In 2016 I launched a new series – Champions of Desire. Book one is Showing Him the Ropes, a m/m romance with mentor-mentee, older-younger, secret office romance tropes. Chance is in the twilight of his professional wrestling career, while Devin is an emerging talent. I love the story, the characters, and the idea for the entire series. I’m a huge fan of professional wrestling and I’ve watched off and on since I was a kid. I was excited to write a series set in one of my favorite settings.
But… I was also nervous. I’m well aware that a lot of people who aren’t professional wrestling fans, look down on wrestling. My own mother always asks my dad, ‘Why are you watching that? It’s fake.’ It’s pretty easy to see that there are very few books with professional wrestling as the backdrop. There’s lots of MMA but romance featuring main characters who work the squared circle for a living are few and far between.
So I had fear. What if it bombed? What if Reddit Squared Circle got a hold of the book, and there was a huge thread making fun of it, and then they all went on a one-star review spree on Amazon?! Oh my god the horror. Or, even worse, what if a professional wrestler came across it and dogged it out on Twitter for all the world to see?
Yeah. I’m dramatic AF and make up worst case scenarios in my head all the time.
For the record, none of that happened. In fact, a professional wrestler friend of mine gave me some cool encouragement and advice on places to promote the book. But. When it was released, Ropes didn’t do well. The people who did read it really loved it! I received lots of positive messages, and the reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and the blog tour were solid. Thanks everyone! On the other hand, sales wise… Yeesh. It was painful. There could have been several factors at play there.
1) Maybe the blurb wasn’t that hot.
2) Maybe readers didn’t like the cover.
3) Maybe the story sucked.
The biggest failure lies with me, however. I didn’t promote it as much as I should have. One, I was in the middle of leaving my day job at the time and deciding to put my house up for sale at the same time I was finishing and releasing the book. I was uncomfortable at that job and my time management for doing multiple things at once is negative 1 on a scale of 1 - 10. Basically I was under a lot of personal stress while I was birthing Showing Him the Ropes into the world. I also didn't take into account the shifting dynamics of the ebook market and the challenges of starting a new series.
But if I could be painfully honest with you guys, the biggest problem was my own fear. I was so scared that people wouldn’t like or would make fun of the book that I did that thing where I sort of run and hide so I don’t have to face any possible criticism. Which meant I didn’t promote Chance and Devin very much.
So when sales were poor (and I mean pooooor) I said to myself, “Self. That series is DOA. Nobody wants to read a wrestling romance. Pack it up and move on." But I have another but. Readers kept reaching out to me and asking would there be a book two. They wanted Tre and Brandon’s story. And you know what? I wanted their story too. I took some time, thought about it and realized I didn’t give my sexy wrestling dudes a fair shake.
As a result, I’ve decided to re-launch the Champions of Desire series. Yay! I worked with my amazing editor Jae Ashley to tighten Chance and Devin’s story and write a more dynamic blurb. I also wanted a fresh start with the cover, so after a hilarious cover model selection poll on Twitter and Facebook, I reached out to Melody Simmons at BookCoversCre8tive to give Showing Him the Ropes a brand-new look. I think Chance and Devin look very nice together.
When a Gruff Veteran Meets an Irrepressible Rookie, Who Will Come Out on Top?
Chance “The Chancellor” Gerhardt – multi-time champion and respected veteran of the locker room – worries he’s entering the twilight of his professional wrestling career. All he wants is one more shot at a championship title run. Instead, his boss saddles him with mentoring a hot, young rookie, Devin Jacobs.
Devin has admired The Chancellor for years, and he’s thrilled to work up close and personal with the steely eyed older wrestler. But while Devin learns from his mentor, he can’t resist admiring the man’s deliciously burly physique.
Trapped together in the intimacy of late-night road trips and shared hotel rooms, longing glances lead to whispered confessions of desire. Devin would love to bring a little warmth and sexiness to his hero’s cold and solitary life. Unfortunately, Chance refuses the rookie’s flirting. After years in the business, he knows their careers will be ruined if their relationship is discovered by the fans. But Devin won’t let that fear stop him from going after everything he wants – championship gold and the man he desires.
Can Devin find a way to prove to Chance that they can have it all? Or will their shot at love be defeated 1-2-3?
If you haven’t read it yet, Showing Him the Ropes is currently on sale for .99 on Amazon, Kobo, B&N, and Apple (Apple link coming soon).
I’m also very happy to announce that book 2 in the Champions of Desire series will be available in March! Tre and Brandon have their own story with In His Corner. If you’d like an early look at the cover as well as a sneak peek, sign up for my Newsletter.
In the coming weeks I’ll have goodies and free short stories, so be sure to follow me on social media or subscribe to this blog. I’m excited. Sexy wrestling dudes for the win.
Thanks for reading!
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Showing Him the Ropes: Amazon, Kobo, B&N
My rambling and not at all edited thoughts on romance novels, writing, and pop culture.