Because I Need To Say It — THANK YOU. YES, YOU! #family #readers #realitycheck

When a book comes out, there are always people to thank, most especially the readers. Right now, though, I want to write a post thanking my family. Though it’s unlikely they’ll even see this post, I want them to know that their acceptance, support, and enthusiastic cheerleading of my endeavors has meant the world to me.

I want to thank my mother for being amazingly supportive, for reading and for just being awesome about my books. She’s been absolutely amazing the last few months, even helping me brain storm plot problems. Love you, Momma!

I want to thank my husband for always saying I could make this writing thing work and for never giving up on me, even though he never actually reads my books. Thank you for believing in me without any evidence that you should!

I want to thank my mother-in-law for taking care of my kid and being as supportive as I allow her to be. True, I am not as forthcoming with her about my books as I am with the rest of my family, and despite knowing she’s being kept in the dark, she is still encouraging.

I want to thank my sister-in-law for reading my last book, taking me to lunch, and telling me why she loved it! I want to thank my brother who is, no doubt, bemused by what I write, and still tells me to keep on keeping on.

I want to thank my daughter for letting mommy write even when I’m sure she’d like my attention.

I want to thank my father for employing me and for making sure that I have the financial freedom to try to make my dreams come true. Without him I would be nothing, we would be nothing, and he truly is the wind beneath my wings. He doesn’t get the credit for that that he deserves. I do know, Daddy. I know. And I thank you for it.

I want to thank my readers, because you might not be my family, but you make the sacrifices and encouragement worth it. You are the people who buy the end product and I cannot possibly thank you enough for that.

I am such a lucky and loved person, and I feel that every day in so many ways. I needed to acknowledge it.


Know What the Book is About #writing

Reading reviews for Training Season has been a bemusing and fascinating experience. There is, of course, no way to please all the people all the time, and what one reader likes another reader hates. It’s wild to watch many people declare a character real, perfect, amazing and say they’ve fallen in love with him, and then to see another person declare that character boring, badly drawn, or unbearable. At this point, the positive outweighs the negative, and I’m hopeful it stays that way, but, as I said, it’s been a wild ride.

Given that Training Season was in, or hovered around the edges of, Amazon’s Top Ten Gay Romances for over two weeks in December, I think that I must have done something right along the way. And one thing that I’ve been mulling over during all of this hoopla is reader expectations and how they seem to play into the reception of the book. Some readers are disappointed that ranching or skating doesn’t take front and center, though most seem fine with how both things are presented. The thing is, I did a ton more research on ranching and skating than reveals itself in the book itself. And there’s a reason for that.

See, the book was never about those things. Sure, IĀ could’ve written a book about the ins and outs of figure skating, with a lot of competitions, and scenes of skating on the ice. I could’ve written a book about ranching, featuring thrilling moments of escaped or wounded cattle, encounters with dangerous wild animals, or life-or-death adventures on the range. Instead, I wrote a book about something else entirely.

I wrote a book about a romance and about a young man’s emotional growth. I suppose some readers who say this book is more of a coming of age novel, might have a point, though the romance being central definitely makes it a romance in my book. But the book was never about the world of figure skating, or the adventures of ranching. It was always about how a person falls in love, makes choices, processes loss and pain, and moves into a stronger, better place in his life.

There were points when I was writing when I felt like I could take the book in another direction, something more sports or more ranch, but when it came down to it, I realized the book I was really writing and stayed true to it. I think that’s part of why this book has been so surprisingly successful in the scheme of things. Not that readers don’t want books about sports or about ranching! But rather, I think readers want a story that it is told true all the way through, and if I’d wavered from the direction the characters originally set out in, I think the book would have been a failure.

Thank you to all the readers out there–every last one!–who have loved or hated it so far. Y’all are the best. Thank you for letting these characters into your life for even just a little while.

Training Season can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, and Smashwords. Coming soon to iBooks.