Musings

Cover Reveal: Breaking the Rules

Not all promises are made to be broken…

Marine Sawyer Villier has always preferred to keep his life simple and commitment-free. It’s why he lives off the grid in Taos, New Mexico when he’s not guarding billionaires.

But when he runs into his best friend’s widow during a stopover in LA, Sawyer realizes there’s one commitment he’s failed to keep, one he made to the man who saved his life in a time he’s sworn to forget.

But Sawyer’s not the only one having a problem with promises…

Single mother Alma Thomas wishes she could forget the moment when she had to choose between standing by the man she loved or saving herself and their unborn child. After a year spent keeping his secrets safe, all she wants now is to move on.

But when Sawyer reappears in her life determined to honor his promises, will Alma be willing to let go of her own?

BREAKING THE RULES

A DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE NOVEL #3

by LIZ DURANO

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PREORDER (JUNE 19, 2018)

PREORDER


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A Different Kind of Love Series

BOOK 1:
EVERYTHING SHE EVER WANTED (AN OLDER WOMAN/YOUNGER MAN ROMANCE)

BOOK 2:
FALLING FOR JORDAN (A SECRET BABY ROMANCE)

BOOK 3:
BREAKING THE RULES 

So Many Lists So Little Time

With General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR coming into effect this week, I’ve had to take my eyes off finishing the book to deal with my mailing lists. Turns out I have three lists to deal with, 2 for Liz and 1 for the secret pen. I’m so tempted just to delete all of them because, goodness, who has the freaking time to figure the regulations and then the process of confirming that I am in compliance with each of the mailing list providers? And then make sure that by sending them a reconfirmation email, I’m not allegedly admitting that I got their emails without their consent in the first place????

You guys may have time but honestly, I don’t.

With the two emails sent to my main list and some major culling on my end last night that had me removing subscribers who had received up to 28 emails from me in the last 2 years and either never opened a single email or clicked a single link, I’ve come to the realization that 80% of my main list—which came from list builder promotions and giveaways, the ones where the subscriber receives a free book in exchange for an email address—do NOT know who I am. Or care.

That’s 80%, maybe even 85% given that my 10K list has been whittled down to 1500, give or take.

That’s a lot of people who may have no idea who I am.

It’s humbling.

It’s discouraging.

But like most entrepreneurs, it’s onward or bust, even if most days, I just want to go bust and get a job at Starbucks making coffee for writers more successful than I am ten times over. And I am serious.

Don’t even get me started on naughty pen’s mailing list. One day she had 80 subscribers just from the back of her books alone mostly gleaned from ONE day that came out of nowhere and then she joined a list building promotion and got 1000 more in one more day. That was awesome, but those 1000 people are going to go. I don’t have the time to email them anything, much less write anything titillating just to ask them to stay on my list. All I wanted to do with this whole writing thing was to write, not go through so many regulations, cookie policies and privacy policies on each and every website I run.

And then there are the GDPR experts who contradict one another with their guides. Do this, no, don’t do that. It’s crazy. And I have a few more days to go. It’s faster just to delete everyone and start over.

That way I can go back to writing.

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Waking Up to A Royal Wedding… and A Freebie

Me: I’m not waking up at 3 AM for no royal wedding!

Also me: Why am I awake at 3 AM? (turns on the phone and watches the live-stream)

So, yes, I watched bits and pieces of the royal wedding and thought it was really beautiful. Harry and Meghan Markle look perfect for each other. I loved the way he looked at her and said, “You look amazing. I’m so lucky.”

And then the lip bite…

I’ve actually had to cut down on the number of times my characters bite their lip because I don’t want to run into a reader who’s bound to count how many times I use it. But at this moment I don’t give a hoot anymore. My characters, male and female, will bite their lips ALL THEY FREAKING WANT.

Anyway, it also made me realize I’m old since I remember watching the royal wedding of Prince Harry’s parents back in 1981. I even made a scrapbook of Lady Diana Spencer.

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Now I wish I wrote fast because royal romances are bound to be in… along with mountain men and their virgins and reverse harems.

Did you watch the royal wedding?

ETA: I forgot all about my freebie!

To celebrate my birthday month, Loving Ashe is free for a limited time!

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Easy Miss, I’ve Got You

Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder were my first ever Superman and Lois Lane. Nothing before or after can ever compare, not even (gasp!) Henry Cavill. There’s just something about how movies and images stay with you when you’re first exposed to them, and the raw emotions you felt.

