3. The Independence

There should have been more books after my second novel, Only His Kiss, was released in 1999. But three things came together that slowed my momentum.

First, I was involved in a traffic accident. In August 1998, I’d finished a book signing at Barnes & Noble and gone home to change clothes in order to ride my motorcycle to a friend’s house for a barbecue. I was stopped at a red light when I heard squealing tires. I checked my rear view mirror. Violent, the impact, and it won me a ride in an ambulance. I was treated and released from the emergency department of the hospital, but the soft tissue damage to my left hip altered my health forever.

Second, it was suggested that I change genres, from writing Christian romance to Christian women’s fiction. “Chick-lit” affords more publishing opportunities, and the writing is taken more seriously. I made a few attempts, but I couldn’t get excited about the stories.

Third, during my twenties, a couple of incidents got my attention that decades of reminders reinforced; I would do well to sit down and shut up. By the time I entered my forties, the pathway of indignation that should have incited me to stand up for myself was gone. So, when another activity — one that would steal away the time I should have spent writing — came along, I kept the peace and went along. Let’s not piss-off anybody.

I’d lost momentum. I stopped even trying to write. I was halted.

Then my Muse, Sparky, came to me with an idea about a woman who rides a motorcycle and grew up in an outlaw motorcycle club. I had a new agent, and he shopped it around to publishing houses, but it was too secular for the Christian market and too Christian for the secular market. He suggested I publish it myself. I released Spanky’s Secret in May 2022.

But now, I have a decision to make about the next book. Should I go the conventional route, through a royalty-paying publishing house, or should I continue to be my own publisher? A while back, my agent let me know he hadn’t given up on me, that he’d like to see any “work in progress.” But since then, he’s retired; even his agency’s website is gone from the Net. Though he could recommend me to another agent and agency.

For right now, I’m going to remain independent. Biker romance has a small readership, so the Deviant Few Motorcycle Club series isn’t likely to land me a publishing contract. And I enjoy the freedom that NOT writing on contract gives me; I set my own deadline, I don’t have a word count limit — meaning the book can be as many pages as the story requires — and the only content guidelines I have to follow are my own.

Though I will reveal something that was recently revealed to me — that I have one book that needs the distribution that only a publishing house can give it. Someone needs to write a novel that exposes domestic abuse for the insidious evil that it is. In a year or so, as soon as I finish and release the next biker romance book, I will be that someone.

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