This Week Is Hectic!

This is a hectic week, but hectic in a good way.

Thursday is the official release day for A Fighting Chance! I put this book up for Kindle preorder on April 26, and on May 9 it will release for Kindle and paperback.

I’ve been making some tweaks to my release schedule going forward. Take Some Tahini (Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat 6) will release in July as scheduled; after that, my next release will be in October of this year. I’ve discovered, in trying to do 6 releases this year, that that pace isn’t exactly sustainable for me, especially since I’ll also be releasing some young adult fiction (under my Jo Ramsey pen name) starting in 2025. So I’m lowering that plan by one book for 2024, and will be releasing five books instead of six, and for 2025 I’m planning four releases. There might be an extra short story or two released over those couple of years, but I’m not currently *planning* those. So another part of the hecticness of this week is rearranging my release schedule and, by extension, my writing and editing schedule.

And I’m getting ready to take a trip to watch my younger kid graduate from veterinary school next week! Packing and coordinating travel plans with the others who are going is one of the most hectic things, but it is so amazingly worth it to watch my kid’s dream–almost literally a lifelong dream, they’ve wanted to be a veterinarian since they were about three years old–come true.

So that’s where I’m at this week. I’m also continuing to plan “wide” releases of my books (making them available through retailers in addition to Amazon) but have hit a minor snag with some of the existing books that is delaying getting those put out through other vendors. I am continuing to work on it.

New Project Underway

After going back and forth with myself about it, last Tuesday I started a new book.

Bring On the Broccoli (Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat 7) picks up about three months after Tempeh for Two and Take Some Tahini (both of those books take place in the same month). It’s in Kyle Slidell’s point of view and involves discovering that some alphas, including a Massachusetts one, are even less ethical and invested in their packs’ best interests than previously realized.

I haven’t gotten very far into the story yet, so there isn’t much to share at this point, but I’ll add updates here weekly until the book is done. Bring On the Broccoli is planned to release in January 2025.

Release Schedule Changes

I’m still fine-tuning things. The advantage of being a self-published author is the flexibility to change my release schedule as needed. The disadvantage of being a self-published author is that I’m the one who has to make those changes.

Hooch and Howls will be out on March 14, as previously announced. That book is nearly ready to go; another round of proofreading and the cover, and it will be complete. I’ll be putting it up for Kindle preorder on February 29, and it will be released wide on March 14 (meaning it will not be available through Kindle Unlimited).

Take Some Tahini (Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat 6) will be out on July 11, as previously announced. I’m working on edits for that one, but I’m confident it will be complete and ready to go in time for Kindle preorder on June 27 and release on July 11. (I have not yet decided whether it will be in Kindle Unlimited for 90 days, as I did with Tempeh for Two, or just go wide off the bat; stay tuned for more on that.)

On May 9… I’m not sure. Originally, that was going to be Hooch and Howls, and my novel A Fighting Chance (a follow-up to Chance Met) was supposed to be the March 14 release. I flipped those two because Hooch was closer to being ready than A Fighting Chance. I figured I could easily get Fighting ready for May.

That was until I got the notes back from my beta reader. I had known *something* was not working with Fighting, but I couldn’t figure out where the problems were. My beta reader pointed all of the issues out to me, which I greatly appreciate. With her notes, I can see exactly what she’s talking about, and now I understand why the story wasn’t resonating for me.

But… I am not completely sure I’ll be able to fix those problems in time for a May release of this book. And to be honest, between the depth of the issues and the fact that it’s a follow-up to a book that was released a year ago, I’m starting to wonder if I actually *want* to fix those problems and release this book.

When I was working on Chance Met in early 2023, I realized that expanding that book was going to take longer than I’d anticipated, especially since at the time, I was also dealing with the immediate aftermath of my mother’s passing and trying to help my dad cope with paperwork, cleaning out the house, and so on. I completely changed my 2023 release schedule with very little notice to readers, because there wasn’t much else I could do. And at the time, I committed to only stating my release schedule 6 months in advance. I thought that would give me enough time to solidify things while making it easier for me to tweak and change the schedule without having to backtrack on releases I’d already announced.

But this time, because of the need for more extensive rewrites on A Fighting Chance, I’m going to have to say “Please stay tuned.” The March and July releases for 2024 are definite. I have plans for September’s release. But for the time being, I’m going to have to start working on A Fighting Chance and see whether I can actually regain my joy with this story and whether I’m capable of getting it ready for May 9. I will know for certain what May’s release will be by the time I release Hooch and Howls.