I’m sure if I were to watch them again, the original Superman would seem slow and clunky, but there was nothing like this scene when Superman catches Lois (I don’t care about the physics of it because technically she wouldn’t have survived) but it was just perfect.

And the words he says… now I know where I heard it first. Now I know why it’s stayed with me all this time.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and moms-at-heart!

I’m going to come out of my writing cave long enough to have my coffee and maybe a plate of pancakes before I go back in. I’ve got words to write and a book to finish!

How’s your day so far?

Words Are Powerful

The last week in Romanceland has been rife with controversy. I kinda got caught up with it emotionally because I knew people in both camps, and as a result, I’ve fallen behind on my word count.

Like, really behind.

I had originally thought about not writing about it but at the same time, I thought, why don’t I want to write about it? It’s important, isn’t it?

Well, maybe not to the regular person it’s not, so this may not be of interest to you as a casual reader. But for an author like me who writes in the field of romance, the implications are pretty huge.

You see, a fellow romance author trademarked the word “cocky.” She writes a series that started out as the Cocker Brothers of Georgia (or Atlanta, I can’t remember now…), about seven brothers with the last name Cocker. And so each book in her series starts with the word Cocky. Cocky Roomie, Cocky Heart Surgeon, Cocky Cowboy... you get the drift.

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Can’t touch this…

So with 17 or 18 books now in her series, I guess she figured besides trademarking Cocker Brothers of Atlanta (or Georgia), she might as well trademark Cocky because, well, it’s her “brand” now.

She applied for the trademark in September 2017 and was granted the mark last month. Then she started sending C&D letters to other authors who had Cocky on their titles or series, mostly released after she published the first Cocky book (Cocky Roomie). She told them to change their titles and series names or she’d sue them for monies owed to her. She told them she would win. She told them retitling would take a day, nothing more.

Cue #cockygate.

The backlash? HUGE.

Her response? “Branding.”

Amazon’s response to her trademark infringement claim? Removing the “infringing” authors books along with a note stating that they may owe the cocky author monies earned.

Other people’s response? Meh? Who cares? Just a bunch of women fighting with each other. One misogynist dared “spiteful jealous mean girls” who had a problem with it to suck his cocky.

Words were exchanged. Emotions got heated. Parody cocky books popped up and are selling like hotcakes…

I mean, things escalated quickly.

But the precedent set over the trademarking of a single word that is a huge part of romance? Dangerous.

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It was exhausting.

But now it’s back to work.

I need to write more words. Maybe I’ll even throw cocky in there just to be sentimental about #cockygate and the weekend when I should have been writing.

***Romance Writers of America (RWA) has stepped in to stop the take-down of affected books and the rest (petition to cancel the trademark, maybe) will be handled legally. 

A New Week

This weekend has been crazy in the author world. It’s a miracle I got to write anything at all with everything going on, seeing friends’ books taken down, threatened with lawsuits, and feeling sick to my stomach (and my heart) at what was going on. Friendships lost, trust broken. People I thought were good people in this author business (not just within romance) were not. So for the weekend, mostly, I was sad, aghast, disappointed, and sad again.

But that’s life, isn’t it?

But with Monday here, I told myself it was time to snap out of the despair. I needed to assemble that exercise bike I’d bought last week and channel my despair and disappointment into some kind of activity. And so here she is, my new exercise bike (and no, it’s not the actual picture of the bike in my house but the one from the web):

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I rode on it for 15 minutes this morning WHILE dictating 840 words of my book. A first for me and while some passages of my dictated text once transcribed looks like this:

Just so looks at me with what seems like disbelief. And Elmo’s laugh. That’s classic Oma, introspective mint never want exactly to believe everything I would say.

I’m loving it. I need to do it more often. I also need to enunciate better when I speak.

Most of all, I need to get this book done.

Maybe I’ll even lose weight doing it.

How’s your Monday going?

Thirty-one Days of Liz

…officially starts today!

Why? Because May is my birthday month and with many in my family celebrating their birthdays in the same month (all 7 of them) and everyone hubby always forgetting my birthday in the process—and as of last year, the kid, too—I always make it a point to just celebrate it…

Every. Freaking. Day. In. May.

So today I went shopping and got myself a new pair of running shoes. And an indoor bicycle. And a book light thingy so I can read my (real) books at night.

Yup, I’m ready to rock this month and also finish writing that darn book because I have 50 days left before I need to upload the final copy.

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Not For Me

I’m still having problems with my novel but that’s something for another day. For now, let me tell you how I prepared to write a steamy scene last night for my naughty pen. I figured if I can’t write as Liz then I’ll write something naughty. Maybe that would be just the boost I needed.

