Friday Night Musings: The Law of Romance

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“It is an interesting law of romance that a truly strong woman will choose a strong man who disagrees with her over a weak one who goes along. Strength demands intelligence, intelligence demands stimulation, and weakness is boring. It is better to find a partner you can contend with for a lifetime than one who accommodates you because he doesn’t really care… Sixty seconds of wondering if someone is about to kiss you is more entertaining than sixty minutes of kissing… Spill the beans, and the conversation is history. Speak in code, with wit and challenge, and the process of decryption is like foreplay.”

-Roger Ebert

I posted this quote on my former “official” author site* last year and completely forgot about it. While doing some housekeeping over there tonight, I found it and boy, am I glad I did. And I’m even using one of my images intended for one of my book teasers to showcase it because Ebert’s quote has been one that I’ve used as a guide when it comes to my stories (except for naughty pen—she goes right to the action). 

You see, I’m stuck with the new book I’m writing although ideas (more organic ones) are slowly coming to me. It’s only 20K words (for a box set) but with the creative writer kinda overpowered by the analytical business me (where I try to still write “to market” without realizing it), I need all the help I can get. I never used to have problems writing but whenever it involves something that has a deadline (1/31/18) and sticking to a “steamy office romance” theme, I’m stumped. It doesn’t help that all the news I hear (in addition to all the really bad ones) is all about office sexual harassment. It’s enough to kill the steamy writer mojo because, you know, you don’t want your hero to get slapped with that accusation if it happened in real life.

So I’m hoping this quote will help light the creative fires. Heck, I hope the whole image + quote will help with my writing mojo because I need to get writing and soon!

*So why do I still have that site? Because I paid for a 3-year plan or something. And that website URL was on many of the books I sold between 2014 – 2016. I do miss the better functionality of a self-hosted site but I’ll have to look into that for this site in 2018. 

One More Day (for the giveaways)

I’ve got one more day left before the two holiday hops I’m participating in end tomorrow. The first one is the Dirty Santa Blog Hop and I’m giving away a straight to Kindle copy of Falling for Jordan and a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Dirty Santa for December Blog Hop

Click the cute guy banner above to go to the post and enter.

The second one is the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop (on Facebook) where I give away a paperback copy of Loving Ashe AND a Coach side-wristlet. It’s all packed and ready to go in its shipping envelope.

But the giveaways don’t stop there!

There are three $100-Amazon gift cards up for grabs and over 60 participating authors are also giving away goodies like ebooks, an Aussie summer gift pack, and more!

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Don’t believe me? Here’s a cute video I made and it’s so cute (and just might put me into the holiday spirit!) that I have to show it off! Oh, and it has music…

Here’s the link to enter the Holly Jolly Chick lit hop on my page and don’t forget to join the private Facebook group for a chance to win one of three grand prizes, a $100 Amazon Gift Card! The group will only be live for the chick lit hop and will be deleted after it’s over.

After this week, I’m officially taking time off for the rest of the holiday as far as giveaways are concerned. We haven’t even decorated the Christmas tree although we finally brought down the ornaments that hubby stored way in the back of the attic. I was almost going to buy new ones this morning but he came through and brought them down last night.

This weekend also marks the start of those holiday parties where I’ll be wishing I wrote under a pen name from the beginning (and that’s probably the one piece of advice I’ll give anyone aspiring to write romance, erotic romance or erotica. Like they say, hindsight is 20/20).

Coming from a very conservative and religious extended family network (where we’re all “related”), I expect there’ll be questions about how much I make and how much weight I’ve gained. And then there’s the possibility of an exorcism from the religious aunt who last year asked me to stop teaching reflexology or acupressure because it’s the work of the devil. It’s enough to give me anxiety attacks just thinking about it.

I better not tell anyone that I write erotica, too…

 

 

Getting Ready for 2018: Book+Main

This is one of those posts that will be published in a series (if I remember!) so I don’t get overwhelmed with all the information. Because with so many things to take care of for 2018, I figure it’s a good idea to break them down into individual posts instead of putting them all in one giant one. Who knows? Maybe it will even make me more accountable that way! 

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I’ve mentioned Book+Main a few weeks ago and so far, I’m liking it. And so, for the new year, I’m contemplating on posting my stories, teasers, and excerpts on Book+Main, a website and Android/IOS app that features primarily romance books. It’s free for readers and right now, free for authors, too, although each one has to be vetted before they can be given an author account and post “bites” for readers to discover.

