It took seven years from the initial idea and rough draft, a few rounds of developmental edits, a set of line edits, and proofing to FINALLY get this story to the finish line! I am so thrilled that AFRD will get to be put in readers hands after all this time.
I had initial wrote Luke and Ollie for a prompt, but felt that the constraints of the guidelines (under 35,000 words and a few others) didn't do the story justice. It felt like a story that desperately wanted to breathe and break out of its confines. I also had the added challenge of being an Aussie trying to write a story set in the USA. Ow! It got put aside for other projects that needed my focus once I decided the story deserved better.
I knew it needed some rework and a chance to percolate. Some of the ideas needed shelved while I needed to figure out what I wanted for my characters and the world. I was then going to submit it to a specific book line and started tweaking it for that, however, that idea also fell through.
Work had also started taking all of my hours, leaving me very drained and with little energy and motivation to write. Being able to create when I had no time is a hard slog.
Then everything finally came together. I changed jobs, finally got more time to myself, those pesky developmental edits finally came through, and then it was time to write. The story deals with a lot of different issues, and one of those is mental health. I wanted to make sure I got it right because it's such a sensitive issue. Mental health issues are different for different people, and each individual deals with trauma differently. I wanted to be able to have a conversation around that topic within the mystery of the story.
Hopefully you all will see that all the careful effort has paid off.
Another thing to note is that I talked with the publisher (my MCB!) and we have decided to do an initial release through Kindle Unlimited for 3 months before releasing the book wide. It has been a couple years since my last release and I worry that readers have forgotten about me. To give the story a little push, we have decided KU is the best way to go. But never fear! Releases at all the usual places will happen, just 3 months from February 28th.
A Where Things Are At Update
To my readers who have been patiently waiting for updates for different series, thank you for your continuing patience. I know some of your favorites get books out to you more often, and I haven't. Between my EDJ and being a single mom, I have had my hands full for the past couple years. It's made it hard to get my creative juices flowing after some really long work days. I love my boys and would hate to give them any less than what they deserve.
Things are turning around, bit by bit. I was stuck on Jordan's Accidental Adoption for a long while. The story wasn't going how I planned it. I had to take a step back. Then life took over.
The good news is the first draft of Jordan's Accidental Adoption was finished while COVID19 shut down the NT. I'm working through developmental edits now—ugh, the slog! After I get through those *crosses fingers for THIS weekend* it's off to get line edits and such.
We have 17 November 2020 set aside for its release! In case you forgot, say hello to Nicor—my gamer hellhound.
Jordan's Accidental Adoption
Away from home on a hunt in less familiar territory, Nicor gets hit by the unexpected—his mate. Changing course for the hellhounds of Australia in unexpected ways.
The hunt is on for the merpeople kidnapping young women and making them disappear without a trace. Each dead end leads to more frustration, making Nicor feel the weight of each missing woman more and more. The police want answers the hellhounds can’t give. A break in the case sends Nicor and his packmates to Sydney—away from home and on less familiar territory. When Nicor and the other hellhounds think they’ve cornered their suspects, an unexpected enemy surfaces and causes mayhem for the hounds—leaving a wounded Nicor behind.
Out and about with friends, Jordan stumbles on an unforeseen complication in his long life—his mate. How could a hellhound be his mate? Weren’t they natural enemies? Jordan knows how other Sups view his kind. To make matters even more problematic, the hound has been hurt and doesn’t seem to remember that he’s a demon from Hell or has a human half. Jordan knows he can’t just walk away, so he takes the hellhound back home to his refuge and studio.
One fateful encounter after a gallery showing changes both their worlds forever. The amnesiac hellhound adopts Jordan as his human. Only problem is Jordan isn’t human, and he’s not sure his mate will accept all of him when the hound’s memory returns.
When Sups go bump in the night, the hounds bump back.
Isn't Nicor gorgeous? I can't wait to share him and Jordan with you. These boys gave me some trouble, but they got it together in the end! ;)
It's actually what comes before. :D Remember this? A one-off set in the US that I was working on forever ago? As Fire Rains Down almost done!
