I have learned over the years that their is a purpose behind everything. Granted, I have been told that I am quite naive. My father taught me that if you want something you need to work hard for it. It may come; it may not—but at least if you give your best, you will have no regrets. It has been good advice.
I feel I have been forunate in my writing, but it has been a journey. Even though I knew at a young age I wanted to write, the opportunity didn’t present itself until much later in my life. It has taken me years to perfect my writing. I had been under the mistaken impression it would be easy to relay my thoughts to paper. How wrong I was. Writing didn’t come natural to me…but I worked at it.
My first book accepted by a publisher was Dreamwalker, now Dreamscape, back in 2008. Patriot Secrets followed in 2010. Both were published by a small publisher. I will always be grateful for Wild Child Publishing for accepting my books. I learned so much.
But from the moment I writing, my writing career has been filled with frustrating obstacles. From the countless rejections, I learned from the critisim…up to a point. There was a turning point where the rejections no longer helped my writing…when the rejections stopped pointing out issues with my writing, but that they really didn’t have room for my books…when I was told they couldn’t take a chance on my books because my sales with Wild Child weren’t that good. So I went about trying to increase my sales numbers which lead me to becoming an Indie writer.
On one of the blogs I was on at the time, we had a guest blogger. She came on and raved about being an Indie writer…with good reasoning. She had become a New York Times bestselling author. I paid attention and followed what she advised on her blog. I released the first book in Whispers of a Legend in the fall 2011…then on February 14, 2012, I released Daughter of Deceit under my penname Carrie James Haynes.
At this point in my writing career, I was in the middle of releasing a series with Whiskey Creek Press, Tides of Charleston. I was feeling pretty good. I placed Daughter Deceit into Amazon Select program. On its free days, it shot up to #4 in Kindle and then when it fell off of free, I made more in the three days than I had in my whole writing career up to that point. Then I got slammed with the one-star reviews…a time I would rather forget.
Never in my life did I ever dream I would have to defend my writing…my reputation…let me back up…I couldn’t defend myself because you weren’t allowed to back then. It’s changing now, but then I had two blogs set up against me—one person who spent a year out of her life devoted to destroying my writing career. She’s still there. She hasn’t gone anywhere. I got slammed with 25 one and two star reviews saying awful things about me personally and my writing. I never directly confronted my attackers. I was told not to, but that leaves you few options.
All the while this was happening, my new Indie writer group dropped me like a hot potato. The Indie author who ran the group told me not to question her business decision. That’s what it was a business decision. I can’t say that I blame her. I wouldn’t wish what happen to me on anyone. Just I’m not a business person. I think with my heart.
I have never felt so alone, except for my family. Oh, not all Indie authors turned their backs to me…far from it. I will never forgot those who supported me during that time. But it was a hard time…then my husband said, “Take it down. Start over.”
I couldn’t take down with my series, but with Daughter of Deceit, I did. I took it down and put it back up with a new title and a penname that my husband gave me, Colleen Connally. I changed everything an hour before we departed for Ireland for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. The other thing I did, I gave it away free.
Two years ago this June, Seductive Secrets under my penname Colleen Connally was released. By the time, the trolls figured out what I had done, I had enough good reviews that their reviews didn’t hurt as much. Not that my trolls disappeared…no, the bad reviews are there front and center, but so are 341 FIVE-STAR REVIEWS on Amazon. I stopped counting the downloads after it hit 300,000.
Today, Seductive Secrets is no longer a free read. It’s time.
I believe in going forward. I’m not looking back and question why this book got hit so bad with the trolls or why they insist on hitting my books negatively.
I’m proud of this book. I believe its a refreshing and original story. It’s the first book in the Secret Lives Series. The second book, Broken Legacy, has been a #1 Amazon historical romance and is a finalist for the Readers’ Crown Award for historical this year. Seductive Lies has consistently been in the top #100 in gothic romances.
Because of Seductive Secrets, I have also been able to give back to my community. Under Colleen Connally, I am a portion of my royalities of Fragmented (also a Readers’ Crown finalist for Romantic Suspense), Book One Boston’s Crimes of Passion to The One Fund. Next month, I’m proud to say I will go over giving $1000 to The One Fund.
I’m making different moves with my books. I wish all I had to do was write, but to sell books you have to make decisions. One of the things I like about being an Indie, nothing is written in stone. I’m able to make the moves I feel I need to sell my books.
I have just released Book 4 in the Winds of Betrayal Series, The Heavens Shall Fall. The next books coming out will be under Jerri Hines. Book 5 Winds of Betrayal Series, Set Fire to the Rain, should be out late next year. During 2015, I will be getting my rights back to the Tides of Charleston. (Look for the series to be revised and republished as an Indie.)
I am in the middle of revising a book I wrote years ago, Whisperings of a Southern Heart, set during the Civil War. I have revamped the book into a series, Southern Legacy, with the first book, Belle of Charleston, due out later this year followed by Shadows of Magnolias and Born to Be Brothers. Whereas Winds of Betrayal is historical fiction, this series is a pure romance, but I kept it under my name Jerri Hines because it is set in America…yes the main setting is Charleston. I couldn’t help it…love that city.
Today, though, my focus is back on Seductive Secrets. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
It’s a good day!
Don’t forget to enter to win a signed copy of THE HEAVENS SHALL FALL over on Goodreads!