I’ve been posting a few excerpts here and there, trying to get used to the platform, and followers get first dibs! You can follow me via this link where I post excerpts like this one:

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Unfortunately you can’t really see much unless you register first. When you click on the link, it will take you to the main page where you’ll be asked to register. You’ll need to search for my name to find me otherwise you’ll start from the letter A to pick your first few authors and you won’t get to me at all LOL

Some of the bites I post aren’t steamy at all, while others are steamy up to 5 flames like the one above. The site and app are for dedicated romance readers to find new books and new authors, and since it’s my genre, well, that’s where I’ll be for the coming year.

And with a new book coming out in the first quarter, I’ll be posting excerpts on Book+Main first. It should be interesting, right?

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You Do You, Judith Newman #BoycottToSiri

I first heard about this book last summer from its narrator whom I met at a book signing and after learning that I was, in general, about 95% of the time, a stay-at-home mom to my son with special needs, she told me about the book she narrated that was amazing and that I should definitely check it out and maybe it would resonate with me.

I actually added it to my Wishlist on Audible and thought nothing of it although when the audiobook came out along with the book (it’s published by a Big Five traditional publisher, Harper Collins), hubby wanted to start the Dark Tower series by Stephen King so that Audible credit went to him. And then I forgot about it.

…until this weekend when #BoycottToSiri popped up on my Twitter feed.

Judith Newman is the author of To Siri with Love, her “honest and illuminating love letter to Gus, your typical atypical non neurotypical human,” according to Jon Stewart, “a moving and witty memoir with a big heart,” according to Nigella Lawson, and “part Operating Instructions, part love letter to both her son and technology,” says Annabelle Gurwitch, author of Wherever You Go, There They Are.

I’m glad she got such big names to give her their testimonials in her book, but how can a “memoir” that makes fun of one’s autistic son and even goes to lengths to saying that she hopes he doesn’t have children and that when he turns eighteen, she’ll get power of attorney to have him sterilized be “beautiful?”

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“autism-very-friendly”

On Twitter, she’s been blocking people left and right who object to her book. Autistic and neurotypical people alike have condemned To Siri with Love for exposing her son’s private medical information and for making fun of him, most of all for her plan to sterilize him.

She claimed that the audience of her book isn’t the autistic population (as if they can’t read, I guess) but the neurotypical crowd.

But even the NT crowd isn’t having that excuse because they also find the book deplorable. Well, not that she cares to know what they think. She’ll block them, too.

It’s a selfish act of a mother (or anyone for that matter) to do what she has done although in the world we’re in now, I’m no longer surprised at the lengths we take to humiliate people who have no voice. And I can’t imagine why she’d do it other than for the fact that a Big Five publisher said, here’s your advance. Now write us everything else you want to get off your chest about how you really feel about your autistic son. No holds barred.

I’m a mother of an autistic child, and yesterday, we went to see Peppa Pig Live. I didn’t care that he cheered and hooted louder than all the other kids his age (most of the other kids were younger), nor did I care that he wanted to dance around like the performers (who encouraged everyone, including the parents, to participate, too). I didn’t push him when he said we should go home when we could have walked around after the show and even ice-skated (the music was too loud for him). I accept him the way he is and I do my best not to ridicule him. And definitely not in such a public way, like a book.

But I guess in the end, you do you, Judith Newman. I’m sure you’ve got more than enough money from your advance already set aside for that power of attorney contract to have Gus sterilized ten times over. Good for you.

Oh, wait, you changed your mind about having him go through a forced vasectomy because of the backlash? Too bad, because you still said it (nah, you wrote it in all its hardcover glory), and wanna bet, you’d still do it if only no one said anything. 

 

The Accidental Christmas

My short story, The Accidental Christmas, was chosen as one of Wattpad’s Home for the Holidays Featured stories this month. And for a two-year-old short story inspired by a trip to the Christmas tree lot with my little prince, I’m pretty chuffed.

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The Accidental Christmas tells the story of Cameron Thomas who returns to Ocean City, New Jersey during the holidays with her son to start over. Ocean City is a small town close to Atlantic City and it’s popular during the summers with many of the beach homes occupied by then. But during the winter, it’s pretty bleak.

She has to shop for a tree with her son and they bump into the last person she expects to see again. A blast from her past, a reminder of a time when life was more innocent. Who knows? I might even expand it for 2018 because lots of readers have asked me this one burning question!

What happens next?

You can read it on Wattpad here (I think this is the first draft) or you can download the final version for free here.

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It’s a Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop (over on FB)

Yup! It’s the second year I’m joining sixty-two (62) fellow chick lit and rom-com authors in the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop and it’s a big one! So if you’re a fan of chick lit of romantic comedies, make sure to check out the hop and enter to win some amazing prizes from your favorite and new-to-you authors as well as the main prizes that include $100 Amazon gift cards, perfect for buying more books!

