It may seem strange to some people that I've suddenly decided to self-publish a book even though I've now got a publisher. And maybe it is a strange thing to be doing, but to me it's something I need to do. For the sake of my own sanity.
At the time of writing this I have absolutely no idea when my next book with Harper Impulse is due out. I haven't even started doing revisions on it yet so we're probably talking a few months, at least, before my next release through them is published. And I know I already have one book out with Harper Impulse (The First Christmas Without You) but that's a Christmas book, and, to be quite honest, if people really want to buy a Christmas book in the Spring they're going to buy it regardless of how much promoting I do.
I need to be turning my attention to something else for a little while, and yes, I'm currently almost three-quarters of the way through the final installment of the Striker trilogy, but that's coming along really well and I have time to put that to one side for a short while and concentrate on this self-published bonus project.
Remember at the back end of 2013 I wrote a full-length novel in just six weeks, concerning a sexy Sheriff and a small town full of secrets? Well, I've been sitting on that finished book for a couple of months now, wondering just what to do with it - do I hang on to it and see whether it's worth submitting it? Do I push it to one side and forget about it? Or do I just get it out there? So, after thinking long and hard about this, and changing my mind on more than one occasion because I didn't - and I still don't - know if it's the right thing to do, I've decided to just bite the bullet and get it out there! It never was written with the intention of submitting. It was written because, at the time, I needed a distraction. I'd just had "the call" from Charlotte over at Harper Impulse, but it was still something I had to keep to myself, so, to distract me and keep me occupied I wrote this book. It also helped that I'd just started watching 'Justified', and the ever-gorgeous Timothy Olyphant's character of Raylan Givens had given me more inspiration than I could cope with, so that book just flowed out of me! And I'm really quite proud of it. Is it good enough to be submitted? Hell, yes! Of course it is! So why aren't I submitting it, then? Good question. I don't know. I guess I'm just impatient. I want it out there now, and the only way I can do that is to publish it myself. Because I need another distraction. Not because there are any more secrets I have to keep, but because I need a project to concentrate on while I wait for work on my next Harper Impulse release to start.
|Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in 'Justified' - pure inspiration...|
So, I've just started the final round of editing on 'Unbreakable'. A story of two people, from two completely different worlds, and a town full of secrets that threaten to tear them apart. It's a love story, and it's another HOT love story with a good dose of sex and a hot and handsome hero to fall in love with.
Want to check out the first chapter? Go on, then. I'll let you have a sneaky peek...
‘Oh, come on, Mason. You’re really going out looking like that?’
Cassidy Cooper watched as her son threw himself down in front of her at the bottom of the stairs. Dressed in torn jeans, black t-shirt and heavy army boots, his dark hair all messed-up and spiked in various different directions, layers of black leather bands covering both wrists, she still couldn’t get over how handsome he was. And that wasn’t just because he was her son. He really was a good-looking kid.
‘What’s wrong?’ Mason looked at his mum with a genuinely baffled expression, and Cassidy couldn’t help but smile. He was seventeen-years-old for heaven’s sake. Which meant there really wasn’t anything wrong with the way he looked at all. It was just her, being all protective again. He was growing up, and she had to get used to that, whether she wanted to or not.
‘Nothing,’ Cassidy sighed, smiling as she surreptitiously yanked his rather-too-low-slung jeans back up his hips. ‘There’s nothing wrong. You look fine. You look like a rock star. Although, you could do with eating a bit more. You’re way too skinny for my liking.’
Mason took a step back, grinning at his mum, and Cassidy couldn’t help but grin back. Her beautiful boy. And she loved him more than life itself.
‘You know, the band’s really coming together, Mum. And now that Si’s dad’s bought us that drum kit we can start rehearsing properly, maybe even line up a few gigs.’
‘Whoa, slow down there, kiddo. You should be concentrating on getting things ready for university. The band should be taking a back seat for now.’
‘Yeah, whatever. I couldn’t borrow a tenner, could I? Please?’
‘What happened to the money you got from Sid?’
‘Come on, Mum. Sid pays me peanuts. I help him fix the odd car and he bungs me a couple of fivers. That wouldn’t pay for an hour in the pub.’
‘You shouldn’t even be in the pub yet, mister,’ Cassidy pointed out, turning around to look for her purse.
‘I’m a couple of weeks away from turning eighteen. A couple of weeks. What difference does that make?’
‘A lot. If you’re caught. Here – and that’s all you’re getting, so make it last.’
Mason rolled his eyes as he took the notes Cassidy held out, shoving them in his jacket pocket before leaning over to kiss her on the cheek. ‘You’re the best, Mum.’
