Musings

Welcome to Drazen World!

Less than three weeks to go and my Kindle Worlds Novella should be out on July 12th together with other Drazen World authors.

Drazen World is based on CD Reiss’ series about the Drazen family in Los Angeles. Submission is Jonathan and Monica’s story while Corruption is Theresa and Antonio’s, and Forbidden is Fiona’s – you’ll have to read it to see who she ends up with. And then there’s Secret Sins which is Margie’s story and should be read last.

Anyway, here is the trailer for Need, a Drazen Kindle World Novella.

Want to check out the rest of the Drazen World? You can find them here.

Shout-Out Sunday: Carly Quinn

After my little fangirling last night, I’d like to fangirl some more although virtually this time. I have two people I’d like to do shout-outs to, but they’re of totally different genres so I’m going to feature her tomorrow instead.

Today, I’d like to give my first shout-out to Carly Quinn’s My Perfect Mistress, a short story (13K words) that’s full of heart and soul – and a bit of BDSM. It’s $0.99 or FREE to read on Kindle Unlimited. Yup, and because I just discovered the GIF and MOV feature on Canva.com today, I just had to make this pretty cool graphic! Just don’t keep staring at it because it can make you dizzy.

My Perfect Mistress
by Carly Quinn

Zoe Flanders has had a hell of a year – from a philandering husband, the death of her mother and the quick remarriage of her father – heaven knows she needs a break. So when her best friend suggests she visit an online site specializing in alternative lifestyles, Zoe figures she’s got nothing to lose, not when she’s just looking. But her search for a Dominant takes a slight turn to the unexpected when she hits it off with a man wanting to be, of all things, her submissive instead.

FREE TO READ ON KINDLE UNLIMITED

 

I’ve Been Corrupted (A Night of Corruption)

Yup, I went to my first book event tonight and I’m glad I did. As usual, I didn’t think I’d make it because when my two-hour alarm sounded to remind me of the event, there was no relief in sight from kid duty. So I figured if it’s meant to be, then it’s meant to be.

When his dad got home, I was off. I didn’t care what I wore or whether my makeup was on point. I no longer wear as much makeup as I used to and apparently, it’s not easy to put on makeup when it’s hot and humid as well… and when you find a pimple above your right eye. So I did the best I could and ran out of there. After all, it’s my first night alone and out of the house in a long time…

By the time I got there, the event was in full swing and there were long lines everywhere for the authors to sign books and meet their readers. Although I was familiar only with one author’s work, I was eager to check out the other authors at their tables. Some of them had so many fans they had to be separated into groups and assigned numbers.

I went straight to the goddess CD Reiss, author of the Submission series (as if I haven’t raved about her books enough that you’re probably sick of it) and then realized I didn’t know how to introduce myself. I wanted her to sign my books to my real name but I also felt like it was also proper to tell her that I was one of the Drazen World authors launching next month with my pen name.

I was really happy to find a copy of Secret Sins, the last book in the Drazen World series (in order, they read Submission, Corruption, Forbidden, and Secret Sins), so of course, I had to grab my copy. There was also a coloring book which was pretty cool.

After she signed all the books, there was this picture with the goddess herself and I was a total fangirl. Can’t you tell?

I met other wonderful new-to-me authors and bought a few books. Vanessa Fewings is a Brit with the most beautiful accent and Aleatha Romig was nice enough to tell me about her books when I went up to her table and said, “I haven’t read any of your books yet.” Hope it wasn’t tacky but I wanted her to tell me which books to start with, series or standalone. It’s something I get from readers who first learn of my work; they usually want to know which book to pick up first.

I also met audiobook narrators who had a booth outside on the patio where it was cooler. I probably spent more time there as they had more time to chat and one of them told me how one of her fans, a truck driver, ran into her at a truck stop in the Midwest and told her how much he loved her narration of a paranormal romance series involving werewolves. Turns out, some truck drivers enjoy listening to romance although he admitted he had to replace the romance covers with a more masculine one so colleagues wouldn’t give him that weird look. Apparently, audiobook CD’s are big in major truck stops!

For my first book event, A Night of Corruption was small enough and intimate enough that it didn’t overwhelm me. I might check out the next one in October, who knows? For one thing, whether you’re an author or a reader at these events, you know you’re with your people and that’s a good feeling.

Free Yourself of Your Harshest Critic, and Plow Ahead

Your job is to do the work, put it out there and let the world decide.

Now, I know that sounds scary. But let’s be dead clear about something: You’re not John Steinbeck (and neither was he, at the start). You have to get there first. And the only way to do that is through practice and criticism. But the only way to get practice and criticism is to make and share your work.

This isn’t just about writing. It’s about anything meaningful you do. Singing, painting, entrepreneurship, giving financial advice, museum curating, boat building, skiing, whatever. Whatever it is, your job is to do the work, to become the best you can be.

Just As Beautiful (A Short Story)

Now that I’ve recovered from the consequences of high expectations (last post), I’m returning to the things that make me happy and that’s writing stories and being inspired by beautiful people (beautiful both on the inside and the outside). Thank you so much for your kind message, Dacia. This one’s for you.

