I was going to wait until after the eclipse craziness to share this here, but I guess it’s going on all day, moving across the country. It’s almost over here in Oregon. It was cool.
ANYWAY, Today is the one year anniversary of the day One True Mate 1 was published!!! I want to share just a little bit about how this series came to be, and how it has changed my life. I was on a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Washington (this was when we lived in Idaho) in February of 2016 and was reading JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I think I was on book 2 or 3. I remember being BLOWN AWAY by her books and thinking to myself, “THIS WORKS IN ROMANCE?!?!?”
At that time, I had been writing romantic suspense, cops and firefighters and paramedics and military, because that’s what I knew best. (hubby was a cop, we both were army medics, I was a paramedic, police dispatcher, and a volunteer firefighter, but that was all a long time ago).
I didn’t grow up reading romance. I grew up reading horror. Stephen King, Dean Koontz type of books. I loved Harry Potter, too, of course, but after my first son was born, I stopped reading fiction for 10 years. I couldn’t read the horror anymore. It hurt my heart (I got really sensitive after he was born, couldn’t watch the news anymore, etc) and so I just stopped reading. It left a definite hole in my life.
Then I discovered romance. Fun! But I definitely gravitated to suspenseful romance. I read a few dark romances, but they werent’ my thing. Neither were the bad boy romances (I like my men to be sweet badasses) or contemporary romances or sweet romances. I liked romantic suspense and military romance so I started writing it (Edge of the Heat 1 was my first book, published January 21st, 2014. I was 41 years old and had a 1 year old baby)
I wrote Heat, Hide Me, Unauthorized, and had started on Kink. I was considering doing a kind of suspenseful BDSM series, had even started lightly plotting it. I was still casting around, looking for my THING.
So then I read JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood about badass vampires, my first PNR, and I was hooked. I knew I had found MY THING.
Looking back, I never once thought, “I wonder if I can do this.” I never once faltered or questioned myself. I knew I had been born to write PNR, now that I knew what it was. Anette King can probably tell you more about that time. I think I PMed her on the way home from Great Wolf Lodge and said, “I am going to write Black Dagger Brotherhood for Shifters!!” And she said, “Ok, let’s start brainstorming!”
The only thing was, I had never read a shifter book. So that’s where the babes in my group, Books, Babes, and Badasses came in. I asked them endless questions about PNR tropes, what they preferred, etc. Amanda Quiles went above and beyond, sending my pictures, telling me about the claiming bite, etc.
I started thinking about OTM in a very hazy way in February 2016, then started plotting in April, even though I was writing a Kink book, and really couldn’t take the time (income falls for indies if they go too long between releases). Sometime that summer, I started writing it.
It was a big deal. Biggest book I had ever tried to write. And well beyond my abilities. But I did my best. I put it on preorder, didn’t say much about it, but just kept working on it, then it came out on August 21st of 2016. And people liked it a LOT. Not everyone of course, but enough that I knew right away I had done something good.
Here were my personal rules that I started with:
1) there had to be a lot of single guys that worked together and would somehow be drawn to live together over the course of the story
2) they had to interact like the cops and firefighters and military I knew so well interacted – lots of teasing and friction but true camaraderie at the same time
3) once a woman showed up, they had to be sweet as pie to her and never even say a cross word to her. (LOL!!!! I wish my husband would read this)
4) they had to be true protectors and Alphas. Every one of them. Strong. Go-getters. Willing to protect anyone with their lives.
OTM1 was a huge success. OTM2 was even bigger, even though I don’t think the book is as strong. OTM3 did great, although I have seen series readership falloff there, I think because of the premise (He’s seen his fated mate die a hundred times, even though they’ve never met) OTM4, I started hitting my groove. OTM5, I did some experimentation and got a lot of great feedback on what worked and what didn’t. OTM6, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pull off turning Bruin, who had been kind of goofy up till then, into an alpha readers would love, but it’s had the most positive comments to date. You all love you a sweet as honey bear.
I learn more with every single book I write, how to be a better writer and plotter, how to turn a word or phrase into magic, and how to pluck heartstrings like guitar chords. The magic is in the story, and I try to make each story better than the last, up to my current ability.
Now I’m working on OTM7. Harlan. He’s got some shit to go through. As much as I love to hear reader feedback and act on it, the story still comes to me a certain way, and some of you are going to be holding your breath in a few of the upcoming books.
I promise you I will never kill off a main character (the hero or heroine). I promise you that you will always get a happy ending. Anything other than those two things, well, anything can happen.
So, here we are. OTM is doing well. Thriving. It has made me moderately wealthy to the point where I don’t have to think so much about the money, which is a boon for any author. Now I’m just in it for the story.
There will be 13 books. Then I might take some time off to experiment with some edgier stuff, and then head into OTM Legacy, which will be the story after the current story. I love these characters too <3 <3 <3 SOOOO, we are celebrating!!! This is Day 1 of the otm-aversary and I am giving away OTM1 and a swag bag. We will have 13 days of prizes, each with a different book and a different, bigger prize. Day 13 winner will receive EVERY GIFT from the celebration, and EVERY BOOK in the series. Click on the rafflecopter link and enter there. And thank you, dear readers, from the bottom of my heart. I love my readers. A bunch of fun, feisty, tell-it-like it is women who make me smile every day. Thank you also, to the photogs, the models, my fellow authors, my assistants, and my cover and swag designers. The book world really is the best world to live in.