‘Yeah. And don’t you forget it, kiddo.’
‘I won’t be late. Promise.’
‘You got your phone?’ Cassidy shouted after him as he ran out of the front door.
He held his phone up over his head without looking back at her as he disappeared down the front path towards the car full of his friends that was parked outside.
Cassidy waited until they’d pulled away before stepping back inside, closing the door behind her. She leaned back against it, taking a few seconds to catch her breath. She was the mother of a soon-to-be-eighteen-year-boy, and sometimes she still found it hard to get her head around that. The years had flown by so quickly. It didn’t seem five minutes since Mason was starting nursery school, yet here she was, about to watch him head off to university. He was growing up fast, and that meant that, every day, she was left with a feeling of impending emptiness at the thought of being alone. For eighteen years it had been just her and Mason. She’d been a young mum, just eighteen herself when she’d given birth to him, and from that second on he’d become her world. Everything she’d done had revolved around him, and she’d done everything in her power to give him the best life she could, with the help of her mum, of course. Without her she knew she wouldn’t have been able to cope. Not all the time. But the thought of Mason leaving home, starting a new life that didn’t involve her, it scared her. More than she cared to admit.
Walking back into the living room she switched on the TV, desperate to alleviate the silence that filled her small but comfortable little house. A silence that always seemed to descend whenever Mason wasn’t around. And silence gave her far too much time to think, about things she’d never really thought all that much about before – things she’d tried not to think about, anyway. But with her son about to turn eighteen, those thoughts kept creeping back into her head with alarming regularity now.
She sat down on her huge, over-sized couch, sinking back into the cushions and closing her eyes. She should really make the most of having the house to herself. She could run a nice hot bath, light some candles, listen to some music. It was the perfect opportunity to kick back and relax. She smiled, keeping her eyes closed as she sank further back into the pile of cushions behind her. Or, she could just stay right where she was, dig out that box-set she’d starting watching last night; take advantage of the peace and quiet. There was a bottle of wine in the fridge, too. And some of that chocolate cake she’d bought the other day. It’d still be fine, especially if she smothered it in cream. Yes, all of a sudden an empty house seemed like a good thing. She just wasn’t sure she wanted it to last forever.
‘My, don’t you look handsome, Sheriff Everett.’
‘Coffee, Jolene. And make it strong.’ Ethan Everett slid onto a stool at the counter of Jolene’s Diner which was, as usual, bursting at the seams as most of Glenville gathered for their breakfast.
‘Something wrong?’ Jolene asked, sliding a mug of steaming hot coffee towards Ethan, who caught it before taking a long sip. ‘You got an asbestos mouth there, Sheriff?’
Ethan threw her a sideways smile, taking another sip of coffee.
‘Still playing the strong, silent type I see,’ Jolene sighed, wiping down the counter in front of her.
‘I’m just not in the mood for conversation, is all.’ Ethan took a look around him; the same old faces, people he’d known all his life. This was a small town, and somewhere he’d never really managed to escape from, even though there’d been times he’d wanted to.
‘I heard about the divorce.’ Jolene stopped wiping and leaned forward, moving closer to Ethan as she spoke, a seductive smile on her pretty face. ‘Does that mean you’re back out there on the open market? ‘Cause I sure would love to try me some of that Everett charm, if you’re a free man.’
Ethan smiled slightly, his eyes locking onto Jolene’s for a second or two. ‘Oh, I’m not sure I’ve ever been a free man.’
‘That doesn’t answer my question, sugar.’
Ethan took another sip of coffee before throwing some money down onto the counter, that sideways smile still there on his handsome face. ‘I think you’ll find that’s right.’ He stood up, tipping his Stetson slightly at Jolene. ‘I’ll see you later, honey. You have a good day now.’
Ethan Everett was Sheriff of Glenville, a small town in central Kentucky. Despite being somewhat of a rebel in his younger days, he was a popular choice; someone the people of Glenville respected. Especially the women. More handsome than any man deserved to be, Ethan Everett had a reputation that preceded him. With dark, unruly hair that – at the age of forty – was now beginning to grey slightly around the edges, deep brown eyes and a constant stubble around his strong jaw line, he was the man every woman in Glenville, no matter what their age, wanted to be with. Sleep with. And most of them had achieved that, at some point or other over the years. Which was the reason why his short-lived marriage to Rayner Marshall, a local girl he’d known since school, had just ended in one hell of a messy divorce. Although, he couldn’t for the life of him think why she’d been quite so upset at finding him with Daisy Harper that Sunday afternoon. She’d known about his reputation long before she’d married him. And it wasn’t like her entire family hadn’t warned her about getting so serious with him. They’d told her it would end in tears, but she’d been so determined to be the one to “tame” Ethan Everett that she’d shut her ears to anything anyone had tried to tell her. Hell, he’d even warned her himself! He’d told her he couldn’t promise fidelity. It wasn’t what he did. But, he’d been curious all the same, to see if Rayner could do what she’d claimed she could do. She couldn’t. It was over. He had his life back.
