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Secret Covers & Strong Women: The Inside Story of Immortally Cursed

Happy Sunday! 

First of all, I want to say thank you to all the awesome responses I’ve been getting to my posts this last couple weeks (if you missed them, you can click here How I Made My Dream Come True… and You. Are. Enough).  People are so psyched about Immortally Cursed, which makes me super happy, because I’m so psyched about it too! But what’s also awesome are the responses I’m getting from folks who are touched by my posts, the parts where I’m revealing a part of who I am, and the struggles I’ve had to face to get to where I am today, like this one:
 
“Books are an escape from reality and you guys truly have a gift I wished I possessed. Never lose hope you will always have a fan in me. Thank you for the inspiring emails too, you are the only author out there that I know of that lays herself bare like that to inspire others.” ~Jaime L
  
I have two goals as a writer
 
First, to write books that people enjoy, that touch their hearts. But I also have a goal to pay back to others what people have given to me: courage, advice, and the inspiration to battle through your struggles to a place where life feels better. I really appreciate the folks who have taken the time to message me and let me know that what I am doing helps them. 
 
Life has plenty of challenges, right? What we do for leisure should give us respite and fuel, so I’m so glad for all those who have let me know that that’s what I’m doing!
 
I’ll be honest, it’s not always easy to figure out the best way to accomplish both of those goals. I had a huge struggle trying to figure out what to do with Immortally Cursed!
 
Immortally Cursed is a romance, through and through. But it’s also the story of a woman who is struggling with career, self-empowerment, friendship, and what to do with her life. How could I reflect that? How could I reach the readers who needed that book? 

As you all know, I have an extensive history of writing romances under Stephanie Rowe (57 published novels, to be exact!). If you look at those covers, they all have something in common. What is it? Men, baby! Hot guys sell, right?

And as romance readers, we are reading for the fantasy of the awesome, hot guy who loves his woman unconditionally. Immortally Cursed delivers that perfectly. It’s a fantastic love story where the to-die-for-hero is completely dedicated to the woman who has won his heart and saved his soul.

So, it made sense for me to release this series as another Stephanie Rowe paranormal romance, with a hot guy cover. The series is funnier and lighter than my usual paranormal romances, so I decided to reflect that with the cover and title, How to Date an Immortal Guardian. So, still a hot guy, but a little sassier. My awesome cover designer, Kelli Ann Morgan, came up with this fantastic cover.  He’s adorbs, right? And who doesn’t want to date an immortal guardian? It looks sexy, sassy, and fun. 

But as I was preparing to launch the series, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I want my writing to empower women. Love and romance is awesome. Trust me, I live for it! 
 
But I also feel like we, as woman, need to always boost each other up and empower each other.  I am driven to put that energy out into the world. I’m a woman who was ditched by her ex of fifteen years, with a young child counting on me. When that happened, I discovered how strong I was. How loving I could be even when I was terrified about what tomorrow would bring. How I could reinvent myself until I found my way out of the darkness. How I could heal enough to let myself be loved again, and to trust that love (waving hi to Joe!). 
 

We women are strong and powerful. Society often tries to teach us that we aren’t, but we ARE. You are. I am. Our moms are. Our daughters are. Our sisters are. Our girlfriends are. So often, we don’t find our strength until we are forced to, but once we find it, we’re changed forever. No one can EVER make us believe we are weak ever again, because we KNOW the truth. 
 
For that reason, I decided I had to change how I was going to present this story. 
 
I had to step away from presenting my work as being all about the men. It’s about us, the badass awesome women who deserve to be loved, not because we can’t function without it, because we are so freaking fantastic that we deserve it, just for being who we are.
 
To make this happen, I realize I had to change the cover, the title, and my author name.

The Cover:
I needed a cover design that was about the warrior inside all of us, even when we are mothers, sisters, daughters, partners, and lovers. The warrior we are, even when we are being soft, kind, and loving.

My name:
As I explained a few weeks ago. Rowe is the last name of my ex. I kept that name because I had a career and a reputation as Rowe. But today, we, as woman, become strong. I switched to S.A. Bayne to honor the woman we all have inside us. S = Stephanie. A = my daughter’s first name. Bayne = my middle name. I was so worried that my Rowe readers wouldn’t follow me to SA Bayne, but reader emails like this have touched my heart so much:
 
“Girl you are kicking ass and taking names and I can’t wait to read all these fabulous books you’ve got going on! Oh and loving the new writing name of ‘S.A.Bayne’ :) self power is the best kind – keep doing what you’re doing because you should be so damn proud of what you’ve achieved and are continuing to do. All those trials you’ve overcome have made you stronger than ever. Taking back the name Bayne is the stamp approval that you’re back baby!  ~Maddie H”
 
The Title:
I needed a title that reflect that the story was more than a love-struck female looking for a guy. I needed a title that reflected the challenge, the obstacles, and the strength of the woman inside that cover. 

This cover is the result of this journey. Do you see it with new eyes now?

I’m so proud of this series. I’m so proud of the books. I’m so proud to be presenting them as S.A. Bayne, with strong women on the covers. And I’m so freaking proud of the woman I have become. And I want YOU to be proud of the woman you are today, right now, while you are reading this. You. Are. Fantastic.

To honor this book, and strong women, I’m going to be giving away a free, never-before-published paranormal romance to everyone who preorders Immortally Cursed, or purchases the eBook by May 4thI’ll be sending the details about that tomorrow, so make sure to check back here or sign up for my newsletter here so the deets are delivered right to you!  

Until tomorrow!

SAB/Stephanie 

PS Don’t forget, Immortally Cursed comes out on Tuesday, so tomorrow I’ll be sending the details about the free book bonus for everyone who preorders Immortally Cursed or buys the ebook by Sat May 4, so come back to my blog or sign up for my list so you don’t miss it!

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