The late Anton Yelchin was the muse for this story when I wrote it three years ago.


They said he was only after one thing, and that after he’d get it from me, he’d forget me. And so after it happened, I stayed away, kept to myself, and minded my own business.
 
But now he was doing his first big show, showcasing the latest fashion by the city’s most successful designers, modeled by the city’s most beautiful people – and I wanted to be there. My brother, Mick, was the official photographer. And after he sent his assistant home because the guy caught chicken pox, I became his unofficial assistant. So I helped Mick lug the heavy equipment from the car to the Magnolia Ballroom, trying hard not to be noticed in my t-shirt and jeans, a baseball cap pulled down to cover my eyes.
 
After everything was in place, I found a chair at the back of the ballroom and sat down. They were deep in dress rehearsals and everyone was there – the make-up artists, the hairdressers, the assistants and even the assistants’ assistants gathered around the designers and their models, making sure not a hair was out of place, their make-up perfect.
 
With my brother settled on his platform in front of the stage, my work was done. The next time I’d need to actually do some work would be to help him pack the equipment and stuff all of them in the car till tomorrow when we’d do it all over again for the big show.
 
And so, armed with a slice of pizza in one hand and bottle of water in the other, I leaned back against the chair and watched the first run of the show.
 
I had never been one that people called pretty right off the bat. The best they usually could say about me at first glance was you’ve got a great smile. Or you actually have beautiful eyes if one took the time to look.
 
But with Trevor, it was different. One didn’t need to look hard to see that he was beautiful. He was tall, with dark hair and a gorgeous smile. With his deep blue eyes, all he had to do was blink – simply because humans had to – and women swooned. Men, too.
 
I met Trevor that semester. He sat behind me in Sociology, and we barely exchanged more than brief hellos. But when everyone had to pair up for a presentation on culture and socialization, he tapped my shoulder and asked me if I wanted to be his partner. For the next month, we buried ourselves in research books and online articles to better understand the subject at hand. Soon, we were lying on the rooftop of my apartment building where I lived with Mick, trying to spot the constellations and telling stories about ourselves.
 
Then two months later, out on that same rooftop, Trevor kissed me.
 
It was at the apartment that Trevor was “discovered” by one of Mick’s fashion designer friends. Two weeks later, after we did our presentation in front of the class (we received an A), Trevor officially signed on to become a model for some big-name agency.
 
That’s when everyone told me that the only reason Trevor had picked me to be his sociology partner was so he’d get a chance to meet my brother – and maybe get discovered. They said that Trevor had never really loved me, even though he said he did. I still had his letter in my pocket, sent after I broke up with him, the stationary worn out from being repeatedly taken out, opened and read.
 
I love you, he wrote. I think we have something good going, and I really believe we can still keep going – but only if you want to. But if you believe the lies that people are saying, about why I’m with you, then you don’t know me at all. Wasn’t it you who told me to accept the modeling offer?
 
But how could Trevor love me when he was now surrounded by such beautiful people, I thought, as I watched him saunter onstage. They must have taught him how to walk like a model. They must have drilled it into him how to swagger like a man who knew he had the goods, and that he could deliver them all. I watched him scan the non-existent audience in front of him, his gaze passing over me like I wasn’t there.
 
He really did forget me, I thought then, my appetite suddenly gone.
 
I must have sat there for some time, lost in thought, for the next thing I knew, the rehearsal was over and Trevor was sitting next to me. He was no longer wearing one of the designer suits he’d been modeling earlier. Instead, he was wearing the usual white t-shirt and jeans he always wore to school (it drove the girls crazy and he must have known it).
 
“You’re a sight for sore eyes,” he said, grinning. “Mick said he had a surprise for me and I sure hope he meant you.”
 
I turned to look for Mick, who must have needed my help in packing everything up, but there was someone there already, helping him load equipment on the cart.
 
“Mick said I could drive you home,” Trevor added as Mick waved at us. “We need to talk.”
 
“I look horrible,” I said, feeling self-conscious and realizing that I was still holding the slice of pizza in my hand. “You looked amazing out there.”
 
He shrugged. “Meh, it’s alright. It’s really not my thing, but I figure, you only live once. I might as well give it a try, right?”
 
I nodded. “Yeah, you should.”
 
“You gonna eat that?” He asked, looking at my pizza.
 
I shook my head and handed it to him. Trevor ate it in four bites, brushing his hands against his jeans when he discovered I didn’t have any napkins.
 
“I don’t want to be starving all the time,” he said. “And this modeling business makes you hungry, that’s for sure.”
 
“Aren’t you having fun?”
 
“Only with you around,” he said. “Other than that, it’s actually boring.”
 
“Oh, stop it, Trev,” I chided. “You’ve got all those beautiful people surrounding you. Why on earth would you choose to spend it here, with plain ol’ me?”
 
Trevor leaned forward, and I could smell the scent of his cologne. He never used to wear cologne, I thought. But maybe all models wore cologne.
 
