years before the terms of the contract are up.

I am lucky enough to have a few co-workers that are very skilled attorneys that I intend to talk to about the situation. ACX has been no help whatsoever in more ways than one so resolution to getting Conflicted removed from ACX and Audible will be solely up to me. My only hope is to be able to do that without breaking the bank, especially when I’m going to have change the audio budget AGAIN when analyzing what it will cost to get the Secrets and Lies series redone.

To say that I’m frustrated with the situation doesn’t even really cover it. Until I find someone who I believe isn’t going to burn me like Kodi Richardson has done, I’m perfectly content with waiting to extend any new offers to narrators for either series. I’ve had a lot of auditions come in over the course of the past month and a half for both series but given the nightmare of what Kodi put me through, I’m not about to jump into anything.

Putting the audiobooks on hold truly has broken my heart because I wanted all six books to be available in audio by now. I started working on making that happen last year at this time, so it’s very frustrating and disheartening to literally start all over because people can’t be true to their word. Like many times in the past with this book industry, I’ve been burned, but I won’t let it defeat me. It’s put a serious damper on my creative juices and overall engagement in the industry, but I’m slowly finding my way back and hope to get some words down soon.

I’ve never believed in forcing words for the sake of it or even forcing myself into a writing schedule because I always end up having to rewrite everything. As painful as it has been over the past two months to only write a few paragraphs here and there, focusing on my mental and physical health has been my top priority. Physically, I’ve been working with my doctor to treat some ongoing health problems. Mentally, I take one day at a time. Grief is a terrible beast and coping with the loss of someone important to you is one of the hardest things we face as humans.

If words don’t naturally flow for me, and I’m not in a good place, I don’t do any justice to my craft or characters. To many people, it may sound like a bunch of excuses, but it’s my current truth and I always stive to be honest with readers. I’m not a conventional writer nor do I claim to be. For everyone who continues to stick by me, I truly do appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. Your kindness and patience while you wait for my next book helps me get closer each day to getting back to it.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on the TikTok videos that encourage readers to read and return books. I’ve always been hesitant to jump on the TikTok bandwagon to get a video about my books to go viral for many reasons, but what's happened and what readers have done reminds me so much why I always find a reason never to make time for it. Whether it’s Insta, YouTube, FB, Twitter, or Pinterest, there’s a hack out there for people to cheat the system and steal a product and someone is more than happy to share the shit out of it. That's the world we’ve created and live in. I don’t condone it, but until we can start living by the golden rule of life, it’s not going to change. We can only try our hardest to get readers and book retailers to see the problem for what it is—STEALING—and correct course.

What I personally have done is stop giving away my paperbacks and hardcovers in giveaways in my group, on my author page, and takeovers. I’m sure it seems rather harsh, but I lose THOUSANDS of dollars every year when it comes to my books. Deciding to be less generous doesn’t seem all that terrible to me, especially when some people find stealing and pirating my books completely acceptable.

I’ve also made the tough decision to stop making the ebooks free or largely discounted for readers on all retailer platforms. All of them have returned to their original prices and I have no intention of changing them outside of small marketing stints here and there to lower them for a day. I’ve decided to cut those sales back drastically as well. Sadly, the more you give, the more people will take, and that’s always rang true. If there is one thing about this industry, it’s that you’re never done finding ways to promote your books or find new readers. My intention is to start looking into avenues that allow me to do so without discounting them any longer.

As a reminder when it comes to book signings, I’ll be at the Mall of America in Minnesota on August 6th for the Royal Readers Event. I’ve done this signing in the past and enjoyed it. I’m thrilled to do it again and to bring my bestie’s daughter as my assistant. She’s stoked to join me, and we hope to see you there! You can learn more about the event here → I am down for three signings in the summer and fall of 2023. I will share more about them as they grow closer.

Be sure to check out the online store. There are some fun bundles that are specific to the characters. You can also get signed copies of all the books in paperback and hardcover from there along with a lot of other goodies! I’m always open to suggestions of new things to create, so feel free to share your thoughts too!

Taming J is still with Monica and I’m anxiously waiting for her thoughts on it. I always give her as much time as she needs to work through my books. I don’t write short novels and to get them as close to perfection as possible, I’m always open to as much time as she needs to help me do so. As outlined above, there’s been a lot that has surfaced that has made working on Saving Us difficult. I’ll continue to do my best to get back to a better head space soon to be able to devout more time to it. On top of everything I’ve dealt with in the book industry, I’ve also frantically been looking for a new place to live. With the place I’m currently renting being sold soon, the clock is literally against me, so I really hope to find something soon. It will be a lot easier for me to focus and dedicate my whole heart to writing once I am able to remove that stressor in my life.

This is a longer blog post than usual. If you got this far, thank you for your time and continued support! YOU are why I keep writing and releasing books!


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