NOTE: THE NATURAL BEAUTY SERIES IS UNAVAILABLE IN ANY FORMAT. (Why? Click here.)
My contemporary romance series Natural Beauty started with a one-off novelette – The Spirit of Things. It was a short chick-lit romance I wrote with a sort of “girl goes home” trope. My heroine, Nikki Stacy, was a ballerina-turned-middle school teacher-turned-cosmetics chemist who itched to start her own make-up company.
That one didn’t feel complete to me, so I continued Nikki and Charlie’s story months later in another novelette: All Shook Up.
(Click on each cover for details.)
I thought that would be it…then, other characters in the world poked their heads up and said, “Hey, did you forget something?” That’s where Impersonating Dad spawned from. That one was an anthology piece with a Father’s Day theme. I tied it into my existing world, although it isn’t set at Nikki’s company like the subsequent titles.
Well, then I had a little writerly revolution. I shifted from first-person POV writing to writing pretty much exclusively in third-person, and decided to write a novel in the series. Enter Polished Slick. Of course, I couldn’t end there because Polished Slick’s hero – Jerry – had a brother. I wrote Clean Slate to finish up the Rouse/Thys storyline.
That put me at five titles in a loose series. Yay! I loved how the world was shaping up–it started feeling real to me (it is set in my home county, after all).
Then…I parted with my publisher, and had all these stories bubbling in my hard drive.
Since I had a second chance to put them out, I re-branded them into a consolidated series, tightened up the world-building to introduce future characters before their turn for romance came, and left some room for growth for future titles.
The stories came back, all under different covers, and some with different titles. The two novelettes were merged into a single novel called Shake Well (you get both Charlie and Nikki’s perspective this time!).
My cheeky side-story Impersonating Dad is still a first-person chick-lit romance romp, but now it’s called Accounting for Cole.
This series is at an end – for now – as I’m focusing on edgier works, but it may return in the future. I don’t believe in saying “never.”