The news is not all that great so I don't share much anymore.
I only released one official book this year. Two if you take into consideration how the tax year works for writers. Unofficially, Long Way was my first book of this year, I'll pay taxes on it in April. Unofficially any book I put out in November and December will be have royalties paid next year. So... yeah, this year kinda sucked.
I offered two books, they weren't well received, or read. Maybe you didn't know they came out. I tried to get the word out. I did.
Anyway... financially, I'm not able to write full time anymore. Financially, I really can't afford to write at all. The last seven books I released barely earned back what I spent on them. Six of those seven books sold less than three thousand copies over the past two going on three years. I'm writing to earn back what it costs to write. And I can't sustain that. Not anymore. I carried on the past eighteen months as if I mean to carry on.
I'm, unfortunately, bankrupt, and my house is in foreclosure. The trouble is, my husband earns enough to pay half of our bills. I carried the rest. I made seven hundred dollars last month. There will be no Christmas for the kids. Well, kid. Only one is an actual child. She gets plenty during the year. And she understands this year has been tight. She still got most everything she's wanted within reason.
I don't know what else to say. Not looking for pity or attention. I tend to keep all of this close to the vest, though, I had some moments this past year when my anxiety over my failing career has come out.
Right now my lender is working with me to avoid taking the house, but with the next three months pretty much set I see no way to afford to carry on as if we're going to live here. Bankruptcy might buy me a couple more months, but honestly I'm not making enough each month to pay rent on the house we lived in before buying this one.
We will be homeless in a few months. I do fear that.
I will have new books out soon. They will not be professionally edited. I can't afford to pay an editor or a proofreader this time. The prices will be lower because of this. And my apologies in advance for not having commas in the right places or compound words not compounding correctly. I'll do my best to make the books as error free as possible.
And before you ask what you can do... I am not looking for a hand out. If you bought my books, you did your part. And thank you.
If I have a book that you haven't bought, well, it would be awesome if you would consider buying one.
I honestly just need the last seven books to miraculously start selling. That would be the awesomest.
Tell your friends about a book you loved. That would work. Maybe buy it from any of the links I provide and not from a pirate site, that would be even better.
I trying y'all. Doing all I can with what I have, to get you new material, and still make sure my family has what they need.
Well, after that, the best I can say, if we can survive through February and get back on track, then everything will be fine. If not... The January books will be my last books.
I've updated the Coming Soon page with the books I have planned.
If you're looking for some gift ideas I have new items in my Etsy store. And my official merchandise store is still open, it's called Zazzle. Both of those links are in the My Stores tab in the menu above.
I'm going to do a cover reveal for three of the four upcoming books in a few days. Hope you come back for that.
A note about the final books in the two series that are not finished... well, I don't know what to say, all three of the last Scrimmage sequels and the second Cold haven't reached the three thousand copies paid mark, each. I can only assume there is not enough interest in them to carry on. The original three books in the Scrimmage series are all over or right at the twenty thousand copies paid mark... that's a massive loss of interest in that series. And the second Cold book should never have been published. I knew it. For years. I knew the reaction readers would have would not be positive. It was rejected. And frankly, the final tentative book title is Stone Cold... I'm thinking that should be all the answer needed as to the ending of that series. I will leave that series unfinished. You may disregard the second book as if it never happened.
This is not a happy update. I can't maintain a happy tone anymore. I've tried. Desperately tried. I'm at the end. Last ditch effort to figure out where it all went wrong...
So yes, the tone is depressive. I had six lovely years as Mercy. I guess that is more than anyone else gets.
Wishing you a happy holiday season. See you in December with happier news. I hope.
Sooo much to talk about. Lots of changes happening. Good things. Bad things. Meh things.
I've been in a holding pattern this year it seems. Life hit hard. Stuff I can't and won't talk about. Just... anyway, writing hasn't been something I wanted to do. And when I did it, it wasn't what the reader wanted... so... no idea.
I know that I've been doing the same thing for a very long time and expect the same results as I had in the middling. I worked my way up to a point that I never thought to be, and then... well, we all get complacent. We all keep doing what worked once hoping lighting will strike twice. It struck me a few times and I'm grateful. But at the same time it set a bar I can't ever hope to reach again. So I do what I did over and over and over with ever increasing disastrous results.
