Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summer Sale - Up to 75% off selected Rachel Dunning Books

Most of my books are currently up for sale at smashwords here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/RachelDunning

They'll be on sale throughout July 2017, some as much as 75% off. Be sure to click the yellow "Buy with Coupon" button.

In other news, I'm planning a series of novelettes / novellas in the very near future, somewhere between YA and mature YA (but not "condescending YA" i.e. YA which contains glaring holes in its plotting because "well, young adults just wouldn't notice...")

Stay tuned.


Saturday, April 29, 2017


I write under different names. Have I mentioned that before? I don't think so; not on this blog. It gets confusing sometimes, managing so many blogs / pen names / opinions / personas.

Rachel Dunning has been, by far, my most successful name. It's the only name under which I write New Adult stories. It's the only name where I can say I have "A Fan Base."

The last year has been...erratic. I had big hopes for Debt. I did a monstrous Book Blogger Tour for the book. It got some wonderful reviews at the start. (I haven't checked them in a while, so I don't know where it stands currently.) I had over 400 blogs participating, one way or another, in getting that book promoted. I was so disappointeed that the book didn't make it as a bestseller. I had been convinced it would.

So I decided to pause "Rachel Dunning" for a while. I had promised a Book Three for the Mind Games trilogy and ended up nuking that project. The only reason I wrote Johnny #4 is that I felt I owed it to my readers. (That series is doing very well on iTunes UK, by the way; and the Naive Mistakes series continues to be a mainstay.)

I wrote some short stories. I actually even managed to get one of them published. (It was awesome, and I even received fan mail for it, and it really brought my spirits up.)

For a long, long time, I have wanted to leave the NA genre. I thought I might try my hand at YA, at something non-cliche (i.e. no vampires!) but I always had reservations of tying up the steamy Rachel Dunning name with a YA story. So I wrote a YA story under a different name, and it didn't take off. So I am left wondering: (a) Is the YA story I wrote not successful because I have no fan base under that name? Or (b) Do I suck as a YA writer, and am I "doomed" to writing only NA stories?

My immediate opinion is that it is possilbly a little of both, with more emphasis on A. Somehow, by whatever gods of good fortune, the Rachel Dunning name got off the ground with Finding North, and the Naive Mistakes series still does well in multiple markets.

I consider this pure luck, because I have tried to emulate the actions and plot elements of that story in other stories, and none have done as well as that series did.

Writing is a funny business; it is a sort of necromancy in many respects.

I don't have an NA story inside me at the moment. I haven't had one in me since I wrote Debt. I have tried to think of one, and I can't come up with something non-cliche. There are plenty of cliche NA stores which make it BIG every day, and I give kudos to those writers who manage to pull those stories off, and be successful at them. But I am not in that place anymore. The first few novels I published were exhilirating. After some moderate success, I became more picky. Debt was a move in the direction of a story which contained more plot and less steam, which wasn't entirely about "an asshole," but about a Bad Boy with heart, a fully-developed character. It was a massive novel, 500 pages or so.

But it didn't take off.

Maybe I will indeed go ahead and write those YA stories under the "Rachel Dunning" name and see what happens; I am not entirely certain yet.

But I am writing, if only not under this name. The goal for me has always been to become a professionally published author, or an author who has "made it" in self-publishing (i.e. a bestselling book which elicits tears of joy and heartbreak from its readers...) That is still the goal. The name, for me, has never been the goal.


Other News
In other news, here are some random tidbits from my life:
- I have discovered Downton Abbey, and am currently on Season One. Please don't tell me what happens! I am hooked...

- I am currently reading Jane Eyre and loving it.

- The Truthful Lies series is now back on iTunes and B&N (it was Kindle-only for a while). So are a few of my others stories which were once also Kindle-only.

- In my part of the world, summer seems to be hiding its head, but I am currently blogging out in the sunshine, with a bluetooth keyboard hooked into my Samsung tablet, getting a sunburn on my forehead, even though the weather forecast says Rain for the entirety of next week.

What's happening in your part of the world?


Monday, August 15, 2016

A little something different...

"Sanguine Press" is putting together an anthology of fantasy stories focusing on people of color as the main characters.

Go on over and support their Indiegogo campaign by pre-ordering one of the ebooks or paperbacks here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/transitions-and-awakenings-no-regrets

(No, I'm not in the anthology, in case you were wondering ;) )

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Genres, writing, books, authors... (And a question for you.)

Heya folks,

Long time no hear. This post is a little long, but I need your advice / opinion at the end, so you might want to grab a coffee before you get started on it, or save the article on your phone for when you're bouncing around on the subway after work.

Before we begin:
Debt has acquired some pretty awesome reviews. Thanks to those of you of who took the time to tap away on your mobile phones or iPads after reading the book to give it a review.

So, here's the deal: For a while (like - a year? two?) I've been wanting to branch out into different genres. Which ones, you ask? Well, that's the problem. Because the genres I dig are not quite the genres my fans are into. Well, I'm not sure. Maybe they are, maybe they're not. The point is - I'm treading on risky, untested ground.

