Last December, I took my 16-book series, the Presley Thurman Mystery Series, off sale. I did it after much thinking and praying about what the best course of action for me was. I started writing the Presley Thurman Cozy Mysteries over ten years ago when I was not even close to the writer I am now. The series wasn’t true to the cozy mystery trope or what readers expected, and it just wasn’t the best representation of my work.
Now what many of my peers advised me to do, and to be honest, it’s the same advice I would give someone who might ask me, “Should I rewrite an entire 16 book series or just let it ride?” was to let it ride. End the series and move on with a new series, and don’t look back.
I didn’t disagree with that advice. Not then and not now. The problem was I couldn’t let go. The Presley Thurman cozy series was my first series, and it meant so much to me. The thought of ending the series and leaving it as is knowing something so important to me wasn’t done to the best of my ability just didn’t feel right. I thought I owed it to my characters and my readers, to myself, to make Presley the best she could be.
When I took the books off sale, I had a plan. I had a great plan. What is that saying, “We plan, God laughs?”
Most people thought 2020 was a train wreck of a year. 2020, for me, was a piece of cake compared to what 2021 has been. I can honestly say it has been the most challenging year of my adult life, including going through my divorce.
As I tried to navigate the new normal and keep up with all my obligations, I felt distressed and the weight of having 16 books that were crucial to my income, continuing to sit there, and sit there, and sit there… you get the picture. There was no end in sight of them being published.
In a moment of uncharacteristic weakness for me, because I firmly believe that I am Wonder Woman and can accomplish anything effortlessly, I called the one person who is most important to my writing career, Claire. Telling her something had to change, I couldn’t make it past noon without crying, and I needed to make my life easier. At least for the rest of the year.
I think many of us know that out of great adversity sometimes comes to our best ideas. A few days later, Claire and I met up, and she had a brilliant idea. She told me she thought instead of our original vision of completely revamping a series. Our initial plan was quite aggressive, leaving the main characters alone but changing everything else; she proposed tweaking it. Because it did need to be a little bit cozier, but not to the extent we were going to. And that she would help me go through those books, and together, we could make this happen.
I left that meeting feeling a huge weight lifted. I had not realized how much those books not on sale, and my feeling that I was never going to be able to fix them and get them back on sale weighed on me. That weekend I went into my files, and the first book in the series was almost done, much to my surprise. I have been so stressed out this year; I hadn’t realized the majority of the work on that book had been completed. We could polish it, have the beta readers review it, and it went up for sale. Another weight lifted off my shoulders.
Stilettos and Scoundrels went on sale in August, and Necklaces and Nooses went up in October. I waited to post this until we had a few in the series up, and since Handbags and Hooligans is currently with the beta readers, I felt it was time to unveil the revamped series.
I am ecstatic to present the new and improved Stilettos and Scoundrels and Necklaces and Nooses, Presley Thurman Cozy mysteries to all you fabulous readers. I will not commit to a release date for the other books, but I can safely say that we will also have Handbags and Hooligans and Mistletoe and Murder on sale by the end of the year.
As you run over to Amazon to download your copy, please keep this in mind. Life is hard, it sucks sometimes, but just when you think there might not be help or an avenue, if you look hard enough and ask for help, you can usually find one.