Meanwhile, I’m going to spend part of today working on the Hooch and Howls cover art and giving myself compassion for the need to change… because change happens sometimes.

Tiny Book

As previously announced, on March 14, I will be rereleasing my novella Hooch and Howls. This is a historical M/M/M novella, set against the backdrop of the rumrunning trade in 1930 Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. I’ve done some heavy rewrites on part of the story, and some minor revising and re-editing on the rest.

Because this is a novella, not a novel, I was planning to release it only in digital formats. But… I like having *physical* copies of my books. I’ve tried reading on Kindle (and I’ve had three different kinds of Kindle devices over the years), and it makes my eyes do weird things. Plus I can’t flip back and forth through the pages, and…well, I like holding a book, not an electronic device, in my hands.

So I’m considering–strongly–doing a paperback version of Hooch and Howls as well. I’m sure some people wouldn’t want it, and that’s fine, but *I* want it. I want to have a physical copy of the book to hold in my hands.

Do you prefer ebooks or physical books? Or do you have a preference?

Random Stuff

I really stink at blog post titles.

Tempeh for Two has been out for almost two weeks now, and I’m so excited to see people buying not only this book but the previous books in the Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series! Also, Tempeh has gotten a couple of really good reviews, which I need to remember to add to this website.

I’m doing a random stuff post because I’m dealing with some personal life things that are taking my time, focus, and mental bandwidth. Without going into a lot of detail, if you’re someone who does energy, or prayer, or anything along those lines, I’d appreciate some going toward my 77-year-old father, and some going toward me and my kid and son-in-law who are trying to help my father.

Since finishing writing Ebb and Flow (which may turn out to be the first book of a new series, a spin-off from Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat) and releasing Tempeh, I’ve taken a short break from doing Karenna stuff to work on some young adult fiction. From 2010-2017, I had several young adult novels published under the pen name of Jo Ramsey. From 2005-2010, I wrote 40 YA novels, some of which were among those published, and which form one long series broken into three “branches,” and a separate but connected shorter series. I’m currently going through all 40 of those books to see whether I can–and want to–rewrite, update, and edit them to eventually self-publish. It’s work, but it’s been fun work, and it’s helped keep me together through dealing with the aforementioned personal life stuff.

Hopefully next week I’ll have an update about my March release. I’m not entirely sure if the book I was planning to release in March, A Fighting Chance (follow up to Chance Met) will be ready, but I have another book that will definitely be ready for March if A Fighting Chance isn’t. So stay tuned!

I Have a Migraine…

I was going to write something profound-ish, or at least interesting, but I have a migraine and can’t think about anything other than the funny jagged colors dancing in front of my eyes. So instead, I’m sharing this picture  of all of the books I’ve self-published, as Karenna Colcroft and under other names, since May 2021. Lex Valentine did the covers for Salad on the Side, Alpha Receptor, and Messages from Shiva vol. 1; I did the others.

 

2023 In Review

2023 has been over for just past a week now. Last week, I talked a little about what I have planned for 2024. Now I want to take some time to celebrate what I did in 2023.

I released two Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat novels. Even though the original plan was to release three, that didn’t work out, but I did release two. And I’m proud of myself for that.

I changed my release schedule when life stuff got in the way of what I’d originally planned. This is definitely cause for celebration, because in the past, if I’ve said I was going to do something, I’ve felt like I had no choice about doing it. Even when it wasn’t possible to actually follow through. In 2023, the book I’d slated for a March release took longer to revise and rewrite than I’d anticipated, especially since I wound up almost doubling the length of what had originally been a novella. Expanding the story took time, and I was trying to do it while in the thick of dealing with the fallout from my mother’s passing and my father’s health issues, among other things. Instead of forcing myself to stick to the release schedule I’d set and risking putting out a shoddy product, I chose to delay the March release by a couple of weeks, which then resulted in delaying the May release (which would have been Try the Tofu, Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat 4) to July, the September release to October, and not planning to have a November release at all. I felt a little guilty about that, and also dealt with some “people will forget I exist if I don’t release books often enough” fears, but ultimately it turned out to be the right choice, both for my books and for my mental health. And I did end up having a late November release with my Christmas short “Snow on Christmas Eve.”

