I do remember, after reading it, that the editor wrote back that the story began way too harsh for a romance. You see, it opened with the hero as a small child and how he was hiding from someone who was going to abuse him if he was found. It's a scary moment even though it's not about what happens to him but the fear and helplessness. Reluctantly I redid it but had the memory still happen but as dream later on, maybe too harsh still as it came back with a rejection-- and no suggestions. Even if it had though, it wouldn't have helped. It's what the story is about.
Then and now I understood why it's had a hard go with readers. Moon Dust is about a tough subject-- the adult ramifications of sexual abuse. You don't learn until two-thirds through who the abuser was and that might prove even more traumatic to a reader.
Despite how it seems, this book is not about victimization. It's about victory-- but not victory without cost. It's about what people can do (20% or more of women and at least 10% of men in our country) because for those who were molested, more are impacted by this through their relationships.
Before I wrote Moon Dust, I researched the topic of how this kind of crime impacts men. It seems to me given what has come out since that time with both priests and now that football coach, it's even more a pertinent story, but it simply doesn't attract romance readers, I guess. And the energy of this book is also that of a romance.
Anyway, I have done a new trailer for it as well as a new cover, one that I think is a lot more apropos for the story. The heroine starts out a woman with a lot of innocence but she cannot handle this marriage any longer, not when she has no idea why her husband behaves as he does. She does a remake of herself, but she doesn't leave the question of this man she has loved so much and still wants but not in a damaged relationship which is leading to stress and ulcers.
When I found the above cover at CanStock, I knew I had Susan as she so exactly depicts the feelings I wrote about for that woman and her appearance. I put it with a backdrop (which I might play with again) and we redid the cover with it.
I imagine there are other writers with the same issues where they know they have written a good story, but they also understand why readers want to avoid the topic which in this case is also about physical abuse involving three teen boys and how it is impacting their life decisions.
The story illustrates the danger in our world as well as how we can change others. Moon dust is also a fairy tale in the book, but it's about a truth in relationships and how we do help others. The fairy tale is how when we think something mystical will help, like prayer. We find the real help came through connection and sharing positive energies. It's not magic at all.
The book has a lot more to it than boy meets girl. Or even how a marriage can be healed when it's been broken. For most people though it won't get a chance, and I am not sure what I can do to give it that chance given the topic is a culturally tender issue.
One of those teen-age boys ends up the hero of a book eight years later-- Second Chance. Moon Dust would be a good beginning to it but Second Chance is the one that has found more readers maybe because the story is experienced through the world of wildlife rehabilitation.
Anyway marketing to me is often a mystery but I keep plugging away at it. What I will do is stay true to the stories as I have seen them, make changes when I see there is something I hadn't earlier gotten, but not sell out just to sell out.