One year ago today, Alexa Land was born. And what a wild, amazing ride it's been!
On December 19, 2012, I took a chance and self-published Way Off Plan on Amazon. That leap of faith changed my life forever. The book had just been rejected by a major M/M publisher, and I took the rejection pretty hard. At the same time, though, I believed in my story and characters. I felt I'd made something that would entertain people and make them feel good. So I decided, to hell with publishers. I could get my book to its intended audience without anyone's help.
I independently published it on Amazon, and then I braced myself. I honestly expected it to just get swallowed up in that giant sea of books, and didn't think anyone would ever find it.
But you did, just a few of you at first, and then a few more. Good reviews started coming in. And more copies sold. To my amazement, Way Off Plan broke into the top ten in gay fiction on Amazon, then the top five.
All In followed, in time for Valentine's Day of this year. I was pretty sure Way Off Plan had been a fluke, so I didn't have very high expectations for All In. But it did even better than its predecessor.
Those successes encouraged me to publish Feral, which I'd written the previous summer, but had let sit on my computer for months. It was a different kind of story, and I wasn't sure how it would catch on. To my delight and amazement, Feral hit number one in gay fiction on Amazon, and went on to be nominated for a Rainbow Award. It even became a semifinalist.
Over the next several months, I worked on the book I'm most proud of: In Pieces. I published it in early July, 2013. My labor of love held the number one position in gay fiction on Amazon for two weeks, and sold more than anything I'd ever written. More importantly, so many of you took Christopher into your hearts, and wrote to tell me how his story touched your lives. I was completely overcome with joy and gratitude.
Then one random Tuesday morning (a week to the day after In Pieces was published, incidentally), my husband of nineteen years ended our marriage. It came out of the blue. Suddenly, my whole world was in a tail spin.
Everything changed. Overnight, writing went from a hobby to a career. I was under financial pressure now, worried about being able to keep my home, being able to pay for my own health insurance, and a million other things.
There was so much to deal with that I could barely think about writing. Hardest of all was only seeing my ten year old son half the time, since
my ex wanted 50/50 custody. That, more than anything, continues to
break my heart. I also had major surgery, just weeks after my husband left. All my energy was channeled into healing, while at the same time mourning the end of the longest, most significant relationship of my life.
But now, here I am. I've come out the other side stronger than ever. I reignited my passion for writing over these last couple months, and it's very much been, to borrow from an old song, my bridge over troubled water. I'm more grateful than ever that I get to write, to do what I love, every single day.
Before last December 19th, I was just a full-time mom named Audrey. While I love being a mom, I'd allowed my personal hopes and dreams to be pushed to the back burner. I barely knew who I was anymore.
But then, I invented Alexa and I took a chance. I put a book out there, and hoped for the best. And because of each and every one of you, my readers, my expectations were wildly exceeded. I can now call myself a writer. I'm getting to do the thing I dreamed of since childhood, and I'm so happy that this is my life.
Just now, I finished writing Gathering Storm, the next book in my Firsts and Forever series!! I am always so happy when I finish a book! It's a good thing I was alone when I wrote those final words, because...um...a happy dance may or may not have occurred, and if such a thing DID occur, no one should see that, because talk about embarrassing! Picture Elaine from Seinfeld dancing, but with more fist pumping. So not pretty! :)
Now it's time to edit, edit, edit, then turn it over to my beloved beta readers, all with the goal of making it just as good as it possibly can be. I will have it out to you in just a few short weeks. I'm so excited to bring you Hunter's story. We're in the home stretch now, my friends!