S.R.Claridge writes Mystery and Romantic Suspense novels. Her work has been said to have the energy of Dan Brown, the mystery of Mary Higgins Clark and the humor of Janet Evanovich. Claridge novels will take you to the edge of your seat, keep you guessing until the very end and ultimately warm your heart. It is on the pages of every S.R.Claridge novel that Mystery and Sensual Suspense collide.

For more information on bookings, interviews and upcoming releases, please visit the author website and Facebook fan page.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Slamming Doors and Opening Windows

I've received a bunch of emails regarding what happened between me and Vanilla Heart Publishing.  I'm going to try to answer most of your questions in this blog.  If I don't answer thoroughly enough, let me know and I will email you privately. 

I'm not going to lie, the past few weeks have been difficult, but you know what they say, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  I don't know if I'm stronger yet, but I'm certainly on the road to becoming smarter.

Change is always hard and uncertainty is scary...put the two together and you have a variable pressure cooker of emotion.  I have bounced daily between anger and sadness.  I'm angry at myself for being naïve and stupid.  I'm angry at Vanilla Heart for being deceptive, breaching our contract and cheating me out of royalties that were rightfully mine.  But the anger isn't the part that overwhelms me.  It's the sadness. 

I feel sad because I thought I knew someone and I thought she knew me.  I believed in her, trusted her, prayed for her, prayed for her family, defended her and always tried to be supportive and encouraging.  There were many times when I felt that support was reciprocated.  There were many times when I felt like we were "friends."  I feel sad because I miss that feeling; though I realize now it was all a façade.

We've all heard the expression, "It's not personal, it's business."  But, what is more personal than your business...especially when that business entails relationships with other people (?)  Just because you're dealing in the business world doesn't mean you stop having personal feelings for those around you.  In my world there aren't business ethics and personal ethics, there are just plain ethics and they apply to everything in life.  Don't cheat.  Don't lie.  Don't steal.  Be kind.  Love God.  Love others.  Forgive.

Sure, the context of our relationship was business but when every excuse she gave was personal, how was one not to feel some sort of connection?

Hearts break in different ways.  Betrayal leaves me broken and injustice makes me angry.  Vanilla Heart has caused me to stare down the barrel of both and to try to reconcile these feelings against a foundation of truth that was one-sided all along.  That reconciliation seems impossible, especially to a person like me who tries desperately to understand why people behave the way they do.

To this day, Vanilla Heart has shown no remorse for wrongdoing and that is one of the most jagged little pills to swallow.  I'm someone who apologizes for everything and tries to fix anything I've done wrong...even if it wasn't intentional; so I just can't get my head around people who maliciously set out to steal from, deceive and hurt others.  This part of the whole thing probably taunts me the most.

I think I've answered all of the questions about my relationship with Vanilla Heart.  As for the questions about Small Press Publishers in general...let me first say this:  All small press publishers are not unethical.  In fact, there are some wonderful publishing companies out there, some great agents and incredible people in the literary world.  Please don't let my negative experience with Vanilla Heart taint your view of the industry.  It hasn't tainted mine.  Scam artists dwell in every industry.  What we have to do is learn to spot them and avoid them.   My hope is that other authors will learn from my experience and be saved the hassle and heartache that I, and the other ex-Vanilla Heart authors have gone through.

The bottom line is that life isn't fair, but when you have to close a door or a door slams shut in your face,  look around and find the window of opportunity.  There will always be one, but it's not going to open itself.  Muster up the courage to walk over to it and open it; and then climb through, dust yourself off and be determined, as I am, to tackle whatever challenges lie on the horizon. 

Had I stayed with Vanilla Heart I wouldn't have been offered an opportunity to learn the publishing side of things with Global Publishing Group.  Had I remained naïve and comfortable, I wouldn't have ever known how many sales and how much money my books were generating.  Had I not gotten my heart broken with the lies, I would never have been given the chance to appreciate those who were telling me the truth. 

To answer the final question:  "What am I going to do now?"  I'm going to get back to doing what I love... writing more books. ~



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