Black Friday is Here and That Means FREE Books!

Yup, I’m staying home for Black Friday like I do most Black Fridays since I realized most of the stuff on sale that I have to battle for I can get for a better price on Cyber Monday with bit of patience. Besides, I’m broke at the moment… (note to self: no more exclusive model photo purchases!)

So, what’s a girl to do on Black Friday? Well, she’s going to link to FREE romance books. Romance books, everywhere.

First, there’s Carrie Lomax’s debut novel, Holiday Heat, that I reviewed here. I hope you’ll enjoy Alyssa and Marc’s story and when you have time, please leave a review!

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And that’s not all! Here are more than 80 books for you to download away!

Just click on the image or here and download to your heart’s content!

And happy Black Friday weekend!

Book Review: Holiday Heat by Carrie Lomax

Last night, I stumbled on Holiday Heat: A Christmas Dramedy by Carrie Lomax, a seemingly “holiday” novel with its Christmas glitter and mistletoe on the cover that’s not exactly a holiday novel. It’s set during the holidays, yes, but it’s *not a holiday novel. Family dynamics? Check. Sibling rivalry and protectiveness? Check. Steamy AF hot scenes? Checkcheckcheck.

The first thing that caught my attention was the smart and witty heroine, Alyssa Carlisle, who lives in a studio apartment in Midtown Manhattan and she’s just been stood up by her rich boyfriend of two years, Zach. He was supposed to propose on Christmas Eve but he’s five hours late and when he does show up, he’s drunk and tells her he got cold feet. Apparently, it’s not the first time Zach has pulled something like this and so, with a plane to catch in the morning where they were supposed to spend Christmas with her parents in Tampa, Florida, she tells Zach they’re over, to have a great life, and not to talk to her ever again.

Tampa is where we meet Marc Del Luna, the oldest son of the Del Lunas who live next door to her parents. He’s never finished college but he’s smoking hot, “the kind of guy who made girls’ panties wet just by walking into the room—at least, the ones like her who wore undergarments.” And apparently, Alyssa has been secretly crushing on him since her family moved into the neighborhood almost ten years ago… but there was something about Marc being known as the resident man-whore that made her steer clear.

While taking out the trash, they bump into each other and sparks fly, especially when Marc learns she’s suddenly single. Who knew the (play)boy next door liked her all these years?  To Alyssa, the prospect of a one-night stand or a vacation fling with Marc before she returns to New York is looking better and better every minute.

But before one assumes that Marc is simply the manwhore everyone thinks he is, there’s actually more to him than meets the eye, just as there’s more to the sibling dynamics between him and Julian as well as Alyssa and Janelle, her younger sister stuck in a dead-end job and drowning in student loans.

What I love the most about Holiday Heat is that it’s a refreshing take on romance from the usual fare that I’ve been picking up lately (dark romance, secret baby, and let-me-top-the-sex-in-this-book-with-more-sex… oh wait, that’s my book!). It’s a new voice and I love me some new voices especially since I just finished A Man Called Ove and needed something light and fun and witty.

“Courtship had a new rule book. Somewhere. She’d never read it and doubted anyone else in her generation had either.”

I like how Lomax explores certain social issues that are at the forefront today and for the most part, they’re deftly interwoven into the storyline. The sparks that fly between Alyssa and Marc are super hot and deserving of New Year’s Eve fireworks, and the scenes between them are super steamy as well. But that’s not going to mean that everything is smooth sailing either. They go through some rough patches like an unexpected visitor, a reality TV show-inspired contest, and some good measure of angst.  And for a holiday tryst that’s hot and heavy from the get-go, will their fling last long after the New Year’s Eve fireworks are all done?

So, yup, except for the ending which kinda felt flat for me because I wanted more Aly and Marc, I enjoyed Holiday Heat: A Christmas Dramedy by Carrie Lomax and highly recommend it if you like a contemporary romance with a chock-full of really well-written steamy scenes and high octave chemistry.

Holiday Heat: A Christmas Dramedy is free to read in Kindle Unlimited.

10% of the proceeds from this book will benefit the National Coalition for the Homeless.

