I never gave up on Smokey, although my traditional publisher did. From the start, in fact. Only my wonderful editor believed in the series. The rest of the company was very confused by my Smokey Dalton series, and screwed it up in a variety of ways. By the time I finally left after an insulting offer, I had missed the opportunity to sell the series to another publisher. (I had opted to stay with the first publisher in 2003–a stupid move on my part.) Other publishers told me they wouldn’t take the series with so many previous books at another publisher.
Then WMG Publishing came along. I decided I wouldn’t write the next Smokey Dalton book until I knew for certain that WMG could do a better job than any New York publisher ever could. It took three years of work with WMG before I felt comfortable enough to write Street Justice. I finished the book last year, and WMG began the kind of promotion that New York publishers reserve for their bigger titles. We have no hope of getting on lists. What WMG (and I) hope for is that the book finally gets into the markets where it belongs–from mystery bookshops to African-American bookstores. (I’ve put up Amazon links to the trade, ebook, and audio book because it’s easiest for me, but you can find the novel in bookstores worldwide.)
The promotion on this first Smokey novel in eight years is focused on letting people know that the series even exists.
I know many of you have only heard of my award-winning critically acclaimed Kris Nelscott pen name. I also know a lot of you tried to buy the Kris Nelscott books back in the day and were unable to because the first publisher didn’t distribute the books to most parts of the country.
For those of you who weren’t able to find the books back then, you can find them now, thanks to WMG and Audible. All the previous novels are available in trade paper, ebook, and audio book worldwide. (Oh, that pleases me like you will not believe.) Start with A Dangerous Road, if you want to start at the beginning which–honestly–is probably the best place to start.
Street Justice does stand alone. All of the Nelscott books do. But it’s a richer read if you know Smokey’s history–and not his publication history. His fictional life story. I’m so glad his story is back in print.
Smokey is making inroads in a variety of places. A Dangerous Road is in development in Hollywood right now, and I’m getting other nibbles on different Smokey-related projects. Because WMG is doing this right–and getting the word out. I hope you pick up one of the Nelscott books–be it the first, A Dangerous Road, or the latest, Street Justice. And I hope you enjoy reading those books as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. They truly are, as the romance novelists say, books of my heart.