One of my first publishers, Amber Quill Press, announced to it’s authors it was closing it’s doors on March 31st.
I’m saddened by this, but to say it wasn’t expected would not be true. I just didn’t expect it this year, perhaps. I know, for my own part, this business has changed in ways I sure wasn’t happy about, and I can only imagine publishers like AQP weren’t either.
But when the world changes, you either change with it, or it bucks you off and you land on your ass. My ass may look soft and cushy, but I hate to tell you, it ain’t made for those hard falls.
One of the things I learned very early in my writing career was this is a business. You must be professional. I’ve been lucky in that the companies I’ve worked with, barring one or two, have been very professional.
AQP was very professional, and I thank the owners for that, back then and now. Even when I was struggling to adapt, asking for the rights on a few books, they dealt with me professionally.
I have about 15 books with them, mostly novellas, but one of my favorite books, David’s Dilemna, was with them. When I decided to write a romance about a gay man struggling with his father’s Alzheimer’s, they told me, sure. Write it. This is your career and you decide what to put out there. I have to say, “Thank you, AQP.” That was certainly a book of my heart, written when my own father was struggling with the onset of the disease. The book didn’t make tons of money for me, but oh, the letters I received from readers, most who were living with care-taking a parent. They touched and moved me to tears, as did this book when I wrote it. At the first GRL, I read an excerpt from this book, and broke down sobbing. I was so embarrassed at the time, but I’ve learned over the years, I shouldn’t have been. It was just the “feels” as many told me.
At AQP I wrote a series of novellas set before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is my home town, will always be home to me and I wanted to give back. To tell about the strength and resilience of a city and it’s people in the face of an incredible disaster. AQP let me do those books. Pinky Swear, Pioneers, and C’est La Vie, were about two young men torn apart, then brought together by the disaster, and about Sebastian, their 70 yr old gay landlord, and what is was like being gay in New Orleans in the sixties, and who gets a second chance to love. Again, not huge sellers, but so from my heart.
In No Good Deed, I wrote about a bi-sexual Chinese-American small town cop in Texas, who falls for a highly traumatized gay man who can’t be touched by a man, and must make a decision to out himself or give up any hope for love.
In a climate where writing scenes of m/f sex (after all this man is bi-sexual, although he prefers men) got my book kicked off review sites, or was told the sex was squicky, AQP stood by my choices as an artist.
I think my most adventurous writing was done for them. Horror. Gothic. Science Fiction. Historical. I could take a chance there, knowing it was up to me to fail or succeed. AQP let me step out on my own, decide what I wanted to write, what heat levels, who my characters would be, and their age.
I had a writing schedule all laid out for this year – three m/m books, three m/f books. Now, I have 15 books I have to do something with. It’s a chunk of my backlist, and it’s equal to $$$, so I can’t just let them sit there. Decisions must be made before March, but I have time to figure it out. And I have the help of my hubs, who promised me he’d do all the formatting and uploading so I can write. Once again, he comes to my rescue!
So even though my books might not be up and running on April 1st, they will show up! I’ll send out FB posts, or maybe even a newsletter. You’ll find them on Amazon and ARe, in various formats, and with new covers!
Or you can buy them now, at Amber Quill’s site! (Hint hint)
So again, thank you to Amber Quill Press, for taking a chance on my and letting my imagination and my talent run wild. I hope that the monkey wrench gods are kind to the owners and that they succeed and prosper in their next undertakings.