No Commitments #TeaserTuesday

Tall and tanned from collecting samples by the San Juan River, it was a shock to the system to see him again. He’d cut his arm when the truck his colleague drove rolled off the embankment and broken glass from the side window cut through his bicep. I cleaned it and under the harried doctor’s orders, stitched it up. All that time, we never showed any sign that we knew each other. He was too busy watching my every move while I kept reminding myself to remain calm, the words It’s only Benny running through my mind like some mantra as I gave him a tetanus shot.

But this time, I knew if he’d ask me out to dinner or suggest we play hopscotch under the covers, there was no way I’d say no. And when he did, I didn’t. It was as if all the foreplay had been done back in Albuquerque two years earlier and we were ready to take it further—but just far enough so we were still comfortable, still believing we didn’t need each other for more than just sex.

No commitments, okay? I’d told him while making dinner at his apartment that night because he ended up with a fever from the tetanus shot and I told myself he needed a bit of TLC. I don’t have time for complications.

No commitments, he’d agreed as he stood behind me and planted a kiss on my shoulder. Fine with me, Sarah.

So much for that. Twelve years later, here we are.

No commitments.

#teasertuesday

Bad Boy or Good Guy Love? #awritersfebruaryromance

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I’ve recently joined an Instagram challenge called #awritersfebruaryromance and what I like about it is that it’s geared toward authors. Most of the ones I’ve seen are usually for readers and so when I spotted this one two days late, I jumped right in.

Today, the challenge was Bad Boy or Good Guy Love? Based on what my Liz pen name writes, it’s all good guys with the exception of Gareth Roman (Loving Ashe/Loving Riley) who does some pretty bad things.

My naughty pen loves writing about rich bad guys and I’m about to dive into writing a Reverse Harem romance featuring some badass security guys. But most likely, I’ll probably end up giving them hearts of gold and have to stop myself from turning them into cinnamon roll heroes before I know it.

Did you know there’s even a term for that kind of hero? I sure didn’t but turns out, I write about them… a lot. There are five of them so far in one series alone!

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Why Do You Write Love Stories, Mom?

On the drive to school this morning, Lil Dude asked me why I write “love stories.” He’s just turned nine and has seen my books and keeps the first editions of them (the not so steamy ones) on his shelf.

I didn’t answer his question right away. I kinda hemmed and hawed before I realized that I was a bit embarrassed to write love stories instead of serious literary fiction ones. So I told him that I didn’t use to write love stories when I started out. I wrote women’s fiction, historical adventure fiction specifically, and then paranormal stories about vampires, changelings, and ghosts.

He made a face when he heard this but I added that with all the stories I wrote, many readers said the same thing: You write about relationships very well.

So to make a long story short, my readers made the decision for me. Sure, I write stories that have adventure, mystery, even a ghost or two depending on my mood, but in a world where everything needs to be put in categories, genres, and tropes, my readers helped guide me to the right lane.

I write love stories. Real and honest romance, as a few of them have said.

“I like your love stories, Mom,” he said and my day has been going great ever since.

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Every Breath: A Valentine’s Day Slice-of-Life Novella falls on the very very steamy side of romance and will most likely not end up in LilDude’s bookshelf, but if you like steamy love stories, then definitely check it out! It’s scheduled for release on February 8, 2019.

Take It Easy… or What Happens When You Find a Working Walkman AND an Eagles CD in the Garage

“What about the Eagles?”

“Perfect,” Dax says as I press Play and the music plays on the cab stereo speakers. For the next few minutes, I sip my coffee in silence, listening to Glen Frey telling me to take it easy as I take in the landscape in front of me. With Bandolier located southwest of Taos, it’s less than a two-hour drive with the sun to the east of us, and I can’t help but thank my lucky stars he’d asked me to come along. I’ve been behind the wheel for so long that I can’t remember when I let go of directions and itineraries and let someone take over for a change. And right now, with Dax in the driver’s seat and taking control, it feels good.

What do you do with your old CDs now that everything has been digitized or worse, only available via streaming?

You keep them, that’s what you do—or at least, that’s what I’m doing! I probably have a thousand CDs in my garage from classic rock like the Eagles to 80’s hits like Duran Duran and Culture Club to Buddha Bar compilations (remember them?) to New Age music I played for my massage sessions.

Anyway, I’m supposed to be sorting things that will go into the donation box but when I find one working Walkman AND an Eagles CD, you know the sorting is gonna be moved to another day.

Everything She Ever Wanted was my homage to the many people, places, and things I loved. From loud and fun family dinners, best friends, introspection about growing older and bodies aging as gracefully as we can manage to road trips while listening to my favorite songs like Take It Easy, it’s home away from home for me (in a book).