‘Hey, Sheriff Everett! Great day for the parade, don’t you think?’
Ethan pushed his hat back on his head, resting his arms on the roof of his car. ‘It sure is, Rusty. Not a cloud in the sky. We couldn’t have prayed for better weather. Let’s just hope it stays that way for the fireworks tonight.’
‘Forecast’s good, I know that much. We still set for a 5pm start?’
‘Absolutely. You know how I like these things to run on time.’
‘You’ve never let us down yet, Sheriff.’
‘Give him time.’
Ethan swung around to see Rayner standing behind him, arms folded, her tousled red hair hanging loose around her shoulders. She really was quite pretty, when she wasn’t scowling. And she’d scowled a lot during their short marriage. A hell of a lot.
‘I’ll leave you to it, Sheriff,’ Rusty shouted over, and Ethan raised a hand in acknowledgement, his eyes still fixed on Rayner.
‘You got something to say there, Rayner?’
‘Did you put an ad in the paper or something? The whole town knows about our divorce, Ethan.’
‘Rayner, honey, this is Glenville. The whole town knows when you take a crap, what did you expect? You really thought you could keep this quiet? How in the world did you think that was gonna work, huh?’
‘Jesus, Ethan…’ She pushed a hand through her hair, stomping her foot like a petulant child. ‘I don’t know. I guess when something like this happens it makes you realise what a fishbowl of a town this is.’
‘They were all at the wedding, Rayner. Now they all got front row seats for the d-i-v-o-r-c-e. That’s the way it goes round here. Look, I got somewhere I need to be. You have a good day.’
‘Have a good day? Ethan! I’m your ex-wife, the least you can do is give me five minutes of your time.’
Ethan opened the door of his car, turning to look at Rayner once more. ‘The clue’s in the word “ex”, Rayner. And I’m a very busy man. In case you’d forgotten, it’s parade day today and that means I need to be in five places at once, so forgive me if I haven’t got time to stand here and listen to whatever it is you’re going to nag me about. You’re just not that high on my list of priorities, darlin’. Okay?’
‘I never was, Ethan. That was the whole problem. Maybe if I hadn’t actually married you I would have seen more of you. I’d certainly have had you in my bed more often, I know that much.’
Ethan laughed, pushing his hat forward, shielding his eyes from the morning sun. ‘Well, honey, there you go. What can I say to that, huh?’
‘You’re such a bastard, Ethan Everett.’
‘Yeah, but one good-looking, son-of-a-bitch bastard.’ He threw her a wink, knowing it would irritate the hell out of her. ‘You take care now. I’ll see you at the parade.’
He climbed into his car, slamming the door shut before Rayner had a chance to say anything else. Maybe he hadn’t been completely fair to her over the years, but she was quite capable of looking after herself now, and she knew that. She didn’t need him, and she never really had. She’d just had her feelings hurt because she’d failed to prove she could change him, that was all. She’d get over it. She already had a queue of Glenville men ready and waiting to take his place, and he knew it wouldn’t be long before she was out and about on the arm of more than one of them.
Meanwhile, he had places to be. Things to sort out. He had his life back, and it was time to start living it.
©Michelle Betham 2014
So there it is. Chapter One of 'Unbreakable'. Coming soon to a virtual bookshelf near you!
Am I still sure I'm doing the right thing self-publishing this? No, I'm not. But I need to do something because, after spending years as an indie author, I'm so used to writing and then releasing books in fairly quick succession. Writing is my life. It's what I spend all day almost every day doing, and I never switch off. So I'm writing quicker than I could possibly publish at the minute and what I don't want to end up with is a backlog of books hanging around on my hard drive doing nothing. So I'm self-publishing this one, and while I'm doing that I'm looking forward to getting another release through Harper Impulse out there, too. And as soon as I have any word on when that's happening I'll let you know. Watch this space...
In the meantime, though, I'll be keeping you up-to-date on how progress with 'Unbreakable' is coming along, and letting you know when that will finally be released. But it will definitely be before the end of March, that I can guarantee.
Right then. I'd better get back to that final edit. It's so good to be back with my sexy, maverick Sheriff. I've been missing him...