Welcome to Jean Johnson's
As some of you may know, I've started a Patreon account, http://Patreon.com/JeanJAuthor, and it's going along well; I've already posted several items of exclusive content for my patrons, photos for creative commons license use, and musings on research, plus sneak peeks at behind-the-scenes editing screen-caps and samples of scenes from upcoming works, plus of course character biographies. However, there are only 14 patrons at the moment, so just think of all the glorious things you're missing out! Feel free to go have a look, and hopefully sign up to help support me.
There is also a GoFundMe link. Unlike the Patreon (which is a constant monthly thing, but you get exclusive content access), this is a one-shot donation crowdfunding system with no timelimit. In other words, you could donate $5. You could donate $500. (And have me screaming and crying in shock--but hey, you'd totally rock!) You could donate it later, or donate it now. You could donate on the web, or sitting on a cow. In fact, you can come back, and donate more if you like. Or not. Or a lot--donate while on a hike!
Remember, the vast majority of authors don't make anywhere near what people assume we make. (On the other hand, I promise if my books go viral, I'll share this stuff for free with everyone!)
There is also something fairly serious I want to say to everyone. You can skip this part and go down to the last handful of paragraphs, starting with the paragraph/line "That is my promise to you," or keep reading, your choice.
It's normally considered polite to "not say anything bad" about another author's book, as a sign of professional respect...but during the recent media storm and counter-storm regarding the movie adaptation of "Fifty Shades of Gray" being released on Valentine's Day (which I will call FSoG for short), I have decided to put my reputation as an author on the line.
Now, to get this absolutely clear: I do not object to the existence of FSoG. I think it has every right to exist as a written work. Furthermore, I came from fanfiction myself; I know what gets written in fanfic genres. I know the quality of writing can also vary widely from...well, juvenile quality of the sort which most people would never dare show in public, to highly sculpted, truly beautiful prose of a level I myself am still trying to somehow magically attain (i.e. take several more years of hard work and practice). I therefore have no problems with that side of things, either. And if the novels (there are 3, fyi) were written to be, say, psychological horror stories / abuse survivor stories, I'd have no problems with the subject matter at all.
However, I do have a problem with FSoG being promoted as something good, desirable, and emulatable in a romantic relationship.
This series has been repeatedly analyzed by experts in fields of psychology, psychiatry, domestic abuse, AND the kink communities out there, as an utterly unhealthy relationship. These experts in their fields pretty much all agree that the majority of the three stories are not at all romantic, and in fact are rather alarming when considered in the light of the way FSoG and its sequels have been promoted as something which men and women should want, should aspire to, should seek out, and should emulate in their own lives. Indeed, the experts pretty much agree that the FSoG books appear to be romanticized domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is a subject which I take very seriously. It is not romantic.
So, as an alternative to reading FSoG, I offer my own books. I am throwing my romance genre novels out there as well-written, erotically romantic novels filled with healthy consensual relationships. I personally guarantee that my romance stories will always contain realistically healthy relationships as well as good quality erotic moments and kink based on the kink communities' shared motto of "Safe, Sane, & Consensual."
...Now, I have been challenged as to why I choose to promote my own books over anyone else's. There are lots of well-written erotic romances with healthy relationships, and I admit that freely. However, I have no control over whether or not those authors have always written, or even will always continue to write, healthy erotic relationships...because I'm not the one writing those stories. I'm the one writing my own stories, and only my own stories, and thus I can guarantee only the stories that I myself personally write. It's a bit of a duh, but apparently it has to be said for clarification's sake. Which is why I am saying I am hereby putting my reputation on the line.
If you think my romance relationships in my romance novels are anywhere as unhealthy as FSoG, let me know and we will talk about it. Heck, if you think they are even half as unhealthy as FSoG, or a quarter as unhealthy, let me know and we will talk about it. We will discuss things in polite and respectful ways, listening to both sides. I'm pretty sure none of my stories will ever require that kind of a talk, because I promise you, if I write any story with domestic abuse or domestic violence in a relationship, I will NEVER glorify it as romantic, desirable, or something everyone should emulate in the way they interact with other people.
As writers, we are free to write whatever we want. But books have power; books can shape cultural and social ideas. Books can infiltrate the subconscious ways we view the world, and thus interact with the world. As authors, we do have a responsibility to try to promote healthy ideas, emulatable ideas, desirable ideas. Domestic abuse, stalking, verbal, emotional, financial, and/or physical assault--or things that are worse--these things are not romantic, and they will never be.
You will never find me glorifying them in my novels. I might write in that sort of relationship because those things happen, but I will never promote it as romantic, and will try to instead work in the message that this is wrong, that there are ways to get out of those relationships, and that the fault lies with the abuser, never the abused, it's never a case of "If I just love him enough, he'll stop hitting me." That's not romance. That's abuse. And that's not going into my romances as the big story theme.
That is my promise to you.
With all that solemnly said...ironically, it will still be a little while before my next romance novel gets released. Apparently the people over at Ace Books, I don't know, won a thumb-wrestling competition or something of that sort, just to see whether they, Intermix, or Berkley Sensations would get to have the next set of my novels released first.
As mentioned, Ace Books won the coin-toss or the pub darts game tally, or whatever: THE TERRANS (book 1 of the First Salik War series) has been accepted by my editor (she loved it and thinks it'll be great for both new readers and those already familiar with the books of the Theirs Not series) and is now sitting on my computer desktop, waiting for me to get back to wading through the copy-edits. It should be released the last Tuesday in July. Book 2, THE V'DAN, is under construction now, and should be released at the turn of 2015-2016 (either the end of December or the end of January), and THE ALLIANCE will follow after that. Look for them in mass market paperback as the year progresses.
Intermix (ebook format, followed by eventual paperback release, and I can only imagine them having lost the chili-cook-off contest to Ace but having come in second place with the bowling tournament, ahead of third place Berkley) has pushed back the release of my high fantasy Flame Sea series, starting with DAWN OF THE FLAME SEA, to spring of 2016. These are half-size novels, around 50k words instead of over 100k, and after finishing up the First Salik War series, I will go right to work on the second and third ebook novels of the Flame Sea universe.
And lastly--and most patiently and very graciously--the Berkley Sensations imprint will eventually get to release THE TEMPLE (Guardians of Destiny book 4)...which is still on my To Be Written list, as I have science fiction and fantasy piled up in front of it. Which is actually okay, because THE TEMPLE will have bdsm in it, and with my reputation being put on the line, I will want to make abso-darn-lutely sure that everything I write into it passes the Safe, Sane, & Consensual criteria of the kink community...including vetting the story and scenes past a handful of community experts before it goes to print.
In the meantime, don't forget my Patreon; if nothing else, you'll be less bored while you wait for the next book to come out, because you'll have nifty, exclusive things to see!
P.S. ...Actually, I don't know if they had any bowling tournament or thumb wrestling contests, or anything of the like. I just think it's amusing to imagine Ace, Berkley, and Intermix mixing it up in polite little contests of some sort. It's also kind of flattering that three different imprints/publishing sub-houses are all eager to produce my works. I like to think it's because I'm writing good stories with healthy relationships between the various main and secondary characters. Yes, even the non-romances.