It just occurred to me that my historical fiction novel Shades of Gray reached its 11-month anniversary on Dec. 19. Hard to believe that almost a whole year has flown by since its publication date — and my goodness, what a year it has been!
I can barely remember the feeling of opening that first box of books and looking at the finished product of so many years of work. I think I knew that, rather than being the end of a journey, it was a whole new beginning of another. Marketing and selling became my main focus, and thanks to a few wise choices (mixed in with oh so many wrong ones) Shades of Gray climbed to #3 on the Amazon Best-Seller list in the Romance/Historical category. (Gone with the Wind is #1)
There have been other successes as well, including a Gold Medal for Best Regional Fiction in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards and a Silver Medal in the same category in the prestigious IPPY awards. If nothing else, these achievements helped bolster my confidence, and gave me more credibility as an author in the eyes of my readers.
But awards and accolades from the industry are really nothing when compared to the response of readers. I didn’t write Shades of Gray with the intention of making money or because I thought it would make me famous. I wrote it to tell a story of honor and courage; to share with readers the heartache and despair of the War Between the States, and to perhaps instill some understanding of the sacrifices and suffering that those who chose to defend their native soil endured.
To the readers who have contacted me, or written about Shades of Gray, I simply cannot thank you adequately with words. You have helped give credence to my belief that there are still people out there who enjoy a classic love story that promotes the values and virtues this great country was founded upon. And you have shown the publishing world that a romance that promotes the principles of true and everlasting love is not a thing of the past.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!