Find Carrie online:

Website: http://www.carrielomax.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carrielomaxnovelist/

*The only reason I say it’s NOT a holiday novel is that holiday novels get pigeonholed during the holidays. Which is a disservice to this witty and layered novel that’s more about relationships and romance than the holiday itself. It’s just SET in a holiday and that’s about it. But that’s also the Marketing me talking. I hate seeing good novels get pushed aside because people assume if it’s holiday-themed then it’s kinda “holiday-themed” which to me, would be sugar and spice and mistletoe and family and eggnog and chocolate with marshmallows and cuddles in front of the fireplace. None of which brings up steamy AF romance in all its glory. I mean, come on. When do you watch A Christmas Story? While You Were Sleeping and so many other stories that are set during the holidays???

Rolling With the Punches

There’s nothing like a huge life lesson to teach you that sometimes things just happen and you have to roll with the punches. Between release week jitters, driving the crazy 405 to and from my South Bay office to see clients and back in time for my son’s parent-teacher conference that turned out to be the wrong day, and then drinking way too much coffee afterward, I made a big boo-boo late last night.

Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash

I accidentally hit the unpublish button on Falling for Jordan with my aggregator who recently announced they’re closing which meant there was no undo button there.

Instead, there was a mad scramble to list the book with retailers at 2 a.m., and in the morning, another scramble to update all the old links to the current ones wherever I posted links here and on my websites although Amazon was the only one who had the book so far. Come to think of it, I never got around to let my blog tour people know of the change either so if that’s still going on, none of those old links work anymore.

I also failed to notice that my unusually quiet kid was busy drawing his masterpieces on all the furniture and now I’m tired. I didn’t even know how to adult when faced with that little fiasco that didn’t involve using the word “punishment” versus “consequences.”

So if the old links for Falling for Jordan don’t work, that’s why. I’m still fixing things but I might also need to just go to bed and start over in the morning.

In the meantime, if you’d like to read the story of Addison, Jordan, and Piper, here is an active link that actually works, algorithms be darned. You can even decide to pay whatever you feel you want to pay outside of the minimum price of the book. Weird, I know, but I like the concept.

Oh, and the trailer presentation is gorgeous…

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens

Yesterday, many authors received the news that Pronoun, an aggregator for books like Falling for Jordan and Finding Sam, was closing in two months. Their new owner, MacMillan, had decided that it just wasn’t a sustainable model, this after they got the most of the real reason they acquired it, for data mining purposes.

While I knew Pronoun’s run was never going to last, it took me awhile to process things. It was no biggie for my other books I distributed through them like Finding Sam which was the first book I’d put up apart from all my other books so I could separate earnings I made from its sale which went straight to Ovarian Cancer research. The short stories would be easy to migrate as well. They’re stories I also give away as samples of my writing.

But then it hit me: I’d just released Falling for Jordan and all the links for my promos are through them. That means when I migrate all that information to the corresponding vendor on my own like the rest of my books, it’s basically starting over. Any reviews on iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Google Play are will disappear although Amazon works to match the reviews to the new book when you request them to.

Changes, changes… it comes with the territory.

But it’s not all bad or so-so news. I just received permission to use lines from this song in my book! So can you say Second Edition just in time with Pronoun announcement? YES!

Musings Over Coffee: Put On Those Blinders

I was grounded so much when I was growing up that all I had were books, usually Readers Digest books that my mom would order. Classics, Seven Wonders of the World, Ghost Stories, those kinds of titles, and the annual almanac (do they still have those?). Then one day I found this paperback with a torn cover hidden away on the top shelf in my room and the prologue and first chapter baffled and shocked 12-year-old me so much I had to read the rest of the 800 pages of that book. The book made me laugh, cry, root for the hero and then mourn him (sorry, spoiler although not exactly a spoiler when the prologue was also the epilogue). It was called The Adventurers by Harold Robbins. It was then I wanted to be a writer.

Then in 2nd-year high school (eighth grade here in the US, I think), I almost got suspended for writing this steamy (and taboo) romance drama that got circulated between classmates during homeroom. I was sent to the guidance counselor for an evaluation and then to Sister Gerri who told me that she’d pull me from Drama Club and put me into Poetry Club (I don’t think she told my mom and maybe that was the deal then) so I could channel whatever frustrations I was going through. Back then, I thought it was such punishment that I plagiarized a Shakespeare sonnet and submitted it to the club. And to my horror, they published it in the school paper with my name on it. I figured I’d probably end up doing penance by writing original stories from then on.

