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A huge thanks to my loyal readers! I asked for your opinion about publishing a particular book and more than 500 people responded in 24 hours! That is just amazing! But even more amazing, I received more than 100 emails or messages of support for both decisions.

I’m not going to publish the book.

Those who voted yes gave me brilliant reasons that inspired me! Those who voted no told me tragic stories that hurt my heart.

I need to confess something: my book was not nearly as creepy and graphic as I led you to believe. But I wanted to phrase it that way because the subject matter was rough. While my advisory council thought I shouldn’t publish the book, they also said it was the best writing I have ever done, which is what led me to the quandary. So I wanted to get your opinion.

Your comments of support brought tears to my eyes. The votes were completely anonymous, but 20% of you wrote to tell me why you voted yes or no, anyway!

What moved me was you wanted me to know you were in my corner either way, and…wow, I love you for that!

Why did I decide not to publish The Little Girl Who Got Away?

In the end, the answer was simple. The Donovan Creed novels, Emmett Love novels, and my new book, Call Me! were written by a smiling John Locke. Yes, these books include some coarse language, graphic scenes, silly and outrageous plots…but they were all written by a smiling John Locke, intended for an audience cool enough to “get” the humor. Girl isn’t as awful as I implied—not even close!—but I didn’t smile while I wrote it, and that has always been my litmus test and will continue to be, thanks to you.

You helped me remember something important this week. You got me back on track. I almost forgot why I do this. I don’t want to change the world or write books kids will have to study in high school someday. I want to keep writing the kind of books I’ve always written: books that take you out of your stressful lives for a few hours and make you smile. It’s who I am, what I’m good at.

So why did I even consider writing something different?

Maybe I was getting full of myself, or trying to be someone I wasn’t. Or maybe my abandonment issues were overwhelming me again, and I was afraid I’d lose your support if I didn’t branch out and extend myself as an author.

In the end, thanks to your wonderful emails and comments, I realize it’s like it’s always been. Despite my mistakes and imperfections, you love me just the way I am, same as I love you. And we’re still in this writing adventure together, as partners and friends. We’re still having fun, still making history together.

So thank you for helping me with this reality check. I’m happy with who I am, and hope you’ll continue supporting me as you have so many times in the past.

In that regard, if you haven’t downloaded Call Me! I hope you will, because Dani’s cute and funny and you’ll like her. We’ll keep her past in her past. What’s important, she’s moved beyond it, and finally, so have I.

Call Me! was written with a smile, and I’m pretty sure it will make you smile. My advisory council loved it. Try Call Me! and let me know if you agree, and hang on because the next Creed is going to be a wild ride. It’s titled Maybe, and I hope to have it for you by Christmas, if all goes well.

Thanks for being you. I’ll keep trying to be me.

Link to Call Me:

