What happens if you fall in love with a writer?

While going through my Tumblr feed today, I found this and so many other jewels about writers and writing. It made me realize (again and again) how the men who made such an impact in my life are all found in my books.

Ashe Hunter most especially who to this day does not have a “face” inside my head even though I’ve had to translate his features for book covers. As a writer, the best ones never do.

Have a wonderful weekend! Stay safe out there!

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!

“There’s a story that wants to be told…”

ursulakleguin-quote

It’s Friday and I’m scrolling through the hundreds of drafts on my dashboard but never published and this was one of them. I don’t even know why I didn’t press that button but it could have been the many distractions that plague me from text messages, PMs, or the latest notification on my phone about some author drama or other.

But now that there’s not much distracting me at the moment, I’m publishing this one because it rings true for me. Not sure if it does for other writers but for me, there are many stories that need to be told and I just need to find the time to write and/or complete them, especially the four novels on my hard drive just waiting to be finished.

But at least there’s 2020 coming up. Hopefully by then, I’ll have gotten my act together and put the blinders on. Stay in my lane. Write the stories. Find my joy.

How’s your Friday going?

I Did It!

Yup, I wrote 51k words in November! It wasn’t for one book per se but two novellas (under 40k word books) although I don’t know when I’ll publish them.

I’ve kinda become gun-shy about publishing my books fast because the deeper I get into a series, the more I mess up the timeline because I forget what happened three years before book 1 or what color the heroine’s eyes were in Book 2. That’s also what happens when you’ve got too many stories swirling inside your head and even more characters just waiting for their turn.

CarlyQ and I used to talk about the bar inside my head where my characters all wait until I’m ready for them. The original guys—Ashe, Gareth, and Devlin (nope, didn’t forget him, Carly!)—have been waiting a while and they’re long overdue to come back even though Greg is basically in HEA (Happily-Ever-After) land.

I actually found the perfect interpretation of my characters’ current hangout in Gabe Leonard‘s work. He’s a painter who got his start on the boardwalks of Venice and his art is so full of mystery and energy.

The paintings below are featured in his book Power Love & Success which I’m eagerly awaiting in the mail any day now! My absolute favorites are Smoke Screen and Shark Tank because I see my billionaire characters in them especially the men my Naughty Pen writes about.

 

With December already here, it means there are only 30 days left before the end of the decade! Hard to believe, huh?

So far, my plans are to keep writing my books. And not just Liz’s books that are filled with emotional angst (and sometimes food) but other pen name books as well because there’s a thing called brand and once established, you really do have to maintain it. And the other pen names are there to scratch that itch of writing stories that are off-brand, that are insta-love and smutty, and sometimes dark, too. And since my goal for 2020 is for us to move into a bigger house, that means a lot more books need to be written.

What about you? What’s your plan for the last month of the decade?

Under My Skin

66832903_2322341924522642_1472530808743919616_n

I’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 can’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?

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 1.10.42 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 1.07.08 PM
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.

bringsyoujoy

Bad Boy or Good Guy Love? #awritersfebruaryromance

IMG_8561

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!

first-three-books

“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:

temp-engagement (1)

“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, sh–”

“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

writing1

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!

quote-cait-cam

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…

BF-ROMANCE-BUNDLE
Click on the link to download sweet and spicy romance!