I see you out there, going I love your work. ALL of it. I'd read anything you write. I'd read the phone book if you wrote it. Yes, you've told me this. But you know... you won't. I have three types of readers. I have those who read In from the Cold first. I have those who read Behind Iron Lace first. And I have those who read the first three books in the Scrimmage series first. And each group thinks this is how I write and should always write. I write other types of books beyond those three subsets. I write straight romance... MM readers will not read anything with girly bits, well, there's a rare few who will. I write paranormal. I'd love to write more paranormal. Sighs. If only the readers had taken a chance. I desperately want to write light weight material, but nope... not having that. Angst angst angst... then I write the angst and I get one starred because all I write is angst.
Reader person, I do not understand you. The lot of you. I don't know what you want. I mean, I do. You tell me in great detail all the time what I did wrong. Very few tell me what I did right. It's gotten to the point that I'm afraid to write anything because... well, the whole "my characters should be taken away from me for their protection" comment still sticks with me. You read me because I write this angst driven formula you love, but when I take the story to the obvious conclusion, you don't like that something not sweet and sexy happened to your favorite character... but god forbid I don't write angst and then it's all I can't believe this is Mercy Celeste writing this. I think someone else wrote this.
Dude... I'm going to clue you in on a little secret... the last two years of real life have damn near killed me. I keep telling y'all that. My hair has gone almost completely gray. My health has deteriorated to a point that I can't do much. And outside issues beyond my control have kept me in a constant state of stressed beyond my breaking point. And I have a really high breaking point. Broken people tend to have really high breaking points after a while. I thought my breaking point was nearing Empire State Building heights. But alas... the past two years have leveled me to my foundation.
Writing angst is cathartic... sometimes. I worked a lot of demons out in the two years following my daddy's death. But coming up on the two year anniversary of my mother's death... and my demons won.
I don't want to write anything with angst in it. I am terrified that if I open that vein I will bleed out. I'm close to the bleeding out point now.
So I wrote a light weight (for me) series and it was met with meh. So I wrote a high angst lots of sex book and it was met with meh, then outrage.
So.... I'm done trying to figure you out. What you want me to write and what I want to write are not lining up... so... we're all trapped in this holding pattern. You're waiting for the final Scrimmage book. And nothing but the final Scrimmage book will do. And I would rather eat glass than write that book. Maybe ever. Because that book will bleed me out.
So... I'm going to write more straight romance. I mean, my MM followers have mostly abandoned me. And there it is. I'm doing the same thing hoping for the same result and with the exception of maybe a thousand readers, my MM work is met with meh, pass.
I'm going to write more paranormal. Two of my next three books will be paranormal. One will not have much sex in it at all... because frankly, I'm sort of in a place where I don't want to try to balance the sex. I want to write non-sex books... and then flipside to all sex with little plot. That's my two speeds. I don't want angst. I want adventure and mystery and then over here let's just fuck our way across the country and call it a journey of self discovery... or whatever.
Do I expect you to follow me?
No, not really. It would be nice if you did. But, I'm old. Older than my physical years. I've been writing the same way for twenty years. Twenty long years... and it's not working for me anymore. Obviously, it's not working for you either.
There will be MM. Two of the next three books will be MM.
There will be stuff that I can't publish at all, but you can find it through my Payhip page. (the one I'm about to set up). Right now, the first chapter in a Scrimmage side story is up over there. The second chapter will be there this week. It will not be published as one book.
And... I'm working on the second Twincest book now. I'm two chapters into that one. Okay, three, there is a prologue. I know... I hate prologues. But there is one.
I'm playing with the idea of payhip publishing the scrimmage side story that could probably get me arrested. I mean it's kiddie porn. but... anyway.
Upcoming books include:
Epiphany (finally) hopefully in late November
Gone Astray (book three in the Adventures INK series) In late December, or early January. And I think I'm going to write a fourth book. From Skip's POV. To close out the series.
And in the straight category:
Cloak and Athame (erotic paranormal suspense) In January.
Untitled sensual contemporary romantic suspense. In February.
Available only on Payhip:
The limo orgy serial: Stuck in Traffic ( part one available now. part two coming this week sometime)
2nd & Goal: The follow up to Two Point Conversion. (will not be professionally edited)
projects to be named later...
