This has been in my notes section on my phone for a while…now it’s time to actually publish it! It’s a little nerve-wracking and makes this more real. But, as the title says, this pertains to the future of Annabel Allan and something that has been in the works for a while now. On Friday, September 24th, 2021, it all became official & finally into motion.
As some have noticed, I have been absent from social media and even my website for a while now. My last post was in June & my plans for the His To Keep series. I thought I’d explain my absence a little better, as there is going to be a continued lack of posting on my part on social media & the website. This is going to be a loooong post, I apologize! But there’s background to cover! Haha. TL/DR is at the bottom!
As some of you know, Annabel Allan is not my real name.
How it started:
I started the persona of AA back in 2015. It was my intention to sort of get my foot in the door with publishing, then once successful enough, do my own thing. I hadn’t been successful with my other pen name, so I thought writing erotica would be a good way to bust onto the scene, though quietly, as I intended for no one to know my real name, then I could eventually write more “serious” stuff again with that cushion. However, most importantly, the name started as Esmeree Delamorte & the book in question was titled “Licking the Flames”.
This was a BIG endeavour for me, as I had never written erotic scenes before. My work started as a “then they closed the door” or “fade to black” type of deal when it came to such things, then as I grew more comfortable, it opened up to a little more description. This was miles away from that and I was both stressed & unsure of what I was doing. But I did it anyway & the manuscript was complete by the end of February, 2015.
I submitted to various agents for about a month, until I stumbled onto Xcite Books, an indie publisher of erotica in the UK. I submitted Licking the Flames & though the process was long, I was offered a three-book deal with their erotic romance imprint Cariad. I was informed I was writing erotic romance, not erotica, which was probably why I was having problems getting it placed. So, therefore, the title and my pen name were too sexy and needed to change.
Suddenly, I needed to write a complete series, and was told the title of the book needed to change, as well as my pen name. I was put on the spot, looking around until I saw my complete works of Poe. So, I suggested Annabel Lee Allan. We shortened it to Annabel Allan, to eliminate some of the L’s. It was also suggested to call the book “Wildfire” to stay on the fire theme, but keep it short and punchy.
Well, that’s how Annabel Allan was born and developed. I juggled the two pen names for almost a year, then “came out” with friends and family due to it being, again, stressful, but I was also a bit more comfortable with what I was writing. Up until that point, it had been a 180 that I was writing. I guess people weren’t very shocked and life kinda moved on and I kept releasing books under both pen names.
I brought some of my historical romances to another indie publisher, which shall not be named. After less than a year with them, they let me go, as I was writing books too long and they weren’t getting enough sales AND I had run out of manuscripts to send them. That was the first blow.
In the fall of 2015, my OG indie publisher changed hands. I did have another book come out with them, but the new owners weren’t on the ball and things kind of snowballed and got worse and worse. I stuck it out though, until my first two works contracts were up in 2018 and they didn’t re-sign me. I stuck it out though until the fall of 2018 when the publisher closed its doors and went out of business.
I was devastated. That pen name was effectively dead in the water. All my books were pulled and unavailable. Where do I go from here?
The first step:
As the Smoke Chaser series was complete with four books in Feb of 2017, I decided to try to develop new, fresh ideas for AA. It took me until 2018 & the whole debacle of my other pen name to figure out where AA was going to go…
You guessed it, BDSM! I was trying to sort of cash in on how popular it was at the time. I came up with a new series idea, a new direction for Annabel to take. I wrote the book, titled “The Wilder Side” and discussed with Cariad bringing it to Xcite…but Xcite was no longer taking new books, even from authors within the company. Damn.
I found a new indie publisher to query, Black Velvet Seductions. I was rejected on the grounds that the story didn’t have enough romance and BVS is a romance publisher. I was a little dejected over it and shelved the work, though briefly.
I decided in this time to rebrand under my birth name. I didn’t know what to do yet, but I knew that I was going to try and make some of my older stories work.
Then a friend of mine wanted me to write BDSM stories for their website, just shorts, this was close to summer. They wanted a story about a Dominatrix…you can guess where this is going! I started a short called “Goode Pain”. Then I remembered something from film school an instructor said to me–“it’s more interesting when you flip the dynamic”. So, I took the male Dominant in The Wilder Side and changed it to a Dominatrix, Ava Goode.
The title changed to “Edgeplay” and the series was going to be “Goode Pain”. I amped up the romance and the kink, with one publisher in mind to submit to–Black Velvet Seductions.
I submitted Edgeplay to BVS in the spring of 2019, a year after I submitted The Wilder Side and was rejected. It was accepted enthusiastically! I realized that this must be where Annabel Allan is going.
Around this time, my health issues started popping up. By summer of that year, it was obvious there was a BIG problem and my health continued to decline. I did self-published a horror novel in the May, then write another in the summer, both under my birth name, as the rebrand.
By the fall, Edgeplay came out and I did write “Hard Limits”, which was accepted as well by BVS. Writing Ava and “being” Annabel was an escape for me. I was able to go into Annabel’s world and forget the pain and discomfort of being me and my declining health. I also thought this was where I was supposed to be going with my career.
My second horror novel also went live in the fall, self-published on KDP.
But more importantly, that summer was also when Accent Press changed hands and became Headline Accent. I didn’t really focus on Smoke Chaser though, keeping my eye on Goode Pain and where that was going to go.
I wrote a short, “Xposé” for BVS’s anthology, “Desire Me Again” as well as wrote “Rigged” GP:03. They both came out in 2020, the latter in the summer, the former in the fall.
Earlier in the year, my health got even worse. By the summer, I made my decision to go through with major surgery. By the fall, I was accepted for surgery and put on the waitlist.
