No, it has nothing to do with what's in the drawer of my nightstand (please...that's no secret).
My secret had to do with About that Fling, my romantic comedy slated for publication September 1 with Montlake Romance. The folks at Publishers Weekly got their hands on an early copy a couple months ago, and gave it a starred review, writing:
"There’s something wonderfully relaxing about being immersed in a story filled with over-the-top characters in undeniably relatable situations. Heartache and humor go hand in hand in this laugh-out-loud story with an ending that requires a few tissues."
The secret isn't actually a secret now, or at least it hasn't been since Saturday, August 1. That's when the book was released through the Kindle First program. What's Kindle First?
(Hey, it's okay to ask . . . I'll admit I had no idea until my agent started talking to me about it last summer).
In a nutshell, Amazon chooses 4-6 books per month to be Kindle First picks. One month before these books' scheduled release date, they advertise them as Kindle First selections and readers are allowed to choose one of the Kindle First books to purchase for $1.99. Amazon Prime members can choose one for free. At the end of the one-month promo, the books go up for sale at full price, but by then they've already got gobs of reviews and a 30-day track record of sitting on the Amazon bestseller list.
I probably don't have to tell you why this program was described to me three months ago as "life-changing for an author."
Or maybe I do. Here, let me show you a couple things from the last two days.
This is what I saw when I checked my Amazon ranking within a few hours of the book going live through Kindle First:
For those who don't check my Amazon rank as neurotically as I do (er, everyone) that's the first time in my whole career I've even cracked the "Top 100 paid in Kindle store" list. Two days later, I'm still sitting there in the #4 slot.
Not only that, but here's what I saw when I pulled up Amazon's list of the top 10 bestselling romance authors:
You might have to click the image to get a good look at it, but HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS, that's me in the #1 slot on a list that includes romance legends like Nora Roberts and Diana Gabaldon.
So, yeah. To say I'm over-the-moon about this Kindle First thing would be an understatement akin to suggesting I'm mildly fond of my husband's butt.
But aside from the reviews and the rankings and the book sales, there's something else at play here. I know I'm not supposed to admit this as an author, but no book I've published to date has as much meaning to me as About that Fling. For eons I've heard authors talk about "the book of my heart," and I always did a silent eye-roll and wrote it off as sentimental tripe.
Then I wrote this book.
Or more accurately, I wrote this book from the ashes of divorce and remarriage and all the heartbreaking, hilarious, heartwarming things that come from that process.
Those of you who've been following my books for a while will recognize my trademark humor in the pages of About that Fling, but you'll see a little something different, too. This book has some meat to it, and I'm not talking about the hero's beef bayonet or the heroine's fondness for riding the baloney pony. While there's sex in this book, it's much more understated than you'll find in my books for Entangled Publishing. And while there's humor in this book, it's a bit more sophisticated than what you've read in Making Waves or Believe it or Not or Frisky Business.
Here's what one Amazon reviewer wrote:
What I love most about Tawna Fenske's writing style is the waggish repartee that infuses the dialogue and descriptions. Though previously never have heard of her publications, I'd now read any genre written by Fenske. I delight in such fun back-and-forth and lopsided grinning word play, comparable to how WEST WING's snappy wit paired with emotional investiture made it a personal TV Series favorite. The sparkling humor, rolling passion, and risqué innuendo are not mere pinpoints in dross wording, however; the entire novel exhibits a warmness, a fluid narrative characteristic of a seasoned writer who goes beyond the subject matter and crafts her very presentation. Nor are the characters simple simpering fools. They are smart, suave, and, yes, outlandish, yet remaining very human at the core. And prepare for an ending that made even me get a bit of a burning around the edges of my eyes. Albeit hardly a regular Romance reader, I have certainly become a fan of Fenske, and enormously glad I decided on ABOUT THAT FLING for this month's Kindle First choice.
So if you haven't already grabbed it, now's a good time to get your hands on About that Fling from Amazon. But if you'd prefer to wait for the paperback or the audiobook, or if you'd just prefer to pay full price in September, you can do that, too.
Thanks for reading, guys! Now for a look in that nightstand drawer...