Cliffies, in Romance lingo, is a cliffhanger. And if you're not aware of the definition of a cliffhanger, it's the "ending to an episode of a serial drama that leaves the audience in suspense."
I grew up on cliffhangers while watching Spanish Telenovelas with my mother. Every night at 7 p.m. we would watch one after the other throughout the weekdays. And each Friday night, I would expect the episode to end on a major cliffhanger: either a perilous situation for a beloved character or the villain, or a revelation that could change the course of the show and the lives of the characters. Saturdays and Sundays were spent wondering and discussing how the story would continue. Anticipation would build until the opening theme song and credits begun on Monday night.
I loved that feeling of excitement, knowing the story would continue and awaiting my happily ever after. American soap operas have the same level of suspense, leaving the viewer with a sense of impending excitement or dread. That story device ensures the reader will return each week to see the outcome. Even primetime television shows and miniseries end each episode with a cliffhanger because you'll be eager for the Fall to return--completely wanting to forego the summer months just so the story commences again. The same can be said with Romantic Suspense novels and series.
I've chosen to write my Romantic Suspense series with, you guessed it, Cliffies. Why? Because it increases the anticipation to read more of the main characters and their hijinks. And while many readers hate cliffhangers because they don't like to be kept in heightened suspense or feel that they're being trapped into buying the next book or the remaining books in the series, I find that a cliffhanger is a natural way to split up a complex story such as the ones I write. It's like the natural break between a tv show's seasons. I'm sure many lovers of Thrillers are fine with waiting for the Fall to see their favorite high drama tv show/series, but I do understand the few who can't stand them. And I'm sorry, my series may not be for you.
The heroines in my series go through a variety of experiences and are placed in dangerous situations, which they must get out of either on their own or at the hands of a hero. It's impossible for me to complete a story like The Onyx Menagerie in one book and end with a finite conclusion. The reader may not be hooked enough to continue with the next book. Yes, there are many series that conclude wonderfully with each book, like the Marple mysteries by Agatha Christie--the next book picks up on another murder and doesn't delve into past stories.
Yet, the societies in The Onyx Menagerie are complex with a diverse cast of characters who have stories of their own to share. And all those stories intertwine with the life Grace is trying to lead. Each book is just a continuation that circles back and forth between all of the books. It's my heroine's journey, as she learns more about the secret societies, seeking two important things to her--things she loves. And I'd love for readers to immerse themselves in the tangled web created within the different Houses of TOM.
Unfortunately, I don't have a definite timeline for releasing Tamers and Lions, the second book in the TOM series, which picks up from the last page in Shepherds and Lambs. I do intend to release it in 2020, however, as an Indie Author, I pay all costs for publication: editor, proofreader, cover artist, and marketing. In this economic climate, I'm not earning enough to reinvest in my books so I have to save the little earnings I do receive for this series and budget from family funds to invest in bringing readers these books. The cost is huge to a small, enterprising indie author. Writing hasn't become my primary source of income, and at the rate my brand is growing, I never will. But, I do guarantee that there are two more books in the TOM series, and future stand-alone novellas from the TOM world.
One way you can ensure that I bring you the remainder of the books [with one more Cliffie] is to provide me a review on all the mediums that you can: Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub. I can utilize all reviews in advertising/marketing, specifically BookBub and other reader discount/free/marketing Newsletters that require a higher number of reviews to be pre-approved for inclusion in their mailings.
Shepherds and Lambs has been out for a year, and I've given away over five thousand (5,000) Free books, but still only have ten reviews on Amazon, seven on Bookbub, and twenty-two star ratings and ten text reviews on Goodreads. All of the ratings/reviews are positive and in favor of the storyline but since no buzz, no sales, and no income. This hurts my bottom line in releasing other stories.
Please sign up for my newsletter so you can keep updated on release dates for Tamers and Lions, which is the follow up in the The Onyx Menagerie. The final book, Keepers and Drones, will be released in early 2021. I appreciate your support.