It’s hard to believe nine years have passed since my first book was published. In 2010 when a co-worker’s decision to quit her job and go to law school inadvertently pushed me to pursue my goal of being a romance writer, I never expected to have accomplished so much. Now, with more than twenty books published, I feel like a newbie and a tired veteran. Lol.
So much has changed in this industry over the years. I was so excited when I published my first book, You Can’t Plan Love, with the small indie press Crimson Romance. At the time, Crimson Romance was focused on publishing smart, sexy stories. I enjoyed writing for them, my editors were great, and the writing friends I made were supportive. When Crimson was ultimately purchased by Simon and Schuester and later shut down, I was sad to see them go. Thankfully, I’m still connected with many of the great people I met at Crimson and I had the opportunity to get the rights back for the seven books I wrote for them and re-publish myself.
The closing of Crimson wasn’t my first blow in this industry. I had to ultimately break with my first agent. By stepping away from an agent/author relationship that wasn’t beneficial to me I was able to sign with my current agent, Tricia Skinner, who has been my biggest cheerleader. Where I once questioned my writing abilities, I now have someone in my corner who not only wants me to succeed but is open to squealing over KPop groups via text messages and phone calls as well.
I was devastated when Harlequin’s Kimani Romance line closed. I wrote seven books with Kimani. Writing for Kimani allowed me to see my books on the store shelves for the first time. Something that is still surreal. But, when one door closes another opens—cliche I know, but hey it works. After writing my last book for Kimani, I wondered what would be the next chapter in my writing career and two opportunities arose. I was able to write women’s fiction under a pseudonym, Nita Brooks, for Kensington and after that sold the soapy romance story of my dreams to Harlequin’s HQN line. These opportunities challenged me and turned me into a stronger writer.
Nine years ago I never knew how much this journey would change me. The people it would introduce me to, and how I would grow with each novel. I’ve benefited from being a member of RWA—despite their issues. I was equally surprised and humbled when my book A Malibu Kind of Romance finaled in RWA’s RITA Awards (now the Viviens) in 2017, and through RWA I met a group of writers who later introduced me to my biggest writing support group, the Destin Divas.
I’ve enjoyed this writing journey. While tough at times…well a lot of times…I wouldn’t change much about the past nine years. What’s great is that this journey isn’t over. I’ve got more books coming your way (I signed two contracts this year), more ideas popping into my head (fingers crossed they find a home), more people to meet and learn from.
For those who were here when I started this wild ride, thank you for sticking around. For the people who’ve recently discovered me, I appreciate you taking a chance and I hope you continue to enjoy my work. I’m beyond blessed to have been able to do what I’ve done. It would be easy for me to downplay my accomplishments, but I won’t. It took hard work and dedication. I’m proud of what I’ve done and I hope to continue to grow. Thank you for supporting me, reading my books, and loving romance novels just as much as I do.
PS: Don’t forget that I’m celebrating my 9th year as a published author by putting my Southern Love Series on sale for .99 all month long!