Under My Skin

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Iโ€™m slowly re-learning how I roll when it comes to writing the stories I love even if it means falling in love with my heroes and heroines. I need to have them crawling under my skin until I have no choice but dream about them and think about them until I canโ€™t take it anymore and give in.

It means a slower process, but if it brings me back to the way I used to write, with wild abandon and finding myself eager to get out of bed so I can write out their stories, then I’m all for it.

TLDR; These two refuse to leave me alone. (Also why I’ve had to set aside the firefighter story I was working on…)

Talking Out Loud: So… What’s Next?

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Now that my first story for 2019 is out, I honestly don’t know what’s next. I’m too busy procrastinating doing everything else but start a new book or finish the one I’ve been procrastinating about.

That’s not to say I’m not writing. I’m writing.

Kinda.

There’s The Replacement Fiancee that I just swore on Twitter that I’d set aside until way later because I lost my grip on the story and I had no idea who the heroine really is. She actually started out being a successful programmer who is so used to technology that when she finds herself face to face with a wood stove, she has no clue how to get the fire going.

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One of these things

I said “going,” not started. She can start it alright. She just can’t get it going warm and hot.

But somewhere along the way, I questioned everything about her, wondering if I’m being too ambitious about my heroine being SO accomplished, and so she became this clueless, hapless socialite who can’t light a stove to save her life (or figure out her life, for that matter).

But the programmer heroine is having none of the change and she wants back in and there, I think, lies my conundrum with the story. While the muse of the story (the programmer) has been trying to get back into the pages, I’ve been busy pushing her out and shaping her to be someone else, the abovementioned socialite. It’s the same struggle I go through now when I write my stories: do I write to market or write what I really want to write? Because let’s face it, writing the stories I want to write hasn’t helped my sales numbers lately.

But in the end, it’s all about Kondo-ing this part of my life. I need to keep the things that spark joy, as Marie Kondo says, even if I have to talk out loud on my blog to do it.

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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.

“Let the Phone Ring…”

I’m halfway through the holiday novella and I need to get this baby done in the next three days. 15k more words to go before I can then tackle all the other projects waiting their turn for the last two months. Sometimes I don’t know why I do this to myself but when I get to certain parts of my story that make me go “aaawwww,” I realize it’s all worth it.

So allow me to introduce you to florist Mariah and her friend Logan, the main characters in the upcoming novella (November 1, 2018), Her Temporary Engagement:

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“Alright, let’s try this.” Logan takes my hand and brings it to his lips. They’re warm and soft, his day-old stubble tickling my skin.

“That’s… that’s nice,” I whisper, feeling my cheeks burn with embarrassment. Do I really need tips on how to react to a man kissing the back of my hand? Well, apparently, in Logan’s case, I do.

“And this?” His other hand moves up toward my face, his hands warm against my cheek, his thumb along my chin.

“Um… that’s nice, too.”

“Don’t giggle,” he murmurs. “I’m serious here. He’s still watching us, you know.”

My eyes widen. “He is?”

“Him and a woman. They’re standing by the front door.”

“Oh, shโ€“”

“Close your eyes.”

I should know what’s coming next. After all, I’ve secretly wondered how it would feel like to be kissed by Logan Garrison. I close my eyes as he moves his face closer, his cologne mingling with the faint scent of leather and motor oil, making my stomach clench. The kiss is faint and soft, our lips almost touching, our breaths warming the barest of space between us. It’s as if time decided to stand still at that moment, making every millisecond count until our lips touch.

But they don’t.

That’s because my phone buzzes from inside my jacket and in my panic, I pull away. Why do I feel like I’m doing something I shouldn’t be doing? I fumble for my phone and tap on the display, a text message from my manager appearing on the screen.

Merry Christmas, boss! Just uploaded the day’s numbers and will be back at the shop on the 26th.

I make a face. I’ve never been so annoyed by a text message before.

“Work?”

I nod as I turn off my phone and slip it back into my pocket, the kiss I didn’t realize I’d been waiting for all these years now gone.

“Talk about timing, right?”

“It is practice,” he murmurs. “I just don’t want you acting surprised when it happens in front of everyone.”

I take a step closer. “Why don’t we try it again? You know, just to be sure we get it right.”

“Next time, Mariah,” Logan murmurs as his head dips lower, his fingers soft against my cheek, “let the phone ring.”

 

More Writing and… Brock

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It’s 7:10 on a Sunday evening and I’ve written about 4000 words so far for the “real” holiday novella that will go into the box set. That also includes doing some self-editing on the other novella that was originally meant for the box set but will be released on its own next month.

Self-editing involves listening to the story being read via VoiceDream app while I’m washing dishes. Every time I catch a typo, a pause that shouldn’t be there because I may have typed an errant period in between two words, or a mispronunciation, I stop what I’m doing and go to my screen to see what it was and correct it. It makes for a long-assed dishwashing session but I get the typos corrected nonetheless.

The “real” holiday story I’m writing is set in California this time. Closer to home and places I know and love. It has two completely new characters going to one of my favorite places in the world, Nevada City. The hero even looks like this:

That’s because I realized that all my heroes in most of my books look the same – dark haired, blue eyed, good guy types whom one of my author friends described as a “beta” kind of guy versus an “alpa” – and I figured I needed to shake things up.

So I asked myself, what kind of guy have I yet to write about simply because I have never met anyone like him in my life to get an idea what he’d be like on paper? Like, he’d be so surreal I haven’t even daydreamed about him because he’d be like a walking Nordic god and there is nothing that we have in common and therefore there is really nothing I can really write about him as a character.

Then I remembered it’s all make-believe.

And that’s how Brock O’Hurn popped up in my head and that was that.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens. Wish me luck!

 

 

Done and Dusted!

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Yup! Done and dusted on Friends with Benefits, the official title for Campbell and Caitlin’s story that’ll be coming out… well, I don’t know yet because I have to consult my crystal ball first.

First things first is the cover reveal because this one’s one of my favorites. I bought it back in December 2015 and I was among 5 people who wanted it but thank goodness, i got to him first and he’s been with me ever since, just waiting for the story that was just for him.

I have 30 more covers to go, just waiting for their stories…

In the meantime, if you’re looking for free books to add to your e-reader this weekend, check out this giveaway where there’s something for everyone – all romance, of course!

One of them just might be mine…

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Click on the link to download sweet and spicy romance!