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Froggi Donna
Froggi Donna says:
Thank you for your decision. I've bought/downloaded all your books, read all the Donovan Creed (love, Love, LOVE him) and still have the newer ones left to read. I love your quirky smile and dark humor. Your rational for not publishing "The Little Girl Who Got Away" is right on....again, thank you!
Linda Runnebaum
John, your candid nature and love for you loyal readers is inspiring. I am even more of a fan now than I was before. You inspire me to be a better writer and show me what is really important about writing. I thank you for that. You are an inspiration. Thank you so much for being you. :)
Duck Butter
Duck Butter says:
John, I'm disappointed that you are not publishing the book for selfish reasons...I love to read your books. I believe that I can separate art from "reality', regardless of the content. But, I respect your decision and I'm sure you made the right choice. I will begin reading Call Me! tonight. Thanks for giving me hours and hours of reading pleasure. You are the best!
julia bar
julia bar says:
As a fellow author and a mother I am happy you made such decision. I understand exactly why. Keep up great work! Best wishes.
Patricia Puddle
I'm sure you made the correct decision, John, but if you had published that story, I'm sure it would have been written in a special way. Speaking as a girl who actually did get away from creep's car an hour after being taken into the woods one a dark night when I was fourteen, I would have read that book anyway, but it probably wouldn't have been a fun read. Like you said, you like to write humour and make people laugh. So do I. I love writing humorous stories and much prefer to read them too. You'll never lose your fans, John, no matter what. You're a great writer, plus you make your fans feel special, and that's nice. I just bought Call Me and as soon as I've finished Vegas Moon, I'll read it.
Joanna Penn
Joanna Penn says:
Thanks for keeping us smiling John and I like the thought of you writing with a grin too. Your example remains an inspiration for me and helped me get over delusions of grandeur myself. I also want to entertain people, especially those on a miserable commute. It is a precious thing to take people out of their lives for a brief period, and you certainly do it. Leave the 'mis-mem' to others! (do you have this in America - it's a genre called miserable memoir here in UK, full of stories of hideous abuse, very depressing)
David DeWitt
David DeWitt says:
Call Me, is a great read! You just get better with each new book and I hope this is a killer series!
Ruth Cooke
Ruth Cooke says:
John, I'm happy for your decision. I couldn't put into words why I voted no, but I think you ended up doing that anyways. Sometimes we have books that NEED to be written, but just because we need to write them doesn't always mean we need to publish them. It sounds like you've learned a lot about yourself through this process, and such time is never wasted. It will show up in all of your coming novels, I'm sure. Happy writing!
John Locke
John Locke says:
Hi Ruth! Yes. It's hard to explain. I feel the book is well-written and would sell very well. As a businessman, I wanted to publish. As a dad, no. But I learned something about myself this week, and learned a lot about you folks, too. And what I learned was all good.
John Locke
John Locke says:
Thank you so much for saying that, David! I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed the book.
John Locke
John Locke says:
Ah, Joanna! So great to see you here! Love your writing, love your style. I'm honored you stopped by. Best wishes, always!
John Locke
John Locke says:
Hi Patricia! I'm so glad you got away. I've thought about your ordeal for two days now, ever since your email. Your comments touched me, and I wish you all the best in your writing adventure.
John Locke
John Locke says:
Thanks for understanding. Now, can you explain it to me? (Just kidding!) Thank you!
John Locke
John Locke says:
Thanks for the compliments. It's a pleasure to write for you. I'm going to work very hard to keep your loyalty.
John Locke
John Locke says:
Hi Linda! This is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. I don't really know how to respond except to say that you made me feel very special just now.
John Locke
John Locke says:
Hi Donna! Thanks for being in my corner on this decision, and for trying all my books. Be sure to let me know what you think of the westerns, when you get to them! :-)
Ron says:
Beautiful blog John. I am in awe of how you respect and love those of us that love and respect you! I loved Call Me. Only bad thing about your books is i cant put it down once i start them. Then im left hungrily awaiting the next one. I know it sounds cliche but just stay who you are and you will be loved by many. Cant wait until Maybe comes out!!
Marjean says:
John, I loved "Call Me" and Dani and wanted more so I voted, yes. After reading your rationale for deciding not publish it, I realize that my vote was wrong. I want you to smile as you write and have fun with it. If that Book didn't do that for you then as much as I love your work, I can wait for something that makes you happy and, of course it will make us happy too. I will continue to be a loyal reader because you care about what you do and your readers...That is rare ..Thanks for being you!
Rayne says:
Just finished "Call Me". In time, I would like to see the "The Little Girl Who Got Away" published. Maybe some of it has to be taken "off stage" and maybe we need to know more about Dani first.
