There has been a lot of talk in the innermost circle about a topic I commonly refer to as my “doorstop” book. For factual purposes, it weighs 2.2 lbs in printed form. It is a MONSTER of a book, fully loaded, with a normal-sized font. Someone recently asked if it was large font. No. No, it’s not.
I love writing BIG ASS BOOKS with rich details and intense emotions. It’s my jam. I get this isn’t the cool thing to do. I get I’m not trendy. I also understand marketing an interconnected series with one world and one book boyfriend is a bit of a hellish nightmare. Different chapters of his life from 19 to 29.
I understand maybe this isn’t the cool or hip thing to do, may not even be the wisest of choices, but here we are. We’re going to do this.
Are you ready?
Five years ago, in 2014, I wrote a little book called Juliet. Little being, depending on which platform you look at, somewhere between 650-750 pages. I didn’t know it at the time of writing, but this book would form the basis of my craft in the laboratory (aka, ‘The Cage’) for the next five + years.
And Sal Raniero would become a thing.
But Juliet is not my best book.
Who would say that?
This girl, that’s who.
Though I’m certain some #RanieroFanGirls would debate it being “special” in its own right. The point here isn’t to pick it apart. The point is MY author critique, and at twenty-two books in, I’m allowed to examine my history. Even in a crazy, public, blog post kind of way.
I long to live read all the bad reviews I’ve gotten over the years. Some are fair. Some are just cruel. I’ve been called “pretentious smut” and “deranged.” I’ve been hated. I’ve been laughed at for covers. I’ve been called an Old Brit! This girl must be English to have such formal prose! I’ve been called out for Southern dialect. I’ve been the joke and the misfit. I imagine we all have at some point.
Thankfully, I’ve come to a place where I can keep my head high and my middle fingers higher. I’m calloused and no longer rattle as I once did. Sometimes a word will trigger a closer reflection by me. Usually, I just ignore the bullshit and march on. I read one to five reviews. I stay off social media book sites because they’re unhealthy for my mojo. I count my blessings, say my prayers, and march forward to slay the next book.
I’ve done this for five years.
The five-year anniversary of Juliet’s publication is coming soon and I’ve debated the merits of a complete revision, including Kinky Sex Magic within its pages as I originally intended.
Why didn’t I do it at the time?
But now, as I grow closer to approaching that five-year marker, I think an update is almost a necessity for me. I don’t write like that girl anymore. Juliet, in its original form, is a raw journey of one woman’s self-discovery and I promise to maintain that rawness. I’m not rewriting the doorstop. I’m dusting cobwebs and making it what it should have been––a complete package with Juliet + Kinky Sex Magic.
Can I do it?
I really don’t know.
But I’m seriously considering trying. I understand I will not be able to bring it up to the 2019 writerly version of myself, but I can, for a lack of better words, clean it the fuck up. It’s not an accurate depiction of my writing today, nor will it ever be. I hasten to say most debuts are not, but I believe this one book deserves the time and energy of making it what I envisioned of it being –– Juliet and Kinky Sex Magic intertwined into one volume.
I won’t bore you with a long, sordid history of this debut manuscript. I wrote it in 2014, published in 2015, and completely rewrote it with revisions published at the end of 2016. Yet, it still isn’t where I long for it to be and it’s become the thorn in my side.
I push for the words. I fight for the words. I demand the words. Conveying the darkness in my words serves as the light in my mind––all these things I didn’t know in 2014.
Writing is how I deal with real life.
I’m not debating the reader’s interpretation; I’m debating the details of my debut, the piece I longed to paint. Much like the story, the cover––to my knowledge, what I can find in my folders of yesteryear––has gone through 10 revisions.
The black/white/red “The Blacks” are the newest version of the covers and they match with The Story of Salvatore covers.
TAT covers are “The Platinums” for those of you keeping track.
A note about covers…I have been known to frequently change them. At one of the recent shows, someone arrived at my table with this copy of Son of Saint below. The silver is likely the only copy of that cover in existence because I left it up briefly (like mere days) because I hated it so much. I missed the blue on Deacon Cruz’s Son of Saint.
SONS Series Current Covers:
My point in all of this is evolution.
My evolution. My growth arc. Sal’s growth arc.
Things change – words and covers – and the ultimate story remains the same, but the brush strokes are mine to improve upon or take a lesson out of. If I don’t cry or laugh when I’m writing, it’s not worthy, or it needs help. One or the other.
I hear words like music; I have to feel them.
It is my journey. It is my art. It is my thing––these Kailee books.
Thank you for being a part of it, joining me on it, and reading my words.
P.S. And I’m being a bad marketing girl by not including links, but this was about feeding my creative juju, not sales. And one final thought…
Words cannot express the heartache…
Over the years, I’ve been profoundly moved, inspired, and blessed by the wit and wisdom of Ms. Morrison. Lyrical writers lost a beacon today; humanity lost a gift. Thank the graces, we have her words to carry on. So many lessons from a Master of the Craft…
“The pinnacle for me as a writer is really…
the writing…the next book…doing it better and better…every time out.”
– Toni Morrison
Peace. Love. & Sal. 🖤🥀
May love & light shine upon you & yours.
And as always, I thank you for your time,