A 2020 First! A New Book!

Well, I did it! I released my first book for 2020 and that is HUGE for me. It’s a novella at 25k words but it’s still a HUGE deal for me and so I’m celebrating.

How?

I’m spending it home because after two weeks of dodging whatever the boys were taking home with them from work or school, I woke up yesterday with a sore throat and I don’t feel too good. So I’m spending the day at home and celebrating my release with a cuppa! I did start with a cup of ginger tea and honey but I need my coffee so…

I just realized it’s also been a while since I blogged so here’s my recap of January so far. I didn’t do much other than write this book which was originally supposed to be about one couple’s Valentine celebration. A slice-of-life, basically. Easy 7k words, I figured.

Then I decided to make it about FIVE couples because I told myself, “Nah, that’s easy. Just five stories. How hard can it be?”

How hard?

Oy vey.

Well, if all I had to do was write erotica pieces, it would have been easy peasy. Just do 1,000 words of setup and then go straight to the sexy times. But because I was writing about couples who had their own books already, there’s back story—lots of back story—and now we’re basically just catching up with them since we last saw them in their respective books.

Tying together five stories spanning 24 hours while they’re all in the same location wasn’t as easy as I thought but since this year, I told myself I would face challenges with a positive mindset, I took a deep breath, put on my big girl panties and told myself, “well, no one twisted your arm to write about FIVE couples…”

When it was all over, it felt like I’d just spent the best time with ten of my favorite people in the world. It was tough, yes, but it also helped me get over a few losses from the past year. Loss of my creativity, loss of trust, loss of faith in humanity. In my stories, I started to find them, little glimpses here and there that have helped me process those and many other losses. Also fear.

So while Nothing but Love isn’t a full novel, it’s five short stories with a lot of heart and soul… and sexy times to boot! They go from 2/5 jalapeño hot to 4/5 jalapeño heat levels. I couldn’t go all the way to 5/5 jalapeños because, well, I just couldn’t go there with this book. I’ll reserve that for Naughty Pen!

Before I end this post so I can hit Publish (you have no idea how many posts I write and forget to hit Publish and so they sit in Draft forever!), here’s the inspiration for the title of the book. I’d always wanted the title to go to one of the side characters Gabe but it always escaped me when the time came. Until the idea for this book came to me…

Have an awesome week!

No More Net… or Happy Book Birthday, Harlow and Dax!

Three years ago this month, I released my fourth book. It was a story that had been percolating inside my head about an older woman who falls in love with a much younger man. Originally planned as a novella, one that would have tons of funny and steamy scenes, it would end up taking a different road all its own the moment I sat down to write the first chapter.

I didn’t even know the heroine’s name that night in May. I just knew that she was on some kind of vacation in the Southwest, a place I’d been to in the past and had fallen in love with. There was just one catch.

This was one vacation she planned never to return from.

And so the original steamy lighthearted novella turned into something different but one that I realized was a story I wanted so badly to write. I had to write it like my life depended on it.

Around this time, I had already written three books, all of them commercial failures. I had been so close to quitting writing altogether and heaven knows what my friends and family thought of me and my sad attempt at being a writer. But something inside me decided to give it one more try. One more book.

One more story.

And so, I quit my massage teaching job that summer. I still had my main private practice even if it had already been cut back from five days a week to two days a week because of my son’s schedule which only made childcare costs more expensive because now I was paying per day instead of a monthly rate.

At this point, I’d lost whatever confidence I once had about being a decent writer. I really had no idea if I was good enough or not. I had no idea if the story would resonate with anyone outside of Wattpad (where I was posting each chapter). But I had to try. Quitting my teaching job which I had relied on for that extra boost of income was also that message to myself that said, no more net. Now show them what you got even if you have to bare your soul to do it.

For days and weeks after the book was done, I was so scared of letting it go. If I could have delayed the release, I would have simply because the book, to me, was too raw and too honest in parts. I had also changed my pen name and so people were basically seeing a brand new author at this point. Just another wannabe writer trying her hand in the author world.

But life has a way of reminding you that you’re on the right path. The singer-songwriter whose two songs inspired the book granted me his permission to include lyrics to one of the songs when I saw him perform in Los Angeles two weeks before the release, prompting me to go back and do those additions just in time.

There was no turning back now.

And so if my math is correct, October marks the third book birthday for Dax and Harlow’s story, Everything She Ever Wanted. It marked the official debut for my main pen name and it would remind me that you can’t sit back and wait for things to happen. You have to take that first step and put yourself out there.

You have to go after your dream, share your stories with those who need to read them and do it again and again and again.

I also learned that you do need to set a series bible and timeline but that’s a story for another day…

In the meantime, the ebook version of Everything She Ever Wanted is FREE for a limited time. It’s also available in paperback and audiobook.

When her husband leaves her for a younger woman, transplant surgeon Harlow James hits the open road and ends up in Taos, New Mexico hoping to find out where she went wrong.

Instead, she finds the perfect man.

Master woodworker Dax Drexel is gorgeous, funny, and represents every reason to keep going.

There’s only one problem: he’s too young.

But even if everything about Dax is perfect, can their fling stand a chance against the world that betrayed her… the same world she’s about to return to?

For Dax, a naked woman asleep in his bed when he thought his rental would have been available is the last thing he expected to find on his day off.