When will Blindsided be released? I know you're asking this.
I don't know. I haven't written it.
When my ability to cope with my personal demons returns. Best answer I have. If that's what you're waiting for... well, see ya around sometime, no hard feelings.
Am I tired and depressed? yeah. My depression is kicking my ass. Thanks for noticing. I'm exhausted and every day is a struggle to get through. But I'm trying. I'm struggling... but I'm trying.
Look for the payhip buy links if you want to go down that rabbit hole.
Way back in elementary school in Grand Ridge, Florida. Circa 4th grade. Also circa 1979. I saw a show one Saturday morning... I can't remember the name of it. It was a show that did a breakdown of books with some still life photography to tell the abridged stories. Long before Reading Rainbow. And Wishbone. Do you you remember Wishbone? On PBS. My oldest daughter loved that show. The one with the little Jack Russell Terrier telling us a classic story as it related to the goings ons in his people's lives?
This was not those shows. I don't remember what it was called. I just remember that one winter day circa 1979 I was watching that show after winning a fight with my brother not to have to watch a rerun of one of the shows he loved. He usually won. We watched a lot of Justice League back then. And He Man. And... just pick any boy aimed show and we watched it. Not that there was much to choose from for girls. Remember that year the Bay City Rollers had a show on Saturday morning? One hit wonder wannabe rockers wearing plaid got a show on Saturday morning... and I watched it. I was ten. I think my favorite was the show that did different cartoons in a rotation. There was one called Miss Switch is a Witch. Loved that show. I really liked the cartoons that were based on books I would never be able to find anywhere... like ever... So one winter's day circa 4th grade I was watching that show that featured abridged versions of books... and I remember distinctly The House with a Clock in its Walls... because it was creepy. I loved creepy. And my brother shut the hell up about his cartoon and watched it with me for once. I think he was six. It was just creepy enough to get his attention... well anyway... cut to Library Day at school. I mean, it wasn't a big library obviously. It wasn't a big school. The elementary library was in a double wide portable classroom at the far far edge of campus. I probably have a larger children's library left over from four kids hand me downs than that library had back then. But oh how I loved that place. I just hated that they only let us check out one book at a time.
I remember three books that I loved, and checked out all the time, and read and reread... and I can't remember a the damn titles of the books to save my life.
One was about a couple of kids who end up ship wrecked with a bunch of babies. I found a book similar to that called Baby Island, but it didn't seem like the same story. Then there was another book sort of similar to that one (and could probably be the exact same book just a different part of it) about a girl going to The Thousand Islands on vacation. No clue. Not one... and then there was the one that still bugs the hell out of me and I can't even come up with enough of a synopsis to get a hit on Google. It was a story, with pictures, but not a picture book, with art that reminds me of Eloise a bit... anyway, the book was about a girl who moved to a new town and saw a life sized doll in a shop and fell in love with it. She saved up her money and tried to buy the doll but it wasn't for sale... and somehow she ended up in the shop with no one around and in the end the doll wasn't a doll but a marionette. and it seems like it was a mystery... but hell that was 40 years ago... dear god I'm old...
So back to the relevant part of this whole hop scotch down memory lane... I went to the library on Library Day to get The House with a Clock in its Walls... because that is a title you do not forget... because it's so freakin generic it's genius... and... low and behold the tiny little elementary school library didn't have it. But... the librarian, who I always thought hated me, seemed intrigued, and said she would order it for me.
It never came in. I checked every Library Day until spring of 1981. And it just never came in.
And then sometime after that, my brother came dragging in a book... he didn't like to read, so he didn't get many interesting books, especially fiction books. He got books on frogs and stuff and I lost interest in him... but he had the very book I'd been dying to read for years.
And... I swear I read it. Maybe I started it, and the asshole took it back. I don't know. He was that type of person. Anyway...
Today I took my daughter and one of her friends to the movies. And guess what we saw?
The House with a Clock in its Walls... and... I don't know how true it stayed to the book, but it was a glorious little movie.