I wrote two novels. Fill the Empty Spaces was started in December 2022, but I wrote the bulk of it in early 2023. I also wrote Take Some Tahini (Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat 6)… and then rewrote the first few chapters of it. I also wrote a few short stories and started a new novel, Ebb and Flow at the end of November. (Ebb and Flow is a spin-off from Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat, and will probably be released in fall 2024.)

In addition to the two Real Werewolves novels, I released two other novels and a short story (or short novella, depending on how you look at it).

I dealt with family issues, health issues, and life issues, including one that knocked me for a severe loop at the beginning of December 2023. I’m still dealing with that one, but I’m doing much better than I was at first.

Like I mentioned last week, I have plans for 2024, and hopefully this time next year, I’ll be celebrating a lot more!

2024 Here We Go!

It’s a new year. Which is a little mind-boggling. December went by way too quickly.

It’s now 2024, and I’m still kind of wrapping my head around that. Usually I spend December, and sometimes start as early as October, planning the upcoming year. My goals, my hopes, my “if there were no objects in the way” dreams. It’s a month or more of daydreaming, brainstorming, Tarot and oracle cards, and various other means of sorting out what I want to do, what I’m capable of doing, and what I would really love to do if I could figure out how. I didn’t do that this year. At the beginning of December, something hit my life (and the lives of a number of others in my social circle, as well as my family) very hard, so I didn’t have the bandwidth to do much more than process, grieve, and figure out how to reconstruct my day-to-day life.

However. I do have some plans for 2024. It might be worth noting here that I don’t do “New Years resolutions.” For me, personally, resolutions are the “I should do this” things that usually get put aside because either I can’t figure out *how* to do them or because I only decided to do them because I thought I “should.” I don’t deal with shoulds anymore. As one of my past therapists was fond of saying, I stopped shoulding all over myself. I make goals and plans, not resolutions.

For 2024, tentatively, I’m planning:

1.To release Tempeh for Two (Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat 5) on January 11. This book is already up for Kindle preorder! I’ll also be releasing Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat 6, titled Take Some Tahini, in July. Take Some Tahini is the first brand-new Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat novel since 2014; the previous five, including Tempeh for Two, were originally published between 2011 and 2014. (All the rereleases have been revised, updated, and re-edited, and some have been expanded with new content.)

2. To figure out the timing of the rest of my release schedule. For 2023, my original plan was to release books in January, March, May, July, September, and November. But my March release, Chance Met, got held up because of personal life stuff as well as issues with expanding it, so instead of releasing the second week of the month as intended, it came out toward the end of March. Because of that, I didn’t want to have a May release, because it wouldn’t have given me enough time to promote both books. So I skipped May, made the September release an October release instead, and then wound up doing a Christmas story in November after deciding not to release anything that month. Yeah, it was all as confusing as it sounds. For 2024, I’m currently planning releases in January, April, July, and October, with another Christmas story at the end of November/beginning of December, but that might change.

3. To make all of my books available “wide,” meaning through multiple retailers. This means they will no longer be available through Kindle Unlimited, which requires that books be sold exclusively on Amazon. I apologize to my readers who prefer KU because of finances or other reasons. There are multiple factors behind my decision, including a reduction in the amount Amazon pays authors for Kindle Unlimited reads and hearing from readers who would like to buy my books but won’t or can’t by from Amazon. After considering and talking with other authors, I decided it would be worth trying having my books available through other retailers in addition to Amazon, including Kobo and Barnes & Noble. I’ll be starting this change in February with Fill the Empty Spaces, followed by Chance Met in March. Tempeh for Two, along with the rest of the Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series, will be available through Kindle Unlimited until April, at which time the entire series will be released through other retailers. I’m still fine-tuning how I’ll approach new releases; my options are either release them through all retailers from the beginning, or make them Amazon exclusive–and available through Kindle Unlimited–for the first 90 days after release, then put them with other retailers. Stay tuned for announcements on that as I make decisions and see how releasing my books wide affects my sales and readership. Yes, I write books because I love writing books… but I also do it to help pay my bills, and sometimes that means needing to make decisions that benefit the bank account.

4. To start a subscription. A number of my fellow authors have Patreon or Ream accounts through which they offer readers bonuses and perks for a monthly subscription fee (which in some cases is as low as $1 a month!) I actually have a Patreon but haven’t done much with it because creating things for it and promoting it felt like a little too much. I’ve been following those other authors, though, and learning more about how to make it all work without breaking my brain, so I hope to either brush up my Patreon for a relaunch or set up a Ream subscription (Ream is like Patreon but exclusively for writers) by my birthday, June 30. If you read this and have thoughts about what you’d like to see offered through a subscription like this, please leave a comment!