So what’s my giveaway?

Well, it’s one of my books, some book swag, and a Coach side-wristlet that perfectly matches the book. (It only took me an hour to finalize the darn graphic below, but it’s so color-coordinated I’m chuffed to bits!)

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To enter, you’ll need to click on the image or here to go to my Facebook page and enter.  It should be the pinned post on the page and the contest goes on until December 16 so definitely check it out.

On an unrelated note, I posted something about the fire off the 405 freeway a few hours ago but ended up deleting it after learning that a stable/ranch where I’ve gone to ride horses lost everything, including 30 horses. Shortly after that, my phone blared to notify me to stay on high alert because strong winds overnight means extreme fire danger. <sigh> Such is life. It’s been surreal the past few days. Heck, make it the past year!

Holiday Plans So Far: No More Books

.. at least, for the rest of the year. All 28 days of them.

Instead, I’m going to take it easy on the author front and kinda just write when I feel like it and publish when I feel like it.

Speaking of publishing, Naughty Pen just published her third story today. Didn’t break bestseller records, which is okay considering no one knows anything about her and I’ve yet to do some marketing. But with one more part to complete, it’s going to be a few more weeks before I do, so might as well wait till 2018 to get that ball rolling.

Unfortunately, I had to say no to a friend who wanted to know who the naughty pen name was so she could help. I hope she didn’t take offense even when she assured me that she’s a big girl and can handle the raunchy stuff in naughty pen’s stories. The answer was still no (and, guys, I hardly ever say no!).

Outside of four people who know naughty pen’s name because they’re the cover designers involved or marketing people I’ve touched bases with for future promos, I rather like—and need— the anonymity. I want to be able to write whatever I want again without the burden of ‘the’ author brand weighing over my shoulders.

On the other hand, I know that Naughty Pen would benefit from some publicity and my platform could totally help with that. But if it’s at the cost of being able to write the word f*k 38 times in a 38k-word novel without a care in the world, then I’ll make do without the publicity or the sales. Besides, it’s a completely different audience, one that Naughty Pen needs to find on her own even if she’s up against a powerful conglomerate of Kindle publishers with a gazillion pen names of their own.

Suffice it to say, I felt bad for not giving my friend the pen name but there has also been some shady stuff going on in the author world that’s made me regroup and rethink who my “friends” in the business are. It’s made that circle of friends smaller, way smaller than it was last year to the point of it only being one or two friends. In the end, you gotta take care of yourself and if it means pulling up the drawbridge and locking up the castle, then so be it.

Is it really important to spend more money on that new “course” that promises to get me to to the ten grand a month club or should I simply start applying the things I’d already paid to learn?

It’s also that time of year to look back at the year and take stock of things. What worked and what didn’t work? What am I spending too much time and money on with hardly any return? Is it really important to spend more money on that new “course” that promises to get me to to the ten-grand-a month-club or should I simply start applying the things I’d already paid to learn? Most of all, it’s time to take care of myself, too, something I haven’t been doing because a part of me wants so badly to be more “successful” than I was the day before, to sell more books than I sold yesterday that it made me realize that while it’s true that the target is always moving, my body and my mind can only do so much. Some time, I gotta stop and rest, refuel and do something that has nothing to do with books at all. I don’t know… knitting, spinning, drawing, or taking those weekly walks with friends again and see how they’re doing.

Funny how I stopped walking with my friends because I was determined to publish four books this year (or was it six?) only to freeze like a deer in headlights and only produce three books, and not all of them full novels at that, and not all books I’m especially proud of either because 90% of the time, I was operating under the constant state of Comparison-itis.

It’s pathetic. This year, I traded so much to get back so little.

So from now on, I’m taking it easy and taking care of myself and my family. For one thing, I’ve got my son’s wish list to go through. I was able to knock off one item the other day and I’ve got five more to go. He even added a P.S. for Santa…

“I’m counting on you. Don’t let me down.”

Cheeky kid. As if his mom isn’t stressed out enough already… 😂😂😂

Anyway, here’s a bit of phone app fun. The top left is the original Mona Lisa. The rest of the pictures would probably be her making herself fit in with the Tinder crowd. Ah, the pressure…

If Mona Lisa were alive today, she’d be testing different looks, too…

 

 

Hotties with Heart (Sonoma County CHANGE Program)

Three years ago, I stumbled upon the Sonoma County CHANGE Program* when they posted about a horse that was severely malnourished and they needed help with funding. CHANGE stands for Coins to Help Abandoned and NeGlected Equines.