And so I went ahead and pulled up an image I found on Tumblr as inspiration. It’s not as NSFW but the intent is there.

And lo and behold, it got me writing.

One sentence turned into one paragraph and then I was off to the second paragraph.

Then my phone buzzed. I guess for some reason, I gave Youtube permission to send me notifications?

I shouldn’t have looked, but of course, I did.

The Handmaid’s Tale, it said.

The Hanging.

I shouldn’t have looked. But of course, I did.

If ever I wanted to stop writing my happy ever afters and steamy love scenes, all I have to do now is pull up any effing scene from this dystopian series. It’s a cockblock like nothing I’ve ever encountered before.

And it disturbed me so much that I had nightmares that I had actually changed all my naughty pen’s books to feature the stuff I just saw. That instead of HEA encounters, it was all the nasty things from The Handmaid’s Tale and more.

At 2:30 am, I almost got out of bed to hurry to my laptop just to make sure that I didn’t change all my stories to dystopian porn where no one has any fun except the ones who get a kick out of non-consensual crap. I almost checked my computer at 4am as well.

The nightmare just would not quit.

It went on until I finally got out of bed at 8 am because there was no way I was getting any sleep at all. And luckily, I found out that I didn’t change any of naughty pen’s HEA stories into dystopian non-consent porn.

Still… last night’s peek into Season 2 and a few peeks into Season 1 killed anything romance-y inside my head. And it made me wonder if I’d gotten so soft that such things distress me to the point that I actually have nightmares and experience real fear that seeps right into my bones.

So today, after a big cup of coffee, I pulled up that romance-y photo again and told myself that the only way to get all that dystopian crap out of my head was to write the stories I want to read even if it’s a fantasy. Anything if it means getting those visions out of my head.

Just one word, and then another.

I think it worked. I got about 1400 words in. A short story.

A naughty—and sweet—short story.

Turns out, that’s how I roll.

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Happy World Book Day!

I could tell you about my favorite books for Word Book Day but I’ll tell you about the first book I wrote and published instead.

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Finding Sam is set in Southern California’s South Bay cities of Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. It was my second attempt at writing a novel set in the area, the first still sitting in my hard drive and probably will never see the light of day.

In Finding Sam, Sam Martin is a single mother who’s had a hard life and is trying to get out of the mindset of one who lets things happen to her (through no fault of her own) to one who’s going to make things happen. But she needed a catalyst to do that and it’s Erik Maystrom, a wealthy and idealistic community doctor who lives on the Strand.

I think the first draft of Finding Sam hit 145k words. The first editor who read it came highly recommended and was known to be so tough that most authors quaked in their boots sending her their manuscripts. She was known to throw those literal bricks at you. Naive me went ahead and sent the first 10K words anyway.

I think she must have known I was new because she was kind in her note. She told me to read books on how to write romance because I had missed crucial elements like the heroine has to meet the hero in the first chapter, etc. It gutted me to read her comments, especially since I never labeled the book romance. When I told her that, she said that if it was Women’s Fiction, then it wasn’t too bad although she insisted that I wasn’t ready to publish, that I had to find my voice.

Months later, I decided to publish anyway, if only to see what lay behind that Publish button. I sold 3 copies, one of those purchasers being me. After going through a bad bout of imposter syndrome, I’d go ahead and unpublish the book two months later and then republish it after an author recommended it on a podcast.

I’ve always been a voracious reader since I was a child. I read everything that was within my reach: Bible stories, fairy tales, condensed Reader’s Digest novels, Rumi, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Book of Mormon, my mother’s secret collection of Harold Robbins novels. Books were my escape from the things that were happening around me. When I started writing in eighth grade, my stories were my retreat as well. I could make up whatever I wanted, stories set outside my hometown and country, thanks to the Almanac, Reader’s Digest, and Life Magazines. It was safer that way. I wasn’t incriminating anyone in stories set in Jane Austen’s England or in the bazaars of Morocco.

My ideal house always had a library, no matter how big or small it was. I could live in a studio apartment and it will always have a shelf of books or boxes where I could store them all. My favorite places whenever I travel is a bookstore or a library. I guess if ever I get lost somewhere, that’s where you’ll find me. We can go to Chinatown for the best dim sum and I’ll still manage to find the only bookstore there and come out with tons of books.

Books will always remain my escape, both reading and writing them. Happy World Book Day! What are your favorite books?