The book was published in the early 70's. It is set post WWII in the early 50s. And is visually gorgeous. So, as with most literature written for children in the previous centuries, it was wee bit wordy, and yeah it did drag a little bit with conversation. But, it was a grand mixture of eerie and comedy. I'm not going to say it was scary... I mean it had some tense moments, and there were scenes designed to make you jump. I'm not going to say it wasn't scary. There were some creepy moments. I mean, it wasn't Wicked Witch of the West and those damned flying monkeys creepy... but... on a scale of Hocus Pocus to Halloweentown... it was a Casper the Friendly Ghost level scary.
And I'm happy to report, the two twelve year old girls I took with me to see this movie, actually liked it.
For the adults... Erik Cripkey, of Supernatural and Timeless fame, wrote the script. I had a few laugh out loud moments when the rest of the audience stayed silent... well, let's just say, he said that this was the book that inspired Supernatural... and there are some fun little nods to Supernatural. Most going WAY back. Way back.
So... if you're looking for an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, with a kid, or without a kid...
The House with a Clock in its Walls is highly recommended...
... Off to see if I can find the book somewhere.
Happy last day of September... the spook month is upon us.
It's like this month just started. It did. With a hurricane. I still have a leak in my roof from that one. We still have some limbs down in the back yard to get to. Time. If we have the time, it's raining. If it's not raining, we don't have the time.
So... I had planned to finish the first draft of Gone Astray by the end of August. It's the end of September... and guess what! Still not finished. I'm working on it. I need to get that done so I can get back to Epiphany so I can publish it before Christmas. That's been the plan.
What happened? Life happened.
We're barely hanging on financially. I spend more time doing other things to make ends meet so writing gets pushed to the side. A couple years ago I wrote full time, and we had enough money to pay the bills and extra for savings. I think I'll end this month with about four hundred dollars total from book sales.
I keep talking about it. I don't make enough money to pay my mortgage. My husband doesn't make enough money to pay all of our bills. We've had to make the choice to buy food or get behind on... everything. The savings ran out in the early summer. And... here we are. I'm no longer a full time author. I'm not even a part time author. Am I whining and complaining? Sighs... I don't know. I've done enough of that in the past few months. Sales keep going down. Hasn't helped me any.
If you follow me on social media, you've noticed the change up, it's more about the Etsy store and the Ebay store now. That's where I'm making my money. I just spent three hours listing stuff on Etsy. That's three hours I used to spend working on a book, whether research or reading up on the business side of it all... or actually promoting the books I've written.
Tomorrow I plan to spend the afternoon with my camera and all of the fall and Christmas stuff I plan to list on Ebay this week. Lots of work to photograph and list.
And if you were not aware, Amazon threw all of us Createspace users a nasty curve ball recently. Createspace is or should I say, was, the company most of us used to print and distribute our print books. Amazon owned Createspace and it was a decent place to be. Probably better run and organized that Amazon itself. A couple years ago Amazon created a print book publisher directly for KDP. KDP is Kindle Direct Publishing, where we publish our ebooks. And it's had so many bugs that I chose not to use it. As long as Createspace was still around then I had no reason to switch. And then the email came, and Createspace is closing and all books are transferring over to KDP whether we like it or not... and... well, let's just say that the three easy steps to transfer your books voluntarily is complete bullshit. I did that. It said all of my books currently live on Createspace were now live on Amazon... but they weren't. They were in holding awaiting me to go back through the print files I uploaded to Createspace to check for any problems, and approve the files to take them out of holding.... and I did that. It took me three days. Three days that I could have been working on something new. And... three books will not be returning for sale. There are issues that need to be fixed with two covers, and one book has been rejected because the cover details do not match the interior details but there is no explanation for what doesn't match and everything looks fine to me.
So, I pulled all of the Scrimmage books... okay the one Scrimmage that made it through the KDP review process. Whatever I have to do to fix Bootleg Diva will cost money that I don't have right now. That's the only book I used an outside formatter for and I only have a PDF file for that one. I can't fix anything. I haven't returned the new versions of Last Man Standing or Offside Chance to print yet. And I haven't been able to afford new matching covers for Sidelined and Six Ways from Sunday yet... so... I'm going to wait on those a bit and use them as my foray into mass market print books through IngramSparks. My apologies on that.