I can’t remember if I donated then but I did follow them and I’ve followed them since. I even bought two copies of their fundraising calendar called Hotties with Heart and promptly forgot where I put them to give away as presents until a year later…

I believe this guy is a real farrier.

While I continue to follow their progress with rescued and foster horses, including the immediate evacuation of horses during the Santa Rosa fire two months ago, somehow I forgot to get myself a copy of their Hotties with Heart calendars for 2016 and 2017.

Well, I remembered this year and so I’m getting a few fundraiser Hotties with Heart calendars to give away. All proceeds go to support horses that have been severely neglected. Each calendar is $15 with $6 shipping, and wouldn’t this look great on your wall?


If I knew a thing or two about horses, or how it is to work on a farm, I’m sure that would make a good setting for my next book, right? For now, though, I’ll stick to the calendar…

*The CHANGE Program is a state and federally accredited 501c(3) organization (EIN 26-2135318) that assists local law enforcement with equine humane cases by providing 24/7 emergency transportation, foster and rehabilitative care, and adoption services for horses in custody. CHANGE also provides education to the community and expert witness assistance in legal cases. CHANGE is not a government agency and is supported entirely by private donations.

Teaser Tuesday: Date Night

She scoots forward so Evan can slip into the tub behind her just as Phish comes on the speakers. As the song begins playing, Esme finds herself smiling as she feels Evan’s body warm behind her, his arms enfolding her. He nuzzles the back of her neck, still wet after she’d sunk her body down up to her chin just minutes earlier.

The song, Show of Life, is one of their favorites. Years ago, they’d left the kids with his parents for the weekend so they could see the band in concert. Esme remembers how the years faded from their faces then, replaced by smiles, giggles, and laughter that made them feel so young again. They’d made love till the sun came up, and she remembers how it felt just like that first night they spent in Atlantic City when he was her first — and her only. But it’s not like Esme thinks she’s missing anything, not even after hearing Marina’s stories of her exploits before marriage — and after. Esme’s known better than to tell them the truth, that she’s only been intimate with one man.

Then she wonders if he’ll always be the only one for her. Would she have someone else, and if she did, would that mean that Evan would had left her for someone else, the way her father had done to her mother? No explanations, no apologies. It is what it is, babe. I found someone else.

“Penny for your thoughts?” Evan asks her as she rests her head on his shoulder. He’s grabbed the sponge and is lathering her arm, his hand moving up to her shoulder and back down. Her other hand is stroking his thigh, feeling the muscles tense beneath her touch, his erection hard against her back.

“It’s been awhile,” she says, thinking it best just to get it out. “We’ve been so busy with work and the kids–” Esme stops herself, realizing that she’s brought up the very things that he’s made sure to get out of the way, even if it was just for part of the weekend. “Sorry–”

“Don’t apologize,” he murmurs. “It has been awhile. But tonight and tomorrow, it’s just going to be us. Will that be alright?”

“No talk of anything but us?” She asks, looking up at him. She loves the way his nose ends into a defined sharp angle along the tip, one that someone once said was the nose granted by the gods. He could have been a model, she thinks, but he’d chosen to become a father instead.

“Just us,” he whispers, setting the sponge aside and taking the shampoo from the side of the tub. “Why don’t you let me wash your hair?”

And with those words, Evan closes the world just to themselves, his hands spreading the shampoo onto her long dark hair that’s spent way too much time being tied into a bun, his fingers massaging her scalp. It gives her goosebumps the way he does it, that she finds herself sighing and almost purring like a cat, relaxing her head and neck so that he can maneuver her head gently forward and back, according to the movement of his fingers. She forgets that she’s gripping his thigh, her fingers digging into his skin as his fingers slide behind her ear, the nerve endings in a turmoil over the sensations that engulf them.

Evan rinses her hair slowly, still taking his time as her breathing turns shallower, faster. There’s something building inside her, one that starts from the pit of her belly, spreading upwards as if seeking release that only she can let loose. When his hand drifts lower to dip between her legs, Esme knows she’s lost.


I originally released Date Night as a short story in 2015 but later unpublished it and offered it only to subscribers. But of late, I’ve been wanting to release it again, this time with other exclusive short stories I’ve written featuring characters from my books. A revisiting, in a way, so Date Night, A Short Story Collection was born and re-published yesterday.

Besides Date Night which features a new couple, Esme and Evan, the fifth edition includes stories featuring Ashe and Riley (Private Lessons), Billie and Heath (The Things that Matter), His Present (Sam and Erik – ultra steamy!), and a first time exclusive, Harlow and Dax (Playing Hooky). 

You can purchase the collection (22K words) on Amazon and Smashwords (epub). I’m currently still waiting for the book to go live on other platforms.