Two Years Ago Today…

I press Publish on my fourth novel, Everything She Ever Wanted, the story of Harlow James, a heartbroken surgeon and Dax Drexel, the cocky carpenter who helps her discover the meaning of life.

Of all the books I’ve written, this is the one that “wrote itself.” The moment I found Harlow’s voice, the race was on to capture it and the first chapter, as painful as it is in parts and to some, is where they put down the book and mark it as DNF, was one I would never change for anything. The same goes for Dax’s chapter (Chapter 2). Sometimes, when you write, the characters just come, the Muse.

And you welcome them in. Whether others love or hate them is out of your control. You simply write their story.

I was also at a terrible time in my life when I wrote Dax and Harlow’s story. I was struggling with my son’s autism diagnosis and the absence of any help that summer which meant it was just him and me all day every day. But each night, I wrote and every morning when I woke up and he was still asleep, I wrote.

Thanks to the Wattpad readers who believed in Harlow and Dax and who eagerly awaited each chapter, it was as if we were all going on a journey together (I was a pants-er then, which means I didn’t outline my stories ahead of time).

So two years ago today, I hit that Publish button on Everything She Ever Wanted, obtained permission from one of my favorite singer-songwriters to let me quote the lyrics of the song that inspired the story, and here we are. Not everyone will like their story but that doesn’t change anything on my end. Dax and Harlow saved my life that summer and every day I’m reminded why I write my stories whether anyone else loves them or not.

And to those who’ve followed me from the beginning whether we met during Sam and Erik’s story or Ashe and Riley’s all the way to Sawyer and Alma, thank you for coming along with me.

Happy Hump Day!

Dax and Harlow are “wide” again!

Not wide “wide” but wide as in no longer exclusive to Amazon. They’re now available on iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I still have to upload the book to Google Play so here’s hoping I remember to do that today!

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You can purchase the book here.

I have to be honest, though. If it weren’t for sudden lagging sales, changes in social media algorithms affecting ad reach and ROI, the book would probably have stayed in Kindle Unlimited for as long as it was making money there. But it was also making me lazy when it came to writing the next book because unconsciously, I was relying on the sales from this one.

So now, the pressure is on to finish the third book in the series and then work on the next four new books that are waiting their turn. These four books are shorter than my usual 50k – 70k word novels. They’ll probably be around 30k because it seems that’s the going rate right now with people preferring to read shorter works and more books in a series, especially romance. But we’ll see. My outlines are all set for 50K words but I’ve also noticed that I’ve limited my character’s introspection quite a lot so I’ll shoot for 50k but won’t force it if it doesn’t happen. The important thing is the story.

Just tell the story.

One of the other things I accomplished today was a revamp of my other website. The official one. Liz Durano Books. On a desktop, the images are HUGE but on a mobile device, they’re just right. It’s one thing I’ve certainly noticed while maintaining my ads is that about 80% of the devices where the ads are served are mobile, not desktop. Makes one wonder if the same number of people are reading blogs on their mobile devices, too. I know I do although I write on my laptop attached to two humongous monitors.

What I like about it is that my books get their own “landing page” of sorts like this one. And this one. On a desktop or laptop, the images are huge but on a mobile device, they’re woefully small…

In other news, I was able to have the pirated audiobooks taken down yesterday and I guess it will just be one more thing for me to check on each week. Although in the end, what can you do, really? Pirates are everywhere!

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Share-A-Paloosa: Everything She Ever Wanted | Dacia M Arnold

I laughed and cried. I got angry and excited. Durano took me on an emotional rollercoaster in Everything She Ever Wanted… This novel pairs well with Pinot and a nice hot bubble bath. What a super cozy read. I recommend this book to everyone looking for a damn good love story with some juicy conflict.

Source: Share-A-Paloosa: Everything She Ever Wanted | Dacia M Arnold

One of the things I love about blogging is that I get to meet wonderful people from around the world like Dacia Arnold, author of adult light science fiction and whose debut novel Apparent Power is set to be released later this year. She reviewed Everything She Ever Wanted and I’m so happy she enjoyed Dax and Harlow’s story!

She’s also giving away a signed copy so hurry on over to her blog and say hello!

Just Us #teasertuesday

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This time, Dax doesn’t answer right away. It’s as if he’s probably wondering how the hell he can get himself out of this crazy woman’s bed as fast as he can and get a real woman in town instead, someone with no silly baggage like yours truly.

“God, Dax, I’m so sorry I messed this up.”

“No, you didn’t,” he says, pushing a lock of hair behind my ear. “Look, why don’t we start over?”

“Start over what? I mean, in what way?”