Kelly Trinrud
Kelly Trinrud says:
John, I am a huge fan and have told all of my book club friends about you! We all love your work. I understand you not publishing as I would have been surprised if the flavor of your books had abruptly changed... With that said, if it is truly your best work... maybe a pseudonym?
Joseph Badal
Joseph Badal says:
Got to stay true to your mission and yourself. I learned that from you and am practicing it every day with my Everyday Heroes blog. Thank you, John Locke.
JDM says:
I realize I'm a little late in responding to this, but I would've told you to publish it. Just because you went in a different direction doesn't mean you're "full of yourself." If anything, it means the opposite. It means you're not so beholden to your public persona that you aren't willing to explore. I think that's a good thing. And honestly, who even cares if it's different than the rest of your stuff at this point? I think when a brand gets to be as strong as yours is, that's exactly when you get to start taking liberties with your work. I say feel free to explore parts of yourself that you haven't explored before -- you've earned it.
John Hodgson
John Hodgson says:
What's happened to the dialogue with Dennis Reacher? He seems to have been wiped out.
Patrice Fitzgerald
John, I'm sorry to say that I find the covers of your books to be a turn-off. They seem to fixate on long-legged women. Since most of these women don't have faces, they are just bodies -- or just legs. You once mentioned that "Saving Rachel" was your best seller -- and it's the only one that doesn't do the leg fetish bit. I think your covers may make some women hesitate to buy the books. Or maybe it's just me... does anyone else feel this way?
Susie says:
I wasn't thrilled by the subject matter but I trusted you to write the book in a way that all would love it. It didn't matter one way or the other to me if the book was published as long as you keep writing. There is no other author as good as you are. I just got my new kindle Fire and gave my old kindle to my husband who is now hooked on your books. He can't read them fast enough. Looking forward to "Maybe". Absolutely love Donovan Creed and Emmett Love. You have brilliantly captured an audience of both men and women. You make us laugh which no many authors do. Keep up the good work.
Eric Fisher
Eric Fisher says:
John, I respect your decision not to publish the book, but above all I respect your candor about the importance of marketing and sales. While I can say I don't write for money. That only means that money is not the primary reason I write, but money does matter and without it we can't support ourselves and keep writing. Your honesty about the importance of pleasing your audience and actually selling books vs. pretending you are a holier than thou artist who will only obey his ego is very refreshing. Eric
Braja Sorensen
I read the book fast and loved every bit of it; your ability to twist and turn is unique :) But in truth, when I read that last page and the question you asked, it kinda creeped me out a bit. I hoped it wasn't really true....I was picturing an episode of Criminal Minds... kinda icky and too scary. Your books are edgy but that was too much.... John, I'm wondering when your books are going to be made into movies. Do you have an agent or publicist who's shopping them around in Hollywood? They're brilliant movies waiting to happen. Also wanted to let you know I told my agent I was going to publish my book on Amazon. She asked me to wait at least until the Frankfurt Book Fair; she sold the manuscript to Hay House International, world rights. So I'm about to be published mainstream. You're still my publishing hero, though :)) No one can ever do again what you did: first million seller on Amazon e-books. That is SO cool.... Like I've said before, you rock Mr. Locke :) Talk soon Braja
Braja Sorensen
...and you summed it up yourself in your explanation of why you decided not to publish it: because you write with a smile. Donovan Creed and all the others have so much sass, and that's your trademark. It's unique. I'm glad you're keeping it. I'm always imagining who would play DC on screen :))
J Anthony
J Anthony says:
Interesting blog, because you wanted to write that book and you can't publish it because your brilliant publishing strategy precludes your doing so. The readership you have so carefully built up will not accept it. Have you been hoist by your own petard?! It seems that your faithful readers only know a tiny bit about who John Locke really is. If writing books is no longer expressing the authorial persona, what is it? Don't say, 'Entertainment,' that's taken for granted and on a different category level to what we are discussing - all books should entertain. It is a lesson of retailing since the 1920s that people do not know what they want until it is put in front of them. You may have just denied yourself an evolutionary step forward in your craft.
Braja Sorensen
No, you're seeing from your viewpoint, not from the author's. John has a readership, and that's what he has created through his writing. If he wanted something different, he could create a different mood, tone, form of writing, subject matter, etc. He can create whatever he wants: he's the author. How is it that you've concluded that he's denying his "authorial persona" just because he reaches out to his readership and connects with them in a way that practically no other author does? I think you've missed a glaringly obvious point: one of the well-known elements of John's "authorial personal" is that he's not doing it for the money. He's doing it for the readers. You've missed the personalism in all this. You're missing a lot, when I start to add it up :) Including manners, if your opening 3 lines are any indication. Jealous much? :)
