Sunday, March 15, 2009


By Jackie Lee Miles
Sourcebooks bought Cumberland House, my publisher, and everyone, except those that were let go, of course, are very happy and excited. Lots of changes are in the air, some of them pretty amazing. That said there is one change that’s not sitting too well with me. First, let me explain. With Cumberland House I broke the cardinal rule. I wrote under two different genres. If you go to my website, it says Introducing J. L. Miles— featuring Southern Drama and Southern Sass.

Cumberland didn’t mind that I was splitting my readership and happily allowed me to continue my genre adventures. Sourcebooks doesn’t see it that way.

Sourcebooks likes the drama. They’re not so enamored with the sass. They want the Dwayne Series to go away. Divorcing Dwayne, the first book in the series, debuted April 2008. Dear Dwayne, the second in the series was to release April, 2009, with Dating Dwayne to follow. The series is centered around Francine Harper and her no-good husband Dwayne. In the first book, Francine is under felony assault charges for shooting at Dwayne and his stripper/lover Carla from the Peel ‘n Squeel. In the second book, Francine who is newly divorced, discovers she’s pregnant and is all set to marry the mayor, a Danny Devito type character who is good husband material, even if he does only come up to her navel. In the third book, newly widowed, Francine takes comfort in Dwayne’s arms. Good grief! Well, not good, but lots of grief. There’s a cast of zany characters to aid Francine in her search for true love, including her energetic and eccentric grandmother, Nanny Lou. There’s also her best friend Ray Anne, who upon discovering Francine is seeing Dwayne again, says, “Francine, have you got a boulder in your head, or what?”

Initially, I was told the only thing that would change would be the release date for Dear Dwayne. It was moved ahead to October. But after a major strategy session, it was decided that it was not in my best interest to continue to write down two paths. Now I must put Francine and her cohorts away. But it’s like taking them out in the backyard and shooting them. I’m just not sure how to let them go. They’ve been stumbling around in my head for the last three years. They’ve been cavorting around Pickville Springs, Georgia, where they reside, getting involved in all sorts of adventures on a daily basis for quite some time. They have conversations with me in my sleep. We’re talking “real” people here. Just how do I end their well-developed lives?

Well, to begin with, I’ve buried myself in new projects. I’ve finished The Heavenly Heart, which my agent is shopping. It was inspired from an actual CBS news program where a man received his daughter’s heart. After a fatal accident sixteen-year-old Lorelei Goodroe follows the lives of five people who receive her organs, including that of her father who gets her heat. Lorelei’s untimely demise has left her in turmoil. She finds she is unable to move on without first letting go, and letting go is the last thing on her agenda.

I moved onto to All That’s True and did a final edit. Andrea St. James’s (Andi for short) privileged life is interrupted in the fall of 1991, when she discovers her father is having an affair with her best friend Bridget’s sexy new stepmother. With an equal mix of joy and sorrow, the novel follows Andi’s poignant, yet amusing journey to young adulthood, where she struggles with the elusive nature of truth and the devastating consequences of deception.

Now I’m immersed in Radio Girl, the tale of a southern lass who marries and divorces all the men in her life and discovers they’re basically all the same man. All of this should be enough to keep me from grieving the loss of the Dwayne series.

Plus, in my heart I know Sourcebooks is right and on the correct path. They want to promote me as a serious writer. Not to say I’m a totally happy camper, but I’m getting in the swing of it. I’ve said goodbye to Francine and Dwayne and Ray Anne and Nanny Lou: It was nice knowing y’all! And I’ve developed a mantra to see me through: Onward and upward.

Jackie Lee Miles is the author of Divorcing Dwayne, Cold Rock River and Roseflower Creek. Write to her at Visit the website at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A shame! The series sounds like fun. I'll look for the first one.