It’s been a tough road since those good ol’ days when I thought I could be everything I wanted. I’ve made so many mistakes along the way and through it all, books and stories sustained me. Fate led me to people who would get me into conferences that had Frank McCourt, Mitch Albom, H.W. Merwyn, Neil Gaiman, James Elroy, and Jane Smiley on the list of speakers and I even hung out with Ray Bradbury twice when I was an officer for a small South Bay writing group called Southwest Manuscripters. I learned from these people, not about publishing companies or how publishing works, but about the importance of STORY. Just tell the story and keep writing.

Put on those blinders and write.

It’s been three years since I published my first book and today, I just released the seventh, a shorter novel called Falling for Jordan. It’s the first book I’ve written where I feature my Filipino culture prominently for the first time and maybe that’s why it’s a shorter novel than most of my books. I’m sure if I’d let myself go, it would have probably hit 200K words and contain a full glossary of terms and a recipe section. The characters in it are also not perfect by a long shot, but then who is?

If I were to ask the person I was three years ago who tentatively published her first book what she thought she’d be doing three years later, I’m sure she’d never have thought she’d be publishing her seventh book—or still be writing for that matter. So if you want to write, write. Worry about the story first and then the rest later (formatting, editing, cover, etc.). Don’t even worry about the critics especially when the voice of one critic can often drown out the rest of the non-critics, the ones who actually enjoyed your stories. Don’t even worry so much about the rules like passive voice and purple prose. You gotta start somewhere and if you worry too much about the rules, you won’t get anywhere. Especially these days, when the rules that used to be in place often no longer apply.

Except for one: Just write.

And another: Keep writing.

 

Falling for Jordan is LIVE!

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FALLING FOR JORDAN, the second book in a Different Kind of Love series that began with Dax and Harlow’s story in Everything She Ever Wanted, is officially live. I’m so grateful for all the people who have helped beta-read, edit, and proofread this book, and to the many ARC readers who had way sharper eyes than I did after I thought everything was said and done.

This is my seventh novel to date since I published my first book in 2014 and it’s a strange feeling. I’ve also published two novellas so the count, as far as published stories are concerned, is nine. Still, every book published is a special event and this one is just as special (although not as nerve-wracking) as the last one.

Anyway, I’ve received emails from some readers asking me what programs I use to make my videos like the one above and the lowdown happens on the next page.

And So It Begins… #nanowrimo

It’s November 1st, which means it’s the first day of National Novel Writing Month where millions of writers around the world strive to write at least 50K words in 30 days. It’s crazy. Expect laundry to pile up, dinners not made, and clutter not picked up… basically the same as every day in the Liz Durano household. But then what’s new.

And yes, I’m in.

I usually wait until the day of the official start—like today—before I go to the official website and write down the novel I’m working on even if I have no title yet. And when it asks me for a cover, I tell myself, meh, I’ll whip up a temporary cover just so I have something to work with. And then I come up with a cover that I’m in love with, one that defines the two other books that came before it, the first one written during NaNoWriMo14, and I know for real, there’ll be a cover change throughout the whole series because darn it, I love the 80’s feel of the font (I’m not showing yet though – this is the temporary one) and the image, and it is so like… the most hated character in all my books but, oh well…

When the characters start to talk, I have to listen.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?

Falling for Jordan #TeaserTuesday

The sidewalks aren’t crowded at this time of the morning and I like it. Piper probably thinks it’s one of our leisurely walks, although this time, there’s no elevator ride up to the High Line where I walk all the way to the end of the line and back. Sometimes I find an empty bench and read a book while she naps in her stroller or peruse the art at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

“It’s a beautiful day,” Jordan says, breaking the silence between us after we emerge from the subway, coming up the stairs with me carrying the baby carrier and him, the stroller.

“Yep, a beautiful day for a DNA test.” The words come out before I can stop them and he rewards me with an annoyed glare. I don’t know why I’m being snarky other than I’m nervous. “I’m sorry. This is all so new to me.”

“And you think that it isn’t for me?” His frown is replaced with a smile when Piper gurgles at him after I set the carrier back in the stroller.

“I’m sorry.”

“That’s alright. I understand we’re both stressed right now,” he says. “How long before we find out?”

“Three days. And from there, based on the results, either your life will change or it won’t.”

“Addy, my life changed when you told me that Piper’s mine. And honestly, I believe you,” he says. “I do have to tell my family.”

My heart skips a beat. I knew it! He has a family. A girlfriend and maybe kids. Just because he said he wasn’t married or isn’t wearing a ring didn’t mean he didn’t have kids.

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