“Like this.” Dax lowers his head and kisses me softly, his tongue brushing along my top lip. It’s a kiss that sets the butterflies in my belly fluttering. “Don’t think of anyone else. Right now, there’s just us. You. Me. And no one else.” His words alternate in between kisses, and I can’t help but sigh at the sensations that engulf me.  “This is all about you, Harlow.”

#teasertuesday

 

Teaser Tuesday: Seven Minutes

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She rolls her eyes. “Half an hour is not a quickie. Not by a long shot.”

“Oh, too long? So you’ve been timing it?”

She swats my chest playfully with her hand. “No, I was not timing it, but you said so yourself then, Dax. We only have thirty minutes before Nana comes back with the twins..” She pauses, her hand leaving my crotch and I groan. “Did you know the average length for sex is about seven minutes?”

“Seven minutes?” I look at her incredulously. “I wonder how they went about testing that one.”

“They have their methods. But get this, about 43 percent are completed within two minutes,” she adds, emphasizing the word two like it’s a challenge. She’s a veritable treasure trove of information, important facts like the average length for sex being seven minutes and trivial facts like Michael Fassbender getting married in Ibiza.

“Two minutes is even worse than seven, mi amor. Too bad the researchers didn’t poll us. We could have told them the average length of sex is thirty minutes.” But only when the twins are spending time at their grandmother’s house.

Harlow giggles. “Oh, and did you know that ten to thirty minutes was considered too long by many of the respondents?”

“Then they have the wrong partners… and the wrong respondents, for that matter,” I say, narrowing my eyes as Harlow starts unbuttoning my shirt. “So does that mean I take too long?”

She pulls my shirt open, sliding it off my shoulders. “Oh no, Mr. Drexel. As a matter of fact, you’re perfect.” She starts to unbuckle my belt. “So perfect you have me wanting to prove every single one of those people surveyed wrong.”

“Really?”

She kisses me lightly on the lips before pulling away, our breaths intermingling. “We’ve got thirty minutes.”

“Aren’t you afraid we’re going to disappoint the experts by going ‘too long?’” I ask. “You know, in case we make it to thirty.”

“Screw the experts,” Harlow says, laughing. “They haven’t met you.”

Focus, Dax. Look Up. (An Excerpt)

One of my favorite scenes in Everything She Ever Wanted is the Anaya family dinner where Dax has to face Harlow after their not-so-friendly first meeting three days earlier. And with the holiday season in full swing, it’s one of the scenes that always brings a smile to my face.

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“You forgot, didn’t you?” Sarah calls out from the dinner table the moment I step through the door before turning to look at our grandmother. “I told you he forgot. He was probably playing video games with the Villier brothers again.”

“So what if I was? I’m on vacation,” I mumble as I take the only available seat between Nana and my sister’s on-and-off-again boyfriend, Benny Turner, and father of their eight-year-old son, Dyami. Benny works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as an environmental protection specialist on climate change as it affects the tribes in the region.

After a round of hi’s and hello’s, Nana finally introduces me to our guest, who’s sitting right in front of me, flanked between Sarah and Dyami.

“Hello, Dax,” Harlow says as I mutter something that sounds like Hi. “Nice to see you again.”

She’s wearing a pink top that plays up her key assets—her flawless skin, pert nose, and big beautiful brown eyes. And then there are her full lips that she just now licks, and as my eyes drift lower, my gaze lands on her perfect tits.  Focus, Dax.  Look up.

“Oh, so you’ve both met?” Benny asks as I tear my gaze from Harlow’s tits to her face and meet her big brown eyes.  God, she’s beautiful.

“Yes, we have,” Harlow says. “Dax came by two days ago to say hello.”

“He did? That was sweet of him,” Sarah says, smiling as she ignores my scowl and I know she’s going to torment me all throughout dinner, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  Not in front of a guest. “I never realized he took the time to say hello to any of his renters.”

“Stop it, Sarah,” Nana says. “Why don’t we say grace and eat before Dyami sneaks another piece of fry bread when he thinks no one is looking.”

“You guys didn’t have to wait for me,” I say sheepishly as soon as Nana finishes saying grace and begins to dish out the stew in bowls, handing each one to Sarah to pass around the table.

“And since when do you turn off your phone, mijo?” she asks, handing me a bowl of stew. “We’ve been trying to reach you for the past hour to remind you to be here before our guest arrived.”

I pull out my phone from my back pocket and place it on the table. “Turn off my phone? Why would I turn off my…” I pause, noticing that it’s dead. “Oh, shit–”

“No cussing at the table, and you know my rule about phones during dinner. All of them, off,” Nana says as I return the phone into my back pocket, as does Benny who makes a guilty face.

“So, were you working at the Pearl?” Benny asks as Harlow takes a warm tortilla from the serving plate in front of her. “Want a beer?”