What CDs, if you still have them, will you never give up?

Musings Over Coffee: Characters & Relationships We Need to Write About More

Saw this on Facebook but can’t find the source (but if you find it, please let me know) and so far, I’ve written at least eight of these characters although some of their stories have yet to be published.

Right now, I’m writing about a long-term couple who haven’t tied the knot yet. Like, twelve years? They’re not-so-minor characters in Everything She Ever Wanted but a pair that I wanted to write the prequel with which would have started the series properly. Only, I struggled to tell their story from twelve years earlier without giving so much away of what was the back story of Dax’s family and what would make him what he is. And so the early look at the series had to be set aside for a contemporary one instead, one that would lead to something, hopefully, more permanent.

Still, twelve years together and no ring? Is that ring really important?

Guess I’ll find out when I dive back into their world and let you know.

On another note, today is the day that The Replacement Fiancé goes wide to other retailers. Yesterday was its last day in Kindle Unlimited and today, the books went up for review on iBooks, Nook, Kobo, and Google Play. It’s amazing that I actually got organized enough to do all that but I did.

For those of you who wanted to read it but couldn’t while it was exclusive to Kindle Unlimited, here it is and I hope you enjoy Mariah and Logan’s cute journey!

This is such a cute book tackling the best friends to lovers AND fake fiance tropes and I’m quite proud of it. I even created the cover for both the ebook and the paperback. It’s a sweet story that features family as well and I guess I have a thing about featuring families in most of my stories, especially dinner scenes.

And yes, The Replacement Fiancé has one, too.

Bookmail Friday and the Return to Pantsing

I barely got to write anything today. Maybe three lines and that was it, all because after buying model cement for my son’s Rebel Titanic model that I need to assemble (because I didn’t realize the darn thing was advanced and my poor kid was not ready to assemble it himself), I got into a cleaning kick. And I mean, cleaning KICK, but only for one little corner of the house (so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed).

I unplugged all the stereo equipment and Bose speakers we haven’t used in at least three years, dusted and vacuumed everything in sight and then plugged the remaining electronics back on for that corner. The stereo equipment and those Bose speakers will have to go somewhere but for now, probably the garage until I can schedule a pickup with the Vietnam veterans group.

Then I took a shower and got ready to pick the kid up from school, walked the dog and then found these two books in the mail, the first of which is Phil Kaye’s who along with Sarah Kay, recited that amazing poem When Love Comes that I posted here.

It’s no secret I love poetry but interestingly, when I post poetry-related stuff on my author social media, there’s no interest. And I get it. Readers read my stories, not my poetry or my gushing posts about loving poetry or other poets. But it’s part of who I am and it’s also the language that I miss in the stories that I currently write.

In my attempt to write like other people, follow an outline, and basically writing to market because I’ve seen how successful others have been doing it, I’ve lost sight of the language—the words words words—that made me fall in love with prose in the first place.

And that’s why I’ve gone back to pantsing—writing by the seat of my pants. After spending so much money on books and courses the last year and a half on how to outline and realizing how miserable I am writing my books because I’ve gotten too critical of every one of my character’s motives or problems and just plain not having fun, I’m going to back to writing like I’ve always done. When you end up hating your heroes and heroines because they’re not sticking to the “outline” or they’re just stiff because you’ve forced them to mold to the outline, you have a problem. I applaud people who can do that and write 15 books a year. I just found myself too miserable writing even one.

Now the other book that arrived today is Diné Masculinities: Conceptualizations and Reflections by Lloyd Lee, Ph.d. If you’ve seen my latest cover reveal from yesterday, you’ll probably figure out why I ordered this one. I don’t really need it but I’ve always been a lifelong learner and I always ask “why.” And while I can easily write Sarah and Benny’s story and put in all the sex in there to fill the spaces, I need to fall in love with my heroes and heroines once again and let them tell their story while I follow along with a pen and paper and write furiously every word they tell me. I got a taste of that again when I wrote Campbell and Caitlin’s story last year.

When I was writing Ashe–and–Riley’s and Dax–and–Harlow’s stories, I used to write a chapter or two and then head to bed excitedly because I’d process those chapters in my sleep. When I woke up, I’d rush to my laptop to continue writing, trying to catch that feeling from the night before. It was like a drug and if I outlined, it was only toward the end when I knew I had to tie every loose end I’d presented earlier in the story. I haven’t experienced that feeling in a while, but I did when I started Sarah and Benny’s story.

And boy, was it a magical feeling.

Like being home again.

Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Every Breath: Sarah and Benny

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EVERY BREATH
(SARAH AND BENNY)

by Liz Durano

Twelve years since he promised her his heart, can their love stay as strong as ever… even without that ring?

Twelve years since he promised her his heart, can their love stay as strong as ever… even without that ring?

For the last twelve years, Navajo environmental protection scientist Benny Turner has never missed spending a single Valentine’s Day with Sarah Drexel. But when a toxic waste spill in Colorado requires his presence, the unfortunate event couldn’t have happened at the worst time.

For the first time since they’ve been together, they’ll be spending Valentine’s Day apart.

But Benny has never been one to give up so easily. And he’s determined to give Sarah a Valentine’s Day she’ll never forget even if he has to move mountains to do it—or employ the help of a few friends…

This is a steamy Valentine’s Day novella featuring Dax’s sister Sarah Drexel and her longtime partner Benny Turner. It’s a slice-of-life story set in Taos, New Mexico where we first met Harlow and Dax in Everything She Ever Wanted. Featuring characters you’ve met in previous books in A Different Kind of Love series, this story is guaranteed with steamy feels and no cliffhanger!

AMAZON

EXCERPT

His phone buzzes from the bedside table and excusing himself, Benny reaches over me to retrieve it.

“Work?”

He shakes his head, returning the phone to the table and pulling me in an embrace. He buries his face in my hair. “My mother.”

I pull away, studying his face. “Why didn’t you answer?”

“Have you seen the time?”

“It could be an emergency.”

Benny doesn’t answer. He kisses my forehead and then my lips one more time before removing his arm from under my head and sits up. Now he really needs to get ready to go to the airport.

“Are you packed?” I ask instead, the silences growing longer between us again. It always happens when he’s about to leave for long periods of time. This is one of those times. Pipeline spills don’t get cleaned up in a day, certainly not when it happens on tribal land. There’s just too much red tape, even danger. The last time Benny was sent to consult at one of these things, someone shot at him with a rifle. Later, they claimed they thought he was trespassing. It didn’t even matter that he was driving a truck with official markings.

“Of course.” He gets up and heads to the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. A few seconds later, I hear the shower running. I get up and take a peek at his phone which buzzes again. This time it’s a text message from his mother.

Call me. Noelle is in town.

My chest tightens, my throat turns dry. I know that name.

Noelle.

I get up and walk out of the bedroom, making my way to the guest bathroom so I can wash my face and brush my teeth. Twelve years since we first kissed, why on earth am I still letting Noelle bother me?

But then, why not? She and Benny grew up together on the reservation. She’s also the woman Benny’s mother had wanted him to marry. They’d started dating when they were teenagers, attending dances together whenever he returned home from college in the East Coast where he’d earned a scholarship. While he wasn’t the first in his mother’s family to earn a college degree—his mother has an Associate’s degree in Business—he’s the first to earn a Doctorate.

That’s where I come in, setting Benny’s path a totally different direction from the one his mother had hoped for. I was completing my Bachelor’s in Nursing and he was working on his dissertation on Environmental Biology for his Doctorate when we met and the next thing everyone knew, we were inseparable and I had Dyami, a strong and beautiful baby boy with Benny’s eyes and lustful cry that could wake up the neighbors.

I stare at my reflection in the mirror, droplets of water clinging to my skin. Blue eyes, creamy skin and dark-haired, I’m what people have always called a curvy girl. Broad shoulders, wide hips, big boobs. Far from the ideal woman that many men I’d met in New York held on to when I went back there for my first two years of college.

How I wanted so badly to leave the quiet of Taos then, flying back to New York ten years after Dad uprooted me from everything I knew so Mama could live in Taos again. I thought I’d fit right back in like I never left it.
Only I’d changed.

What I thought I wanted—the hustle and bustle of Manhattan along with the status that came with it as Daniel Drexel’s oldest daughter—had faded into the tired rumblings and exhaust fumes of the city that never slept and a father whose affection for his only daughter turned into an expectation of perfection in everything.

Too bad I was far from perfect, and still am.

But at least, Benny loves him a girl with something more than skin and bones to hold on to. You’re more than just curves I can’t stop thinking about, Sarah, he’d say teasingly. There’s a woman in this body. My woman.

Shi’áád.

He just hasn’t put a ring on it, not since he first kissed me twelve years ago and promised to be mine forever.

RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 8, 2019

Amazon US ➭ https://amzn.to/2T2Csec
Amazon UK ➭ https://amzn.to/2Cv458L
Amazon CA ➭ https://amzn.to/2FGNXEo
Amazon AU ➭ https://amzn.to/2FwJ6X3