It’s the day before the release of my seventeenth book, Tough. You would think that this ritual would get less stressful as time goes on, but it really doesn’t. I still feel as anxious as I did as a student waiting for my grades to come back on a huge project. I worry about whether you as the reader will like the storyline, understand the characters or even get my silly jokes. This happens every time I release a book. But, for some reason, it’s especially true with Tough. It is fair to say that Tough is not your usual lighthearted, fluffy romance.

Although it is still at its heart an old-fashioned romance, Savannah and Casey are quite beat up by life on the way to their own happily ever after. I worry that my story of romance with hard edges may not be accepted well. This was a very difficult story to write and I I hope I did justice to the victims who shared their personal stories with me. So, the wait to hear feedback from all of you has been excruciating. It is my hope that if you haven’t given the romance genre a chance because you thought the stories were cotton candy sweet and inconsequential, you’ll give my books a shot. Fifteen percent of my net profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the Polaris Project to help stop human trafficking.

I’m going to go hide in my writing cave and pretend I’m not incredibly nervous. Yes, my inner teenager who wants to be well-liked and popular surfaces every once in a while — I’m going to go talk her off the proverbial ledge and feed her some Oreo cookies while I wait for reviews to come in…

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