5. To release the follow-up to Chance Met, titled A Fighting Chance. This book will probably conclude Trey and Jeremiah’s story, as it brings their romance to a logical happy-for-now ending as well as tying up plot threads introduced in Chance Met. I don’t really see anywhere for their story to go after this one. This is the only “I’m not completely sure yet” plan on this list; I haven’t decided whether I’ll actually release this one. If I do, it will be out in March or May.

6. To rerelease my novella Hooch and Howls. Originally published in 2012, this is a historical MMM novella featuring a crotchety hermit werewolf and two young men sucked into the rumrunning trade in 1930 Nova Scotia. I’ve rewritten a portion of this novella to address a plot point I found…we’ll say distasteful, and I’m looking forward to reintroducing Malachi Powers, the hermit werewolf, and his love interests Roger and Jonathan to the world. And speaking of Malachi…

7. To release a new novel, currently titled Ebb and Flow. This novel follows from Take Some Tahini, but is not part of the Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series. (You can tell, because the title doesn’t reference a vegan food.) In Tahini, Tobias meets a young werewolf named Quinn Bouchard, who had a traumatic entry into the werewolf world that reminds Tobias of his own. After Quinn’s pack ejects him for reasons beyond Quinn’s control, Tobias takes him in as one of his guards and brings Quinn with him and Kyle to meet with the Anax of Canada. While in Nova Scotia for that meeting, they meet Malachi Powers (yes, the one from Hooch and Howls, which is why I plan to rerelease that novella), a friend  of the Canadian Anax–and, as it turns out, Quinn’s mate, something which disturbs Malachi both because Quinn is mourning the loss of his partner and because of a major age gap; Malachi is somewhere around 150 years old, while Quinn is only 22. Though their story begins in Take Some Tahini, it’s fully formed in Ebb and Flow, which I’m currently in the process of writing and am very much enjoying. I hope to have this novel ready to release in September or October.

Other plans, particularly for book releases, are in flux right now. But the good thing about planning and writing and working for myself (and my readers) is that I have the ability to be flexible.

I hope your 2024 is off to a wonderful start! If you have plans you’d like to share, leave a comment!

 

 

Two More Days!

In two days, I’ll be putting Tempeh for Two up for preorder! The book will officially release on January 11 in Kindle and print formats; the preorder will be Kindle only since Amazon doesn’t allow for preorders of paperbacks. This book will be available through Kindle Unlimited until April, at which time I’ll be pulling all of the Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat books out of KU so I can release them through vendors in addition to Amazon.

I’m looking forward to having this book out there. This will complete the rereleasing of the original 5-book Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series. In July 2024, the series will continue with the first brand-new book to be released since 2014, Take Some Tahini.  And there’s a spin-off or two coming as well. These werewolves get pushy about having their stories told!

I’ve shared the Tempeh for Two cover before, but here it is again because I like it (and because I’m typing this over Christmas weekend and so I’m keeping it short so I can go on with holiday prep).

Surprise Book!

I hadn’t planned on a book release this month, until I started thinking about the holidays and decided I wanted to release a Christmas story. Fortunately for me, I had a Christmas story in my files.

Snow on Christmas Eve was originally a 5000-word short story titled “Christmas Eve Snow” that I’d posted as a freebie on my old (pre-hiatus) website. I’ve spent time revising and re-editing the story… and in the process, I expanded it into a short novella of a little over 10,000 words.

Christmas was always Tag’s favorite holiday. Time with his parents, brothers, and other family, dinners, Christmas lights. But this year, Tag wants nothing to do with the holiday. In September, his coming out as gay and announcing that his partner Darion was moving in with him resulted in his family rejecting him. How can he be happy when he’s lost his family?

On Christmas Eve, Darion insists on taking Tag for a walk in a snowstorm. Claiming that snow on Christmas Eve is magic, Darion asks Tag to make a wish. And Tag does, never believing that his wish to have his family back might come true.

(I’ll definitely be tweaking the blurb before uploading the book for sale!) Snow on Christmas Eve will be available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and other vendors on Thursday, November 23! When it’s live, I’ll add the links to my home page and my “Other Male/Male Romance” page. Meanwhile, here’s the cover: