I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but it’s true. Writing the Crime Lord Series changed my life. As I pack my luggage and tape up the last of my boxes, I find myself reflecting on how much my life has changed since publishing the Crime Lord Series. Maybe it’s the passing of my girl or the fact that I’m moving back to the mainland and leaving the safety of home that makes me realize that there’s no going backwards, only forward.
I wrote 12+ books in contemporary romance, YA fantasy and paranormal romance. I had little blips of interest that quickly died away. I couldn’t live off of it, not by a long shot. I worked three 6 month contracts at a corporation who told me I was perfect for the job and had excellent potential. They gave me everything I wanted- my own office, part-time schedule and offered trips to France and San Francisco to entice me into accepting future roles in the company. I should have been ecstatic. I wasn’t. I had daily migraines, dreaded going into work and was all around miserable. The office politics, strict environment and unrelenting workload threatened to consume me. During my third contract at this corporation, my best friend died at twenty-seven, snapping me out of my work induced daze. I realized how fragile and precious life is and I quit less than a month later. I had enough money to write for 3 months before I had to find another job. Everyone thought I was nuts, but I decided that a job at McDonalds was better than having a healthy savings account if I was happier and I could write.
Earlier in the year, between contracts, I was in a slump and decided to write something dark and a bit taboo. I started a romance with a heroine who was attracted to a much older man who was also her boss. At the end of book 1 the heroine’s ex (Gavin) enters the picture and blackmails her into returning to him. Book 2 is supposed to show her past life in Las Vegas with this mobster guy who used to be the love of her life before she found out what he did for a living and cheated on her. I began book 2 with Gavin and wasn’t concerned that he was a ruthless ass because she wasn’t supposed to stay with him. Book 2 poured onto the page. Carmen, Manny, Vinny and the whole underworld was just there. It was like they’d been waiting for me to pay attention so I could tell their story. Halfway through book 2 I realized Lyla wasn’t going to leave Gavin for her silver fox. It took me 2 days to decide to scrap the silver fox idea and give Lyla and Gavin their own series, which became the Crime Lord Series.
Fast forward to me quitting my job. I had Crime Lord’s Captive and Recaptured by the Crime Lord written and began the revision process. I had no expectations for these books. After all, none of my other stuff had taken off and I was starting from scratch. On top of that, the story was uncomfortably real, gritty and brutal. I’d never written anything in this genre and didn’t think there was an audience for a story like this. I didn’t dare tell my conservative family about these books. They would have crucified me on the spot. I published the book without telling a soul and searched for the next thing to write, but something miraculous happened. People bought Crime Lord’s Captive. Positive reviews appeared. Hate mail poured in. I was in turns, crushed and elated as I watched people react to the story.
September makes a year since I published Crime Lord’s Captive and I haven’t gone to look for a day job. The positive feedback from the fans made me realize that it’s okay to be yourself. Writing the Crime Lord Series, it was the first time I was completely honest and held nothing back. I was always conscious of the fact that someone I knew could read my work so I modified the stories and didn’t allow myself or the characters be who we truly are in all our gory glory. I didn’t allow myself to become immersed in the world because I was afraid people wouldn’t accept me. With the Crime Lord Series, I had no choice. I’ve only been this enmeshed in one other series to this extent. I grieved Manny’s passing for days and scared myself with the disturbing scenes that appeared on the screen.
The Crime Lord Series has brought together a community of amazing, enthusiastic readers who I am honored to have join me on this ride. You’ve made it possible for me to move back to the mainland and create for a living. I’m hoping this move will electrify my imagination and give me the opportunity to bang out the stories you’ve been clamoring for.
Thank you for giving the Crime Lord Series a chance and allowing me to live my dream. I couldn’t do this without you.