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My Blood Dark edits are back. I'm currently immersed!

Posts to come: Blackthorn's heartless anti-hero? I have a post about Caleb Dehain coming next.

Blackthorn’s True Heroines

I’m a little behind on my blog schedule at the moment, mainly because my edits came back a couple of weeks ago and, well, getting Blood Dark to you as soon as possible seems to be the priority as far as my lovely readers are concerned!

I had to jump on here quickly though to say that I had a notification through tonight telling me that it’s my three-year blog anniversary today. Yay! That means three years ago today, I wrote my first ever post – back at a time when I wasn’t published and didn’t even have a prospect of a publisher in sight. Things have certainly progressed since then!

Above: This blog’s original banner (yep, that is me) before Bookouture’s re-vamp (pardon the pun)

With four Blackthorn books now released and number five imminent, well over 3,000 4/5 star reviews, six-figure sales, audiobooks and, most importantly, daily additions to my incredible Team Blackthorn (that’s you), this is way beyond what I’d imagined three years ago today.

My amazing long-suffering husband aside, three important people were by my side when I launched this blog. They’ve consistently supported me and encouraged me in the background, not least picking me up when my confidence has dropped as well as being there to share the laughs, the adventure and the excitement.

The incredible thing is that I didn’t know these ladies personally. They were fellow entrants in New Voices, the competition through which, in a twist worthy of Blackthorn, Bookouture discovered me. Like me, all three were unpublished authors at the time – and each of them had a passion for Blackthorn that blew me away.

Three and a half years on, they remain my inspiration. Amity Grays has signed her first publishing contract, Tracey Rogers has had five books released, and CC Mackenzie (who forced me set up a blog, oh and has her own vampire series out *wink*) has now become a USA Today Bestseller and an icon for self-published authors. Last year, for my 40th birthday, I had the pleasure of meeting the latter two (it might have been a bit far for Amity to pop over from Idaho!). There were certainly tears a plenty because, without these ladies, I’m not convinced Blackthorn would have been with you.

Thank you, Amity, Christine and Tracey for being Blackthorn’s true heroines.

And perfectly-timed to mark the occasion, I received an email today telling me that, who previously described Blood Shadows as “fantastic”, have now read and reviewed Blood Roses, and referred to it as:

“An absolute triumph that has kept me hooked on the series.”

Thanks so much, Charlotte! <3 You can read the full review here.

Oh, and look  whose latest release was reviewed on the same blog just before me! A glowing review for Ms Rogers, of course!

Once my edits are in, I promise that normal service will resume! Take care. xxx

Six-Figure Blackthorn!

I’m thrilled to announce that this morning, whilst organising information for this year’s London Book Fair, my publisher emailed to let me know that Blackthorn sales have ventured well into six figures!

For those who have no idea why I’m so pleased, various online sources state that an average book sells around 10,000 copies with a major publisher. Being optimistic, the average first novel sells around 1,000. So with it being as tough it is out there for fairly new authors, let alone with a small independent publisher, six figures are quite an achievement – especially for a niche genre like dark paranormal romance.

With this in mind, I have to give a massive shout-out for my awesome publisher, Bookouture, whose ongoing work behind the scenes ensures that Blackthorn stays where readers can find it. Thankfully, they’re already being recognised for their achievements by being nominated as Digital Business of the Year alongside big names such as Kobo, Bloomsbury and Pan Macmillan in this year’s Bookseller Industry Awards – and it is so well deserved.

I know, I’m biased. I was the first author signed by Bookouture after Oliver Rhodes, its Founder and Managing Director, discovered me through an online romance writing competition. I was only a month into subbing elsewhere when he approached me to see if I would consider submitting Blood Shadows and Blood Roses (both finalist entries in the competition) to Bookouture. Knowing who Oliver Rhodes was, and his fantastic track record in publishing, it was a heart-stopping moment. I was also quite taken aback. I’d not long started researching online for prospective publishers for Blackthorn when the message echoing everywhere was that I was trying to catch the market right at the tail end of the PNR craze, where the big names were ruling, and publishers and agents were rolling their eyes and slamming the door on any further mention of the word ‘vampire’.

It also seemed that unique concepts, like Blackthorn, were a heightened risk for publishers, especially from a debut authors, so only added a challenge. On top of that, its dark and gritty, occasionally close to the mark, content was going to rule out some romance readerships, whilst the very prospect of romance and vampires would alienate a readership that may otherwise enjoy the complex and twisty thriller-style undertones of the series. In addition, Blackthorn’s British-isms could also cause problems if trying to appeal the biggest PNR market – the U.S.

But within a week, Bookouture were back in touch showing interest in both books, as well as a third (then to become Blood Torn). They put a detailed proposal in front of me including a marketing plan (very rare for debut novelists these days). Far from being intimidated by the alleged decline in interest in PNR, they had big plans for Blackthorn. More importantly to me, they had complete faith in it. All that remained was whether I had enough faith in them to sign over my beloved Blackthorn. It wasn’t a difficult decision. The rest, as the cliché says, is history. Since then, Bookouture have gone on to sign many incredible names, including both debut and established novelists, achieving superb reviews and competitive chart positions. I’m so privileged to have been there from the beginning.

So as well as a massive thanks to Bookouture for selecting Blackthorn and helping prove that readers still want PNR, here’s a massive thanks to you too for being so relentless in your support for my series, for being so vocal, and for ensuring that every Blackthorn book since has been signed. Those figures are just as much down to you spreading the word. Bookouture made my dreams come true, my loyal readers sustain it. Hugs to you all. xxx