Next week marks my 20th anniversary with my spouse. I chose that day specifically for the release of my collection of short stories, Leaps of Faith, as my way of celebrating. You can pre-order it here. Isn’t the cover art gorgeous? It’s done by Stacy O’Steen, who also designed the covers for the rest of the series.
The stories are close to my heart, and they all in some way are about that kind of enduring love. A friend once told me that “the best love stories start in the middle.” We were talking about Romance Genre and whether or not what I write fits there. This is an ongoing discussion, one I’ve had with many people. A lot of us are outside genre lines, and for many of us, that can make it hard to know who our target audience is.
I’ve begun to hate the phrase “target audience.” This, to me, implies that readers are primarily locked into one type of book, one type of character, one type of story. Some are, and those who are tend to be exceptionally vocal. But I’ve also noticed that even within a given genre, readers tend to be brand-loyal. Many will read anything by a specific author, even if it’s not their preferred genre. Others have a list of go-to authors, and they’re not often open to trying new ones unless the books have a similar feel.
Lots of us, though, read all kinds of books across genres and in mixed genres and with a wide range of romantic and non-romantic relationships. I have a loyal fanbase of straight men, even though I often write descriptive non-heterosexual intimacy. Mainly they’ve said they’re interested in specific themes in my books, in particular the ones where characters grapple with religious ideology. This is a common thing; readers of other genders and sexualities have said the same. A few people have said they changed their perspective on the church’s position regarding LGBTQ+ people after reading.
Outside of that, my readership is primarily other bisexual+ people of various genders. It’s a small group, sure, but there they are. Would I love to be more popular? I guess. I mean, isn’t that what we’re supposed to want? For the sake of sales, yes, it would be nice. But this is okay with me right now.
I have future plans for things to write. I’ll keep going with my Notes from Boston series because I love being able to explore different relationships and lives through those books. (It was supposed to only be four, but…well, these things change.) I have a sequel outlined for An Act of Devotion as well. (Per reader request, a side character in that book apparently needs his own happily ever after, though it’s not really a romance.) But I’m also working on some other things which may take me in a new direction. Guess you’ll have to watch this space to find out more when the time comes.
As for my new release next week, why did I choose to put it out there? A few reasons:
- I’m releasing the final novel in the series in November, and I wanted this out before then.
- Half of the stories in it were previously published elsewhere, mainly for charity/promotional anthologies. The rights reverted to me, so I collected them.
- Three stories were from my annual Advent blog posts.
- The rest are ones that were, in effect, fan service. People asked about some things, and I wrote them.
I hope you’ll give it a chance, especially if you’ve been a fan of Micah and Cat since the beginning. Yes, there are moments in here that are sad, and no, it isn’t a collection of traditional romance shorts. There are three primary couples (not including the one crossover story): two women, a man and a genderqueer person, and a woman and a man. Spoiler alert, every couple has one bi partner (because this is me; did you expect anything else?).
For those who have stuck by these stories, I do hope you’ll forgive me for leaving them on a sad-but-hopeful note. Life hands us these moments sometimes, and in this case, my character asked me to let him go. When my novel is out in November, I will explain in more detail how I made that decision and why.