Braja Sorensen
Oh look! My bloody italics html worked this time. I feel so technically advanced :))
J Anthony
J Anthony says:
No, not jealous, nor aggressive, just offering a different viewpoint. I find enclosure threatening, and John wanted to branch out, but his readers said No. And it is a fact that focus groups have not always been right.
Celia Swender
Celia Swender says:
Just read the Dani Ripper book - great entertainment as always, thanks! Just wanted to ask if you would at least CONSIDER writing a major woman character who isn't a complete psycho, a lesbian, a whore or some combination of all three? I mean, I surely can't be the only straight woman reader you have :) But if I am, keep me on the list! Thanks again.
Roland D. Yeomans
As a former counselor, I believe your instincts will seldom lead you wrong. Instincts, after all, are just voices whispering things your unconscious mind noticed that your conscious mind (for whatever reasons) has not or can not. Perhaps though it is time for a pen name? Write a short novella (ah, I just repeated myself there, didn't I?) and see if there is a market for your experiment. Or a Kindle short which is basically a short story. Just a thought. And you're still influencing writers. I wrote one of your "universal" posts. I smiled through it -- a good smile. Think about that Kindle Short. May your Christmas surprises be only happy ones, Roland
Sevastian Winters
As the author of "How I are Becomed a Very Much Gooder Author", a book in which I referenced your meteoric rise, I have to say.... while I understand your choice not to publish, I am a bit disappointed that you shelved it. While, clearly it doesn't, from what you've described, fit your Donovan Creed/John Locke Brand, the essence of a good story is honesty on the part of the author. You don't have to air all of your dirty laundry in every book. Nor do you have to present your books all under the same brand. Indeed, there might be something worthwhile to be had, by creating a separate brand through which you employ the same marketing techniques in order to build a separate fan base. Nora Roberts writes as J.D. Robb. I have a book coming out next year by Bill Collins... because it doesn't match my Sevastian Winters Brand. But well written stories are always worth sharing....just not always sharing in the same company. I hope you will reconsider your choice to withhold that piece of yourself, but that you will instead find a way to brand it separately. You wrote the story because it mattered to do so. I think it likely also matters to tell it. Just my two cents!
Catherine Mary Sabala
Catherine Mary Sabala says:
I take it your a leg man.
Catherine Mary Sabala
Catherine Mary Sabala says:
I don't think the legs are a turn-off for women. Hell I'd give my left nut for those legs.
Jill Francis
Jill Francis says:
Keep writing with a smile it is what you do best. We can read it in your storys. Although your characters are very violent, your writing style does not read that way and the violence passes quickly into the nether and we know another quip is on its way. It is not real. I would not have bought or read the book. For my part you made the right decision to leave the tragic circumstances in Dani's past, in the past. She knows it happened, we know something happened, the rest of the world does not need to know what happened. She made it clear herself. There I go, I am in the book again. Regards Jill P.S. Looking forward to the next book
Steve Holmes
Steve Holmes says:
OK so I voted yes, and the answer was "no;" but that's so OK. It's a considered decision and the right one for you. And that's what PLU (people like us - the English set) love. Curly and Davy Jones would understand. When I buy and read a book, especially a work of fiction, if I like it, (and maybe that will be that I want to finish it -- let's face it, if you don't want to read to the end, then it can't be that good), I "buy into" the author. Maybe that's what I like so much about JL; the whole "package" is PLU / OOU. I have seen Jo Rowling on TV, and I like what she says, but I'm not a fan of her books, and yet I can identify with the "mind" that creates DC, Reacher, and many other characters in works of fiction. There has to be a bit of an "autobiographic wish" in there! Keep it up - the occasional blogs are superb
Steve Holmes
Steve Holmes says:
OK so I voted yes, and the answer was "no;" but that's so OK. It's a considered decision and the right one for you. And that's what PLU (people like us - the English set) love. Curly and Davy Jones would understand. When I buy and read a book, especially a work of fiction, if I like it, (and maybe that will be that I want to finish it -- let's face it, if you don't want to read to the end, then it can't be that good), I "buy into" the author. Maybe that's what I like so much about JL; the whole "package" is PLU / OOU. I have seen Jo Rowling on TV, and I like what she says, but I'm not a fan of her books, and yet I can identify with the "mind" that creates DC, Reacher, and many other characters in works of fiction. There has to be a bit of an "autobiographic wish" in there! Keep it up - the occasional blogs are superb