Type my name into Amazon, then sort by publication date, and you’ll find books of mine that you’ve never heard of. Take First, Best and Only. Originally published in 1986, a first-ever hardcover edition is coming in March. I didn’t know this until I checked the Amazon list myself, which is often the only way I can find out when my early books are being reissued. Once I sell pub rights to a publisher (as I did First, Best and Only to Harlequin), they don’t have to ask my permission. They don’t even have to let me know.
Is this sad, or what? I mean, these books are my children. At the time I wrote it, I poured my heart and soul into each. To be so out of contact with them now is troublesome. It is also, quite honestly, short-sighted of the publisher. I have a website, a blog, and an active Facebook page. I can let my readers know about these books, which is good for sales, right?
That said, there was a time when I wanted to keep my old books under wraps. My newer ones are very different – longer, cleaner in style, and focused on an issue that has as much to do with family relationships as romantic love. In the last decade, I wanted readers to think of me more broadly as a writer of fiction, rather than a writer of romance. When old books pop up out of the blue, they confuse newer readers, who expect one thing and get another.
More oldies are coming, though, and now I’m totally on board. Sixteen of my very first books, all of which have been out of print for more than a dozen years, are being reissued as ebooks in 2012 and 2013. The first four – The Forever Instinct, Jasmine Sorcery, First Things First, and Straight From the Heart – will be published in May. There will also be several two-in-one print editions, the first of which, titled Warm Hearts and containing Heat Wave and A Special Something, is being published in September.
Why am I on board? I reread the above books over the holidays, and loved them! Yes, there are vintage moments, like the music-loving heroine buying a record (no CDs, DVDs, or MP3 players) and the hero of another going straight through an airport to the gate (no security). But my writing style is intact, and these books are rich with feeling. They’re easy reads, they’re sexy, and they’re fun.
Still prefer the newer, longer books? Here’s a tip. When you find a book of mine that you didn’t know was coming, always, always check the copyright date. These old books are good – I do love each and every one, just like I love my kids – but they’re different.
Good but different. Isn’t that the way of people everywhere?