Category Archives: Shifter Woods: Growl

Sphincter…Relaxing…

My Amazon KU sales are continuing to pick up, thank Cthulhu, so clearly I did the right thing by turning the automatic renewal back on for the bulk of my titles. Still, I’m going to be significantly short this month on expected income, which kind of blows because I would really like to take Ramón to Sarasota for a weekend sometime in April and I need sweet, sweet publishing income for that. Even if I published two new titles next month I wouldn’t see that money until the end of April so obviously I need to kickstart the Shopify store and start selling signed print versions of my books with swag.

I need minions, I really do. Or a PA, but I can’t afford one right now so it’s all on me.

In the meantime I’m thisclose to finishing Shifter Woods: Claw and will get that out before the end of the month, and as soon as Shifter Woods: Growl finishes out its KU period in February I’ll release the Esposito County Shifters box sex on all platforms with Howl, Snarl, Growl, Claw, and Roar. Which reminds me, I got a very nice 4 star review for Growl last week and the reviewer didn’t understand why different sites had different numbering schemes. I had to explain that I’m not J.R. Ward and can’t mix MF stories with MM stories in a series and get consistent read-through (seriously, the moment I took out Roar and made it an associated novella my sales increased. Go figure).

To which the reviewer said, “Well, just so you know, I’ll read all kinds of combinations in a series.” Which warms my heart.

I also just remembered that I have to start designing the ECS box set cover. Must take a look at other paranormal romance box sets and see what’s currently in vogue, tra la.

And that’s it for 2022

Looking back at the year, I didn’t get nearly all of the books I wanted written, mainly due to unexpectedly getting a Total Knee Replacement mid-year, but I did start a new series with Crystal Shard, I added The Crimson and the Black to the Hidden Empire series, I finally finished Shifter Woods: Growl, my Why Choose novella A Theory of Crystal appeared in the charity anthology F*ck the Patriarchy: Getting Smutty for a Cause, and I’m thisclose to finishing the unintended fifth novella in the Esposito County Shifters series, Shifter Woods: Claw. That’s two full-length books and three novellas in a year where I spent a good six weeks recovering from surgery so I ain’t complaining. I plan on releasing Claw on January 6, 2023, at which point I’ll also put together an omnibus edition of all the Esposito County Shifters novellas.

I’ve also made more from writing this year than I have since 2016, which goes to prove that moving the bulk of my romances into Kindle Unlimited was a good choice. Of course now there are rumors that KU is going bye-bye so I may be returning to wide distribution in the near future, who knows.

BTW, the knee is doing really, really well. It still amazes me to be able to walk without limping.

So, what else is ahead for 2023? Firstly, I need to finish the rest of the Paladins of Crystal series—Crystal Blade will be finished and released by the end of January and after that will be Crystal Reflection, Crystal Citadel, and Crystal Empress. I have also promised that the last two (and long-awaited) books in my Olympic Cove series, High Tide and Hurricane Warning, will be released.

That’s six books. I will try to finish two more—Mage of Fire (Book Five in the Two Thrones series) and To Love a Wild Swan (Book Three in the Hidden Empire series). I have these books roughed out in my head (I’ve been doing a LOT of quilting this month and that is a great opportunity for me to tell myself stories) and I’ll be transferring that info to outlines next week.

But wait—there’s more! After a certain amount of nudging from people I will be starting a Patreon next month. Along with character interviews, Why I Wrote This pieces, and sneak peeks at books in progress, one of the things that patrons can expect will be a monthly short story set in one of my universes that will be exclusive to Patreon for the calendar year. No one will be able to read this story anywhere else, and at the end of the year I’ll publish all of the stories in a collection and dedicate it to my patrons. I’m also coming up with other bennies—there will definitely be levels for getting my new releases in ebook format, print format, and special hardcover format that come in book boxes with swag. Because I’m extra like that.

In closing, I hope you all have a safe, sane New Year’s Eve, and I look forward to entertaining you in 2023.

Musing

So Shifter Woods: Growl is out today and I made Shifter Woods: Howl free today to encourage read-through of the series. Growl was originally going to be Book 4, but I am not J.R. Ward and cannot combine MF and MM stories in the same series, apparently, so I wound up making Shifter Woods: Roar an associated novel.

Which leaves me on the horns of a dilemma. Since I moved Roar into the associated category I was musing about writing a fifth novella in the series and titling it Shifter Woods: Claw about Matt Parker, the wolf shifter Alpha for Esposito County and the head of Search and Rescue, who gets called out to investigate an abandoned car near MacComber and finds an female wolf shifter who can’t remember who she is or what she’s doing there. Of course hjinks ensue after that when Matt finds himself drawn to the beautiful female, only to find out that she’s brought trouble with her to Esposito County.