No one likes to mention that dirty and forbidden word when discussing Books or Art (that word being "money.") But it is an unfortunate fact that one must indeed consider the level of potential sales for a novel before writing it, and then balance that out with one's personal tastes. "Selling out" never works (I know, because I've done it, and failed miserably because of it.) But writing an existential drama about a seventy-year old woman who's got the itch for a seventeen-year old boy - coupled with a vampire in the closet, and a murder-mystery as part of the tale to boot - also doesn't work. There is a fine line between "personal tastes" and "appealing to a market."

"Appealing to a market" is not the same as "selling out."

Well, my three or so years of writing NA Romance were me "writing to a market." NA is not my favorite genre, but it ranks higher than many others for me. I like the language in NA (I swear like a trooper, and always have), provided it doesn't get out of hand. I like that NA tackles subjects of interest to today's world. I don't know about you. but I've always had trouble relating to the "good girl" from the "good family" in the 'burbs, who meets the cowboy... Nyah, right. I didn't grow up in that world, so when the book is about dysfunctional families and making stupid life-decisions - I'm all for it.

I want you to know that I am equally and 100% guilty of what I'm about to say in the next two paragraphs:
The main trouble I have with reading NA is this: More often than not, I find the plots to be so f***ing PREDICTABLE and, hence, BORING (asshole meets good girl; good girl falls in love with asshole; asshole acts like a bigger asshole; they have sex; they have sex; they have sex; cliffhanger.) Heck, the market is glutted with this crap (guilty as charged - I know, I know). There is a difference between sex and sexual tension. Too few NA novels do the latter with enough finesse. I tried to change this in Debt. I'm not sure if I got it right.

So the only reason I don't devour NA novels is because I hate having to pick up ten or twenty novels to figure out if the story is about the CHARACTERS or about the SEX. And I usually don't pick up ten or twenty. Usually I drop it at five and then go to another genre. NA was a response to the sudden burst in the popularity of Erotica after FSOG. But the boundary between the two genres has blurred again. Looking at reviews for NA novels is no good either, because I think I am in the minority of people who enjoys character-driven NA but dislikes sexually charged Erotica. So if the majority of NA reviewers adore Erotica (which I believe they do), looking for stuff to read based off of reviews becomes a pointless exercise for me.

To date, there are very few NA novels that I have loved.
If you're interested:
I loved The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski. Although I felt the scene when he first went down on her a little contrived but, fine, I think Redmerski probably had to throw that scene in to appeal "to the market" because, overall, that novel has very little sex in it and plenty of character-driven suspense. But I did love the novel.

I loved Rule by Jay Crownover. Wow - now this was a freaking perfect novel. And the sex didn't feel contrived. It felt natural and fitting to the story. Truly character-driven. I might even go so far as to say that this novel is close to a "masterpiece" for the genre. I could gush about this book for several hours.

So what about YA?
Well. There's the actual definition of YA which is, basically, a genre "suitable" for a younger crowd, not necessarily about young people. There are plenty of spectacular YA stories out there (try Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show for some awesome YA fiction at a dirt-cheap price; also Cast of Wonders for really cute - and free - short-story podcasts).
And then there's what passes for YA these days: A story so ignorant of the facts that it is nothing but a patronizing condescension of today's youth. The anomalies in "YA" fiction are so glaring that I wouldn't be surprised if the genre won't be responsible for creating a supremely dumbed-down generation twenty years from now, a generation which accepts anything at face-value - even if it makes no sense at all...

Plot Synopsis:
"The World came to an end."
"It just did."
"Oh, OK."

There's more that irks me about what passes for "YA" at the moment, but I will leave it at that.

For the record: I loved The Hunger Games. I hated the ending, but that was because of personal taste, not any lack of skill on the part of the author (I hate downers for endings.)

Contemporary Romance: I love it. 'nuff said. Although I'm not sure if Jackie Collins counts as "Contemporary Romance," but I can't get enough of her work.

Paranormal Romance: See above notes for NA.

Horror: Uhm, love-hate thing. I dig a scary (even slightly gruesome) story. But I freaking loathe a downer for an ending (see note on The Hunger Games above.) Which is why 11/22/63 worked for me, but Under the Dome and Pet Sematary didn't (even though they were magnificently written.)

Thrillers: Love 'em, but I'd never be able to write one. I think Mystery Writers are amongst the top in the game. I truly admire how they can figure out unique plots and twists that are not cliché or boring. Yeah, if I had the skill, I'd be writing in this genre, but I have a long way to get there.

Science Fiction: Not "hard" science fiction (goes over my head) but I love a good cyberpunk story. Again, I don't have the skill to write in this area - but it's something I've considered. I think Sci-Fi has important messages in a world so set on the past instead of the future.

Humor: Has its limits. Satire is good if properly done, and if it has a decent message.


Yup, indeed. (For those of you who skipped the whole article and jumped straight to this heading...I forgive you). 

The point is this: My next novel will likely not be NA. I loved Debt. I put a lot of work into it. It's a massive freaking book. I did my best on it...but I want to move on now. 
Will the next story be YA? If so, I doubt it will contain vampires. 
Will it be a Mystery?
Will it be Horror?