I pulled Lagniappe and Let it Go for cover issues. Both of those covers have text outside the bleed margins. Lagniappe will be an easy enough fix, but the cover artist for that book is already swamped fixing other covers for the same reason. Let it Go will not be fixed. I have to make the decision to either pull it from print completely, or do a complete cover do over. Honestly, I love that cover, but I've been seriously considering a refresh. Until I ran out of money. I still have three books ahead of it in the cover refresh line.
So... everything that will be returned to print through KDP is now live on Amazon. I don't know what the quality will be. I had to raise the prices to get expanded distribution and I'm not happy about that. I'm only making a dollar for expanded as it is, and now three dollars per US copy sold. And... seriously, I haven't made back what I spent on just the cover for the last five books, so... I don't even know anymore.
I know the books are expensive. I can't help that. Like I said, I had the prices set so that I would make a little over two dollars per title in Createspace. Trade books are expensive.
Everything is about money. Self publishing isn't free and it isn't cheap. Or you know, it can be cheap, but people will complain that their 99 cent KU book was not perfect and the cover was bad, and three rounds of editing would have caught those missing commas and stuff... three rounds of editing costs a lot of money. I spent more on editing a couple of books than I earned back on them.
So... I have two daughters to feed and we're three months behind on the mortgage. And my credit is in the toilet. And... yeah... if only writing still paid my bills and put food on the table. I spend all of my time now doing the things that actually do pay the bills.
I don't know if it was the market. Or if I need to learn how to promote beyond Facebook and Twitter... or... if my online personality did it... but my writing career died. I went from making six figures to a low five figures this year. And that's a massive shock. Yes, I did earn a living. I earned a nice living. And I thank you all for that. I just wish I knew why it's all gone now.
So... as book after book failed to connect with readers, I've had to make a painful decision... not to be homeless. We're circling the obvious short term fix of putting the house up for sale. The mortgage is too high anyway. I never would have bought this house if I knew when I signed the first contract that we'd be paying five hundred more than we were led to believe. I love my house. Trying to hang on.
The IRS hasn't helped any. When you make six figures, there's a nice little number that once you cross it, fucks you for life. I crossed it once and my taxes doubled. I hadn't paid in enough. I'm still paying off that year. I'll be making payments on that year for two more years at least. I can't even get rid of it through bankruptcy for another year.
I do not want to make six figures. I didn't. It was embarrassing. And most of it went to the IRS anyway through Self Employment Taxes. So...
I don't know what else to say. Please don't buy me covers or anything like that. Please don't do anything. Just buy my books. If you bought my books, then you did your part.
I have enough money right now to breathe a little bit. The one month Courting Sin did okay will be paid in a few days. So I commissioned a matching cover for Gone Astray with Jay for the Adventures, INK series. I have a cover for Epiphany already made, and when I get to Blindsided, I have that one ready too. I don't need any more covers. I don't have any more books to put covers on.
I did a couple months of heavy pushing of the twincest books with the hopes of buying an iPad and iPen to help with my writing. I made half of what I need. I'm going to buy the iPad next week. And I promised that I would write the second book strictly to sell on Payhip if y'all helped me get the iPad. I plan to keep that promise. As soon as I finish Gone Astray and Epiphany I'm going to write 2nd & Goal. It will not be edited professionally. It will not go to print. It will not be available anywhere but through my blog or if I decide to re open my Patreon, I'll offer it there. Because there isn't a single book seller out there that will list an incest book.
In other news, not that this isn't long enough... All of my books but the twincest book and Under a Crescent Moon are currently only available on Amazon, and in Kindle Unlimited. All of those books will start dropping out of KU on October 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, with the exception Match Day and Long Way, those two books drop out on October 20th. I will relist everything on Kobo when they are out of KU. But I'm waiting until November 1st to return books to iBooks and Barnes and Noble for reasons. If you're waiting to put any of those books in your Kindle Unlimited library, you need to hurry, I will not return any books to KU.
So, for the future...
I'm still hoping to have Epiphany ready to publish by December 1st for Christmas. Gone Astray will probably be ready in January. I'll most likely have the second Twin book ready before either of those. I have not started Blindsided yet. I'm holding back because right now Blindsided will most likely be my final book. And that's not something I'm ready to face just yet.
Wish I had better news.