MCB has set aside 27 October 2020 for its release.
As fire rains down from out-of-control forest fires, Luke finds a hurt but powerful Demi-God in its wake. Those kinds of shifters should only exist in legend and more importantly, is the powerful shifter friend or foe?
Forest fires around California have got everyone working overtime. Between Luke's volunteer rescue efforts as the fires rage and his keeping up with regular police duties in his sleepy hometown of Half Moon Bay, he's barely had time to eat, let alone catch some shut-eye. It doesn't help that some out-of-towners have been pressing locals to sell up because they want to turn the little oasis into a hopping tourist destination.
Half Moon Bay is a place of sanctuary for shifters like Luke, with most of the town being descended from one kind or another. It's an open secret among the locals. One they're willing to fight to protect.
But the newest flames cutting a path toward town rage hotter and fiercer than normal forest fires. Something isn't right. Finding an overpowered elk shifter in the forest as it burns down around him and Luke causes more confusion—everyone knows those kinds of shifters exist only in legend—and the questions just keep jumping the firebreaks, especially when a dark presence falls on the town and their homes start burning too.
So what does everyone think? Exciting? I can't wait for you to meet Luke and Ollie. (American English, why did I think it was smart to set a book in the US again?)
Okay, so really, what's next?
That's a good question. I recently made some goals for myself, and I hope I can live up to them. I have plans. Scary.
Even if my two almost ready releases don't quite make the exact days, they will be released this year. No doubt about it. The rest, well... here's the semi-short version.
I'll be releasing the first three Smokey Mountain Bear books in audio starting around the holidays. :D There is a reason for this, but let's look at the lovely audio covers done by Catherine Dair.
Why now, Toni? It's my goal to release two novellas and two novels each year going forward. Hopefully I can meet that. Because it's my goal to start finishing up some series next couple years.
The first will be my Smokey Mountain Bear sleuth. It's also the next book I'm working on after Jordan wraps up. There are two more books in the series and these stories a fun little bit-size pieces of PNR fluff that I love. It's time to wrap these boys up in bows and give them away. It's my goal to release the final novella Christmas time next year.
The other two series I'm looking to finish are The Atherton Pack and Hounds of the Hunt. They won't get finished next year, but I want a book in each out. These books have turned into longer novels for me, and the hounds take some special planning since they fight the bad Sups. Between Smokey Mountain Bears and two more in each of those series, that matches my own goal of two novellas and two novels in a year.
If all goes according to plan, that would mean The Atherton Pack and Hounds of the Hunt will finish up in 2022. My wolves only have two more books while my hounds have three.
All of these will be getting audio releases as well—for as long as you guys want me writing, I will. I am grateful for all the support you have given me all these years.
Once my bears, wolves and hounds—oh my! finish up, I'm taking a look at what series I will wrap up next, and which to dust off the shelves. Yes, I haven't forgotten my books that haven't been re-released. I have plans after all. (No, Max, I haven't forgotten you. Plans, I said.)
The Borillian Twist's first book has been sitting out there all by its lonesome and sorely needs some love, just like my boys. Ah, how I miss my one sci-fi mpreg series. Wouldn't everyone love to see where I go with that? I also have my Fear series—my lone contemp series. I haven't quite decided what I want to do but I have idea. Then there's my shelved series--Tassie Wolves, The Thompson Agency, and Hot Encounters.
There is a reason I haven't put these back out. I didn't want to just publish them and leave them hanging. Life has been in the way. I have to find a balance between my books and my life. So, I've been sitting on them until I've got more books in the series to give to you guys. It seems only fair that when I release them again that I give you more of them. ;)
Hopefully my plans will work themselves out. Just like with the upcoming year, I will be rotating which series I work on, trying to finish what I have out there first then moving onto the spin-offs or working in the next series on rotation.
Wish me luck!
Toni Griffin lives in Darwin, the smallest of Australia's capital cities. Born