This is where things changed.
After I finished up Submissive Tendencies, it actually became very apparent to me that I was becoming uncomfortable being Annabel. I tried to shrug it off. I already had 3 books in Goode Pain and now a new series, as it was getting great feedback. This was my life now & where my career was heading.
I tried many times to start GP04, but I puttered out each time because honestly, I just didn’t have it in me. For the first time, I didn’t know what to do as Annabel. I felt like I had reached a dead end & couldn’t go any further…then I ended up pulling the Smoke Chaser series from Headline Accent.
Goodbye Smoke Chaser:
In reality, I didn’t know what to do, so I thought a new book in the Smoke Chaser series would rejuvenate it & get me back on track with Annabel. I queried Headline Accent about it–a new book or a book from Quinn’s POV. But the publisher didn’t want to see anything new & basically left me with no choice but to ask for my rights back. They weren’t interested in the series or anything from me. I was suddenly at the same point as before; I didn’t know what to do or where to go.
That was the turning point.
A new idea:
I came to the realization that in the following spring, I was going to have major surgery and my health issues would get better and I would be better. I didn’t want to escape reality anymore. I wanted to be “me” again & saw an opportunity to refocus.
So, I went back to my roots—I wrote a manuscript I will call New Me 01. When I wrote THE END on it, man! It felt good. I felt like “me” again. I felt I had written something amazing, something special & the light came back on inside of me.
New Me 01, which is a Gothic thriller/sweet romance, went through beta reads in the New Year & I decided then I was going to market it under my REAL name. I had toyed with putting it under Annabel, but it didn’t feel right. I honestly didn’t & don’t want anyone else’s name on it.
I made plans to pitch it in PitMad on Twitter in March under my birth name, but well, I had major surgery that week & was unable to see it through even with my tweets scheduled. So, things got put on hold.
The beginning of the end:
I took a break to properly recover from surgery, since I had hiccups in my recovery (infection). I needed to focus on that, on getting stronger & adjusting to a new way of life, pain-free & without certain limits, once the infection was gone.
In this time, I spoke with Ric at BVS and he mentioned wanting a darker side to the brand of the publishing house, as well as something like True Blood. I took this as a sign and submitted a novel along those lines I had written in 2015. He loved it! I signed the contract & it is slated for release this fall/winter. But more importantly, it’s coming out under my own name. I feel like this was the catalyst, the turning point for me.
Being “me” was suddenly possible.
I started considering re-releasing my horror novels, as well as pitched New Me 01 for PitMad in June. I had one single agent love my pitch. I sent her the query and materials…then I anxiously waited.
This is where I tried once again to be Annabel—mainly because I was asked about sequels to Submissive Tendencies, which came out in the February from Blushing Books, & Rigged. I tried SO HARD. It was like trying to force a shoe that doesn’t fit anymore. I had planned for the sequel to Submissive Tendencies & the fourth GP novel to be written by the end of the year—but things kept coming up & putting it off, until I completely abandoned the idea of writing them.
I kinda gave up on Annabel at that moment.
New Me 01 and new Era:
Six weeks after I sent my query to the PitMad agent, she requested the full manuscript. She told me she loves my story—but it needs editing & it’s going to be a lot of work on both our parts. I thought she was going to say no, as I had heard many, many times before. Instead, she’s giving me a chance & going through a first round of edits with me. That is currently where that project stands.
Honestly, I was still in limbo though, unsure of the future of AA…until a good friend of mine asked me an important question: if someone paid you to stop writing erotic romance, would you? Or do you enjoy writing it?
This gave me a long, hard pause.
What’s the answer? I don’t enjoy it & I don’t think I ever really did. That’s the bottom line. I am grateful for Annabel—she helped me find my voice & made me a better writer. But she’s not “me”.
I saw this question, which came out of the blue, as a sign. I already felt like I was being led in a different direction with my career. I’m very aware of signs & look out for them in day to day life. This was definitely one of them & solidified my decision.
So, what am I getting at? I’m saying goodbye.
I’m saying goodbye to Annabel Allan.
My plan for the future is to focus on myself and what makes me happy as a writer.
Firstly, New Me 01. I’m going to work on that with the agent and hopefully she will decide to sign me.
Secondly, my current WIP is another Gothic romance. I’m going to complete it by the end of the year.
Thirdly, my new release comes out this fall/winter with BVS. The preorder will most likely be up in October. Then released in Novemberish.
Fourth, I’m doing those re-releases.
Lastly, after this current script is done, I will be working on non-AA projects exclusively.
But what about Annabel?
- This site will continue to function, but more of as a landing page for the books that are released with links.
- The Facebook page & Twitter account will continue as well, but limited posts. The Instagram has already been taken down.
- My FB profile will stay up as well, but I am distancing myself from the persona of AA. Everything has changed so that my real name doesn’t appear. She is now a separate entity.
- Retweets will be moved to my real name Twitter/FB/Instagram. That is where Promo is going to live and exclusively for those works.
- His To Keep is not going to continue at this point. Submissive Tendencies can be read as a standalone anyways, so it will stay that way for the time being. Domino Effect has been shelved.
- GP is going to stop at Rigged at this point. I will not be writing Master and Servant, it has also been shelved.
As I discussed with Ric at BVS, I am stepping away from Annabel Allan–BUT that doesn’t mean it’s goodbye forever. I may return to it when I feel it’s right to do so, but this could be years away or not at all.
Thank you for coming on this journey with me, so far and supporting Annabel. Onwards to new and more exciting adventures!
TL/DR: I am no longer writing books under Annabel Allan.