If you're interested in any of my jewelry items or book merchandise please visit the My Stores tab above for links to my Etsy, Ebay, and Zazzle stores.
I know it's only Wednesday. But seriously this week has fucking sucked. It's like something happened early Monday morning that seems like a lifetime ago but it was just two days ago and I'm still... sometimes I feel emotionally raw and other times just plain numb. And oh my god she just vague booked. Yeah. I vague booked. Private life is and will always remain as private as I can make it.
Is it seriously September 19th?
How in the hell has this month flown past when the days drag by so very slowly?
And it's hot. And not in that deep south summer lasts from April to November kind of hot in September way. Let's just say that when the local news stations start doing stories on surviving extreme heat waves... we don't usually get those, because we live in an area where summer is usually 90 plus degrees and it's normal. And if we do get extreme heat over 100 degrees, it's usually in July. We're getting daily extreme heat stories. We're creating record high temperatures, daily. In late September most places have closed their pools. Our community pool is closed for the season. Because... well, it's supposed to be almost October and even here in late September we can start pretending like we get an actual fall. When the temps dip into the low eighties we haul out the sweaters. When the temps hit the low seventies we haul out the winter coats and boots. When it drops into the fifties we turn on the heat and start complaining about the cold. We do extreme heat very well here... but this mess is just nasty. It's hot. It's dangerously hot. It's stay in the house hot and lord help you if your air conditioner breaks. It's check your elderly hot.
It's I'm not sitting outside on the back porch with the pets hot and Ebil keeps trying to open the back door. She's almost got it. If she only had thumbs. Because she knows exactly how to do it. You put your paw on the knobby thing. You spread your finggies and you turn it. She tries so hard. If the outside doors had handles like the doors inside do, she'd have that shit figured. I've found her hanging off many a door handle, trying to put enough weight on it to open it. She got one opened one time. She was closed inside the pantry. And it eased open and I looked and there she was, her arm hooked over that handle. Back claws dug in the door. Pleased as punch with herself.
But she wants to go out to chase the love bugs and the butterflies so badly. But even she can't handle the heat and her tongue starts hanging out after a few minutes of hunting. I can't do it. It's too hot for the cat. The dog doesn't leave the porch so really, eh...it smells like a pig pen out there for now. When the heat breaks I gotta get out there and power wash the whole thing down.
I hit the sixty thousand word mark on Gone Astray last night. This book is all sex. Just two guys doing a cross country motel crawl, running from the scandal they created, and fucking. That's all the plot there is. I've written at least four full sex scenes. And at least that many blow or hand job scenes. I will write at least three more full sex scenes before I'm done. And clean up the plot of all three books. Yay. Did I mention that I started this book in May?
Would help if the arthritis in my left hand wasn't getting worse. It would help if shit like Monday morning wasn't happening more and more. It would help tremendously if there wasn't a back hoe sitting across the street right outside my office window. Or that said back hoe wasn't tearing out the trees right across from my office window. Which makes the dog bark his fool head off. Because INTRUDERS! INTRUDERS MOM INTRUDERS! I WILL PROTECT YOU! Would help if the last of the green space didn't mean that we're in for two months of house building, times two, right across from my office window. Which means trucks and deliveries and workers and noise and barking and... we just got done with two houses being built on the north side of us. One was just sold. The other is still for sale. And now... sighs. Most likely won't be here to see them built anyway... so bitching for nothing.
Back to Gone Astray. It's the sequel to Long Way and Match Day. I'm writing it in pencil in a notebook... well, two notebooks now. It's sort of long. And I still need to type it and rewrite it. But if I can finish the first draft by the end of September, I'm going to set it aside and let it rest for a bit. I had hoped to publish Epiphany in November when the rest of the Christmas books start coming out. I haven't finished it yet. At least the seventy five thousand words I do have written are typed. And partially rewritten. I just need to wrap it up. Then do a couple of revisions and get it to an editor. With any luck, if I can function, it will be ready to go to an editor by November 1st. But I might not be able to publish it until December. And if I can't publish Epiphany until December, Gone Astray will be in January. Fingers crossed. If we don't lose the house and end up living in our car. All that fun stuff that comes with being a has been writer with no job and no marketable skills at age fifty and all.