So I have a story. But for some reason this series just hasn’t sold very well, despite getting good reviews and brand-new, completely market-appropriate covers. I don’t know if the market is just saturated or my shifters aren’t feral enough for readers or what. So I’m wondering if I should just wrap it up as a trilogy plus associated novella and put it out as an omnibus. That way, I would actually have one completed series to my name and I wouldn’t have to worry about shoehorning Claw into the 2023 writing schedule.

I think I need to wait and see how well Growl does. If it sells briskly, I’ll write Claw and put off the omnibus until 2023. If it tanks, I’ll omnibus all four novellas and put it out sometime in December.

NaNoWriMo Day 14-23 (AKA I am a slacker)

Today’s Word Count: 440
Total Word Count: 36,505
Words to Go: 13,495

This is a tale of delayed gratification, long-held projects finally getting finished and started, and my NaNoWriMo word count.

So, first off—Vegas.

I didn’t go. That flight delay seems to have been divine intervention because by the time we were supposed to leave for the airport I felt dreadful and was hacking up a lung. Since I didn’t think any of the 20Booksto50K® attendees would appreciate me being there with some kind of respiratory infection I reluctantly stayed home. Felt fine by Wednesday, go figure.

Bally’s, by the way, was exceptionally kind about cancelling my room reservation so kudos to them. American … was a different story. We’ll leave it at that. And five days after 20Bt50K 2022 ended I’m hearing stories of a lot of people who came home with COVID and other respiratory junk (the hotel is renovating and tore up a lot of carpets which released all kind of schmutz into the air) so I’m going to think of my 3-day bug as a blessing in disguise.

But since I did have that weekend blocked off to write as well as attend a buttload of panels and learn lots of useful stuff, I finished Shifter Woods: Growl. Cue the triumphant march music. And yes, I know I was supposed to be working on Crystal Blade but this damned novella has been hanging over my head since 2018 and I just wanted it done and out the door. I decided to let it simmer over the weekend while I worked on Blade (and started sewing a quilt for one of my nieces who never got a baby quilt due to another project gumming up the production schedule), edit it Mon-Wed, send it off to the editor and the betas, finish the final polish on Monday and release it this upcoming Tuesday.

Silly me, I forgot that I’m not just a writer. I’m also a hospice nurse to an elderly, demented, and incontinent cat, not to mention the four other cats who also want my attention and a husband who would like to speak with me on occasion. So as of right now I’m halfway through Chapter Six of ten and have no idea if I’ll finish the editing tonight because I also have to make dinner, prep cucumber salad for tomorrow, prep the mountain of Brussels sprouts that will be divided between our dinner at my friend C’s and our mini T-Day dinner, and make the key lime pie that I wanted for dessert. And considering that I’d forgotten the light sour cream and sweetened condensed milk that I need for the pie and just braved the Thanksgiving Eve crowds at Walmart to pick it up, I’m gonna make the damned thing.

In between trying to figure out what JJ needs now, of course (bedding change? Fresh water? Treats?) and making my NaNo word count. Did I mention that I was also supposed to clean the front rooms so that we could put the tree up on Friday and finish fixing the slab of pavement in front of our house on Sunday? Ha. Hahahahahahaha…

People keep telling me that my list of chores exhausts them. I keep thinking, “Yeah, if I was really that busy I’d have 50 finished books, my house would be immaculate, and I’d be a size 2.”

Hello, August

I like it when months begin on a Monday—it feels orderly, somehow. And this is going to be a very busy first week of August pour moi.

1) I have to get ready for Armadillocon this weekend, which means researching the panels I’m on and making sure I have something intelligent to say on panel. It also means I need to get the car tuned up before Ramón and I drive down to Austin. (Don’t worry, our regular cat sitter will be staying here to wait on the J Crew hand and foot as always). I’ll be wearing my SF Writer hat this weekend and talking about TikTok, newsletters, and religion and nationalism in SFF.

2) I have to get Crystal Blade finished this week, and I’d really like to get Shifter Woods: Growl done and published to Amazon as well, seeing as it’s 75% done and I could get it wrapped up with a couple of good days.

3) I have to call up three companies and either cancel certain services or switch to a less expensive plan, plus I have to schedule the HVAC company to come back and install a float valve in the attic. So much fun.

4) I need to keep monitoring the currently running Amazon ads and add some more for the books that I didn’t get to last month. Seriously, I am so glad I took Bryan Cohen’s Author Ad Profit Challenge. It made a huge difference in my July sales, and I can’t wait to see how I do in August.