“Sure,” I reply as he twists one open and hands it to me. “Nah, it’s currently rented, in case you didn’t know.”

Benny shakes his head. “Nope, guess I didn’t know that. I always thought you stayed at the Pearl whenever you’re in town.”

“Not right now,” Sarah says in a sing-song voice as she grins at Harlow, ignoring the glare I’m shooting her way.

“Unfortunately, I’m renting it right now,” Harlow finally speaks, and I pray she doesn’t mention anything about my little visit. I continue eating my stew, biting into the tortillas that Nana makes from scratch. I can’t wait to have some fresh fry bread for dessert. “I didn’t realize that Dax uses it for work. If I’d known–”

“—you’d still stay according to your original plans,” Nana says before glaring at me. “And don’t you dare let my grandson bully you into leaving early.”

“Dax? Bully you into leaving? Say it ain’t true?” Sarah teases, watching me squirm before she turns to look at Harlow. “Is it true?”

I stuff a tortilla in my mouth and pretend I don’t hear a word they’re saying. Sarah is eight years older than I am and has always loved teasing me since we were kids. She knows how much I hate it, and so she does it every time we see each other. If I glare at her, she’ll only keep doing it, but I’m not about to let her bully me into silence either, even if my mouth is full.

“I id not bully a-wone in-o leaving.”

“Don’t speak with your mouth full, mijo,” Nana says as Benny chuckles.

“Yeah, don’t talk with your mouth full, Uncle Dax,” Dyami chimes in just as Benny raises an eyebrow at his son.

“And you, too, young man.”

“Look, I’m sorry,” I blurt out as everyone at the table suddenly becomes quiet. I know they’re watching me as I take a deep breath and look at Harlow. I’m sure it’s no accident why Nana has me sitting right across from her. “I’m sorry I came over that day, Dr. James, but I swear, I was not trying to get you to leave early.”

“Call me Harlow,” she says, smiling before she pins her gaze on me. “So why did you come over?”

I open my mouth to speak but stop myself. Mentioning the suicide note and the gun would only tell her that I was there that night, and that’s the last thing I want anyone to know. “Does it matter now? I got my weeks wrong, that’s all, and that’s why I’m apologizing right now. And I don’t care if you forgive me or not, but I’m sorry.”

“Don’t you have your stuff over there?” Sarah asks. “Why don’t you just get them and do your work here?”

I shrug.  “That’s alright. I figure I’ll head back to Flagstaff tomorrow and come back in two weeks. That should make everyone happy.”

“YOU’RE LEAVING?!”

It’s a chorus of voices that catches me by surprise, just as I see the hurt expression that crosses Nana’s face.  I see her glance at me and then at Harlow just as I look away.

“But you can’t leave! You just got here, Uncle Dax!” Dyami exclaims. “Please stay!  I still need to beat you in Minecraft.”

I actually had no plans of leaving but for the first time, the crowd around the table is getting the best of me, and I hate it.  But it’s not their fault.  Sure, I may look like my sister’s easy target but she’s just Sarah, the hospice nurse who sees so much death that she has to balance all that sadness out with something or she’ll go crazy.  It’s one of the other reasons I look forward to coming home because when there are no guests around, I dish it back to her just as good.

No, it’s not them.  But the woman sitting across from me is making me nervous. She even makes the butterflies in my belly flutter, and right now, I’m not happy about that. She’s a beautiful woman, and so out of my league, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her since I first saw her on my bed that night. It’s not even about the damn gun and the damn note anymore for she’s apparently changed her mind about killing herself, and now here she is enjoying my grandmother’s cooking.

No, this is about me and my damn knight in shining armor act, wanting to save every fucking damsel in distress. Only this time, it’s different, and I can feel it in my bones.

With Harlow James and her damn tits, I’ll be the one who’ll need the saving.

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Photo of woman laughing by Lesly Juarez (Unsplash) and was one of two main inspiration photos for Harlow James

Everything She Ever Wanted is LIVE (and other news…)

Everything She Ever Wanted is now out on AUDIO as of today and I’m so excited! And I’m so happy to have found Melissa Moran and Joe Hempel to voice Harlow and Dax respectively. They’re amazing narrators and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with.

AMAZON: http://getbook.at/daxandharlow
AUDIBLE: http://adbl.co/2yWlc3K
ITUNES: http://apple.co/2inMol5

Get it FREE when you sign up for an Audible 30-day FREE Trial➜ 
http://adbl.co/2l2t2my

In other news, Falling for Jordan has been pushed back to November 3. It’s the earliest date that was available per the publisher/aggregator and I apologize for the delay.


NEW LINKS:

AMAZON US AMAZON UK AMAZON CA