He could walk away… but he can’t.

For there’s something about Harlow James that he just can’t turn away from.

Sure, she’s thirteen years older than him, but she’s smart, independent, and beautiful.

She’s also broken.

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Book Review: Coyote Dream by Jessica Stein-Davis

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There’s nothing like the feeling of discovering a book you can’t put down or stop thinking about and Coyote Dream by Jessica Davis-Stein is one of them. I read it in one evening two nights ago and boy, do I wish I had taken my time. So I am giving it a second go-around with the audiobook and I’m loving it as much as I did the first time.

Here’s the synopsis:

For Sarah Friedman – smart, sophisticated, urban woman – the chance to journey to the Southwest to buy American Indian art for her family’s successful New York store comes at a time of personal transition. Determined to put aside romantic disappointments, she seeks new perspectives in the serenity of the vast desert landscape. Then her car breaks down on a remote part of the Navajo reservation and fastpaced Sarah finds herself stranded in a slow brown world.

After years of turmoil, Ben Lonefeather has finally gained control of his life. Aloof and tightly wound, he devotes his time to work and caring for the coyotes he rescued as pups. When Sarah Friedman shows up stranded he wants to get rid of her as quickly as possible, and only grudgingly offers help.

The intersection of two lives that would not ordinarily have crossed for more than a moment deepens into a connection that leaves both of them passionately alive and profoundly changed. Within a layered collision of social spheres, Coyote Dream explores the tension between society’s surface and nature’s undercurrent.

This is a thoughtfully written multi-faceted love story about two people from different worlds and how the heart wants what it wants even if time, distance, and society’s expectations keep them apart. It’s about living your life on your own terms even if it means stepping out of everything you’ve always known. And that’s pretty much all I can say about it without spoiling anything.

You can find Coyote Dream at your favorite retailer by clicking this link: https://books2read.com/coyotedream

This is the only book that Los Angeles-based author Jessica Davis-Stein published and I’m sorry to learn that she passed away early this year. You can read her short stories and her blog posts on her blog here.

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Double Life #teasertuesday

Other Side of Love is the story of Sarah and Benny from A Different Kind of Love series. I can’t seem to work on anything but their story so I’m going to run with it. The events in their story happens ten years before Everything She Ever Wanted.

Musings Over Coffee: I’m a Hot Mess

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Another hot day here in Southern California and I’m still a hot mess without a Macbook to work with. I’d ordered a used iMac from a third party but it arrived damaged and so I had to return it and I’m still waiting for my refund to show up on my bank account. In the meantime, my MacBook is supposed to be ready to be picked up today. They’re just doing more tests on it to make sure everything is back to normal.

I guess I must have downloaded a virus or some kind of malware because they said the solid state drive was wiped clean so whatever I didn’t back up to the cloud is gone. I figured if I don’t remember what it was then I don’t need it (crossing my fingers). But it is what it is. I would love to get a brand new MacBook but I hate that all new Apple devices from what I’ve heard are designed to be tossed away. And given the state of affairs of the world where we have enough trash to contend with, I’m not a fan of that. No way you can simply upgrade stuff inside it like you used to (unless you go only to a certified Apple technician), and that’s why I’m not buying a brand new one yet. They’re also over a thousand dollars and with my book income on life support, even with a healthy credit limit, I just couldn’t push that Buy button.

But I’m still here. I’m surviving #firstworldproblems

I do have the HP Stream laptop I bought two years ago when DH needed to practice with Excel but never did and so it’s been sitting around with its barely there memory (32g) that you can’t even upgrade the operating system without first deleting everything. Well, I did just that and inserted an SD card as was recommended and almost bricked the thing. But luckily I was able to restore it to its system settings without all the bloatware that HP had included when I originally purchased it and so far, so good.

So, yes, I’ve had a crash course in Windows after switching exclusively to Apple products since 2006. And I still can’t write with the thing because my stories are ALL written in iOS apps like Ulysses and so I end up writing them on my iPad. It can be done and I have been writing but there are still a few limitations. I’ve also started uploading my files directly to Google Docs so that my editor can take a look at my WIP since I’m really behind everything.

How behind? According to TimeandDate.com, it’s been 163 days since I last published. That’s four months. Yikes!

But you know what?! The LilDude goes back to school in TWO DAYS!!!!

By the way, if you’ve read this far, Everything She Ever Wanted is $0.99 this week. It’s also part of a $0.99 weekend sale that ends today! Check out other books that go from sweet to steamy!

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Musings Over Coffee: A New Look!

One of my books got a bit of a facelift this week! The same guy, just looking the other way and a new title. And a few new promo images for social media because… well, it was due. I’ve ignored poor Roxy and Kodi enough since their release day in March.

But not anymore!

I’ve changed the title and spiffed up the blurb. It’s short and to the point. A feel-good quick romance for those summer days hanging out by the pool!

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EVERY GOOD THING

A Friends to Lovers Romance

What happens when you end up with your own trending hashtag?

For Roxy Porter, you try to salvage what’s left of your nursing career by agreeing to billionaire Kodi Donovan’s suggestion that they pretend to be engaged… just until the trend dies down.

But pretending to be something you’re not, it turns out, isn’t as easy as it looks… especially when feelings between them become real.

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