Well. This is a question I've asked myself almost daily for the last two years, but especially for the last year. 

I've skipped a bunch of the "middle-story" here. There's a lot more behind this thought-process than a mere discussion of tastes and genres, but I won't get into that now. Lawd knows this post is long enough as it is. 

This is is just me thinking out loud, wondering what to do next. I haven't been sitting still in the last few months. I've got half a story in almost all of the above genres sitting on my computer as I write this. But now I need to take one of those and actually turn it into a completed story. The question is: Which one? Which genre?

The answer, dear friends, is brutally simple: ALL OF THEM. 

I won't be the first NA author to do it (Jennifer Armentrout, Jamie McGuire, J.A. Redmerski, Tara Brown all write in wildly different genres - and under different names). 

So here's my question for YOU:
What's your next-favorite genre after NA / PNR/ Erotica? 

Yes, I plan on releasing books in numerous different genres. The only question left is which genre to do first?

I hope you're up for dipping your feet into some different-style Rachel Dunning. I'm still not 100% sure if I'll write under this name or under a different name, but I'll definitely let you know on this blog when I'm done with my first book in [insert your favorite genre here]. 

You finished your coffee? Good for you. Thanks for reading. I need to go brew myself a fresh one. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

DEBT New-Adult Novel up for sale now!

DEBT is (finally) going up for sale tomorrow!

Here are some reviews from advanced copy readers.

"A bad boy with a heart of gold. I fell in love with him the second he entered the bar. He is magnetic and an Alpha to his core. The obstacles this couple overcome are astonishing and I was completely enthralled with their story from beginning to end."
★★★★★ Review by Lunaland Books
"The Debt Collector is sexy as sin and the ultimate Alpha male!!"
★★★★★ Review by Melissa, Co-Owenr Alpha Book Club
"5 ★★★★★ WickedGoodstars 
"I was hooked on this book from the first few pages! Straight out of the gate, it was non-stop... I couldn't put it down. I was reading at work, my daughter's dance class, while the kids were in the tub... you name it."
★★★★★ Review by Amber, WickedGoodReads Blog
"I don't think that there is a single woman out here who wouldn't fall in love with Logan instantly."
~ ★★★★★ Review by With Love for Books Blog
"Not just another run of the mill, grunge fighter romance."
~ ★★★★★ Review by Author Liz Ellyn


Friday, January 29, 2016

☆☆☆☆☆ Star Reviews from @LunalandBooks & @JLoves2Read for "DEBT"

5-Star Review

"He is magnetic and an Alpha to his core."

Lunaland Books is first out of the block with a glowing five-star review for Debt
Check out their review here: 

5 Sexy Stars

"The Debt Collector is sexy as sin and the ultimate Alpha male!!"

AlphaBookClub also gave "5 sexy stars" here.

Pre-Order Sale

The novel will be released on March 30, 2016 and is a standalone novel with a final page count of 526 swoon-worthy, romantic pages. 

There is no cliffhanger.

It is currently up for pre-order for $0.99 at Amazon as well as iTunes and Nook.

Price after release will be $2.99

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

99c Pre-Order Sale - "Debt" - Over 400 Pages, NA Standalone Novel

99c Pre-Order Sale
Over 400 Pages
Standalone Novel
New-Adult Romance / Sports Romance

By Rachel Dunning

Expected Release Date:
March 2016

The Debt Collector

I pay my debts, and I expect others to.

I was raised in the slums of London, I knew nothing of privilege. My father was murdered when I was seventeen. Morty figured my father's passing meant I would automatically take on dad's debts. I refused.

And I paid for that refusal.

So did my sister.

So now I fight. All I know how to do is fight. The best cash is in the states, so that's where I am now. A big fish called Vito came along offering me a "favor" when I arrived.

Another debt.

I paid for that one too.

I knew Kyla Hensley would be trouble when I met her. But I wanted her. I could see through the falsehood of her wannabe-slutty clothes and her sexy legs. So I chased her.

Besides, trouble is my middle name.

Kyla Hensley

I was brought up in privilege, but I lacked everything else. My father is a business tycoon who buys and sells and doesn't care who gets rolled over in the process.

I never knew my mother, and all I have of her is a photo with a note scrawled on the back in French saying "I'm sorry." The only Female Figure I had growing up is my dad's wife who is a bleach blond with seven boob jobs. We never bonded.

I drink. I party. I meet guys.

But I wasn't always like that.

I've had a string of lovers in the last few years, the worst and most recent of which was Vince Somerset. My best friend Vera was dating a guy called Rory Cansoom who is the opposite of Vince in so many ways, and yet so the same.

She and I hit the road for the summer, getting away from the two college psychos and just trying to have some fun.

But there's a funny thing about trouble, the more you run from it, the more it finds you.

Which is when I met the Debt Collector.

It was only supposed to be sex. He made that clear. I made that clear.

That's all it was supposed to be.

I never expected to fall in love. I never expected to fall so deeply, madly, uncomfortably in love with a man who is wrong, so wrong for me.

And yet...so unbelievably right.

Content Warning
Not intended for readers under the age of seventeen.