“Because ‘plain ol’ you’ is who I want,” he said, his expression serious. “I meant it when I said that I liked you, that I love -”
 
“But you could have anyone on that stage -”
 
“Didn’t you just hear me?” He said. “Stop listening to what everyone says about why I chose you as my partner in Sociology – that I did it so that I could get discovered by some talent agent, or whatever else they say I did it for. That’s baloney.”
 
“Then why did you choose me?”
 
“Because you’re beautiful, that’s why,” he said as I rolled my eyes. “I mean, you did help me get an A in Sociology -”
 
I fake-punched him in the arm, both of us laughing as he continued. “- but I always thought you were cute. Why do you think I sat behind you, one row away?”
 
Someone was calling him, telling him they were headed to the hotel bar for some drinks and that he should come along. Trevor waved them off and turned back to look at me.
 
“Why don’t you go with them?” I asked.
 
“Because I’m with you,” he said, grinning. Then he stood up and offered me his hand. I took it, allowing him to help me up from the chair.
 
“Where are we going?” I asked as he led me outside to the hallway. We headed for the stairs that led to the side of the building.
 
“To look at the stars,” he said. “Wanna come?”
 
Twenty minutes later, Trevor and I were lying on the hotel lawn looking up at the stars. He was holding my hand, and soon, he turned towards me and kissed me.
 
“Why me?” I asked.
 
“Why not?” Trevor said. “You’re beautiful. You’re kind. You’re funny.”
 
“You’re more beautiful.”
 
“You’re so hung up on that. There’s more to life than this, you know,” he said, his hand circling his face. “One day I won’t look like this anymore, and what then?”
 
“Life goes on,” I said.
 
“Exactly. And what matters is in here,” Trevor gently tapped the middle of my chest. “Well, there are other things, too…but you know what I mean.”
 
I smiled as I looked at his blue eyes. Suddenly, I realized that I did know what he meant, about what really mattered. And that was what I loved most about Trevor – that he truly was beautiful. Inside – and out.
 
And when he kissed me again, I realized that he was right.
 
I was just as beautiful, too.

Being Real (Hard Truths)

Today is one of those days when reality smacks you right in the face with the truth. It’s a day when your dreams as a writer collide with the reality of being a mother of a child with special needs. It’s a day that started out exciting and scary as hell when you drop the kid off to Day Camp thinking he’ll do fine only to get that dreaded call three hours later with, “Please take your child home. We’ll refund you the money for the eight weeks you signed him up with us.”

Today is the day when you realize life isn’t a bed of roses and behind all the posturing on social media and making it seem like you’ve got your shit together, you don’t. You realize you’re so far from the woman you want to be, definitely not Annabeth Markum, Laura Linney’s character in Mystic River. Instead, you’re Celeste Boyle, the sad pathetic mother and wife played by Marcia Gay Harden whose final description/frame in the book and in the movie never left me ever since I saw the adaptation so many years ago.

Today is the day when you need to get real and accept the realities of your life as a writer still at the bottom of that ladder where every single one of your peers holds their letters (USA Today, NYT bestselling author) and can boast in testimonials about earning five figures every month and make 350% and above ROI on their investment.

It’s one of those days when you know that your only saving grace is that you can write good angst and passable sex. But it’s also the day when you learn–again–that dreams are just not–and will never be–enough.

Well, That Got Settled Fast…

Mom: I hear you typing. Are you working?

Me: My proofreader just came online and she finished proofing my latest novella.

Mom: Oh, you have a new story?

Me: Yep, and it’s going to come out next month… oh, but, Mom, it’s um… it has sex. Lots of sex. It’s erotic romance.

(Silence)

Me: I might need to release it under a different name.

Mom: But then no one will know you wrote it.

Me: But it has lots of sex in it. Like more than all my 5 books combined.

Mom: So what? How else will anyone know you wrote it?

Me: Good point.

Needless to say, that settled the whole should-I-or-shouldn’t-I use a pen name question about my upcoming darker romances. For someone who doesn’t know much about publishing but raised a voracious reader because she’s such a reader herself (though not of romance – her tastes lean towards political thrillers and suspense), my mom does ask the obvious questions.

And now that my manuscript has just come back from my proofreader, it’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It also turns out that the novella I’ll be publishing through Kindle Worlds is only available for sale in Amazon US. It’s crazy but it’s true. You can’t buy it unless you’re a US resident and only from Amazon. However, you can leave a review by logging into Amazon US.

So if you want to read my angsty steamy novella as an Advance Reader’s Copy, let me know. You may have to read Beg Tease Submit first to understand it although my proofreader said she did fine without having done so (but she is going to dive into it; peaked her interest enough to learn more about the series). It’s the first novel in the Submission series featuring Jonathan Drazen and Monica Faulkner and right now it’s one of four novels in The Alphas: Four First Loves by CD Reiss and it’s free everywhere for a limited time.

Four Alpha Obsessions.
Four novels.
Four ways to fall in love.

FREE for a LIMITED TIME

AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2rlwGGw
iBOOKS: http://apple.co/2nxs3Xz
NOOK: http://bit.ly/2rXgpJl
KOBO: http://bit.ly/2rXhvVr
GOOGLE: http://bit.ly/2rhk8z8