Ashe and Riley Get New Covers (for the last time)

I really should have been writing but while describing to a cover designer what I wanted on the new covers for Loving Ashe and Loving Riley and then hearing that this wasn’t possible or that wouldn’t come out as good as I’d imagined it, I realized I totally suck when it comes to describing what I want. It’s one of those “it’s me, not you” kind of problems, especially when the resulting commissioned covers look nothing like what I saw inside my head which comes with all the bells and whistles—the atmosphere, the moving images.

So yesterday, I decided to create the covers myself. It meant leaving the world of the Peters family (The Replacement Fiance) and moving back into Ashe and Riley’s world where I always feel like I’m back home again with people I love most in the world. Oops! Did I just admit I have favorites?

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So these are the final versions of Ashe and Riley’s covers. Book 1 and Book 2 of the Celebrity series (used to be the Loving Ashe trilogy until I realized that their story just might take more than three books). I already have Gareth’s cover designed and the three look great together. Gareth’s picture is way way younger than he is in the books but that’s okay. Although I can’t show you the cover for Gareth’s book yet, the model’s eyes are just amazing – what I call Paul Newman’s eyes. Remember him?

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I was really too young to appreciate Paul Newman in his heyday or see all his movies but when I saw him for the first time on the screen, there’s something about his eyes that you don’t see in still pictures. They’re like windows to his soul and in many ways, that’s how my characters’ used to be revealed in my books, through their eyes, until I realized I needed to stop that. It was getting old. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t go back to focusing on their eyes when I wrote about them.

In my series, Gareth’s eyes are actually green, a detail that holds the key to something important in the series. It also means that the series is one that none of the books really stand alone. They need to be read in order. First Loving Ashe and then Loving Riley. I used to think that one could read Loving Riley first and get the story but that usually led to readers not getting what was happening.

So… always start with the first book in a series. Lesson learned for me and that’s why these days, I always tell people to read the first book first. Don’t skip it. Well, unless you hate it from the get go…

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So that’s it for the start of my weekend. I really need to get back to writing the holiday novella again. I’m still stuck at 19k words (now 16k after I got done editing it) and I’ve got 16k more words to go!

How about you? How’s your weekend going?

I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham

…I do not like them, Sam I am!

After dinner, while she insisted she rinse the dishes and load up the dishwasher, Ashe helped the boys assemble the toy trains and the tracks around the playroom. He had removed his jacket shortly after Paige and Clint left, and by the time dinner was over, he was moving around the playroom in his bare feet, on his hands and knees putting the train set together while the boys climbed all over him, directing him with what to do. By the third hour, the triplets were bored of their brand new train and insisted they watch Finding Nemo, but not before Ashe read them Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, complete with sound effects. Even Riley had been assigned the role of the grumpy narrator, much to her nephews’ delight, who laughed and giggled every time she made a grumpy face and lowered her voice.

-Loving Ashe

I wrote Loving Ashe when my son was three-years-old and I was reading Dr. Seuss’ books out loud to him. He loved Green Eggs and Ham most of all as well as One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I think that’s the title, but I digress.

So while writing a babysitting scene in Loving Ashe, I defaulted to the books I read the most that my son loved, complete with all the sound effects. Green Eggs and Ham. I actually used to call it Sam-I-Am because, in Ashe and Riley’s story, he calls her Riley-I-Am because of their babysitting adventure.

It’s one of the things that strikes me when I re-read sections of my books (for research!) and I remember why I included a certain tidbit here and there. It feels like leaving a part of me in every book like Voldemort left his Horcruxes everywhere… only in my case, it’s in my books and usually, I know about them and no one else does.

Well, at least, you know about this one…

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Diving Back In

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So last week I lamented my lack of motivation to write. It made me sound lazy (I am but that’s beside the point) and in need of validation with every chapter I wrote. Then I took a closer look and realized that it’s not exactly true.

One reason why I haven’t been into my Liz books is because I’ve been paying more attention to Naughty Pen’s books. Yup, she’s got three of them. Four, if you count the one I just unpublished because it’s only the first part and no sense in releasing that out there if I don’t have the second one ready to go.

I’d published the first of Naughty Pen’s books in July and then I went about my merry way not paying attention to it until I released the second and third parts in October and December respectively. Enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, they did poorly. So poorly, Naughty Pen’s total income for all three books for the 2017 was $56 and change.

This month, I decided I had to stop playing around with Naughty Pen’s fate. Secret pen or not, it’s still a business, right?

So the three books left Kindle Unlimited at the beginning of this month and went out to the world of wide distribution like eager eighteen-year-olds. Happy to say that Naughty Pen’s readers were never on Kindle Unlimited but in iBooks. In the last week and a half, the series has made way more money than it did during its first six months in KU. If I’d known… but then, hindsight has always been 20/20.

So that’s where my head’s been at all this time, and all the while my own characters suffered.

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Forever my inspiration for Gareth: Devin Paisley

So now that Naughty Pen is kinda set with her three books for now, I’m finally ready to dive back into the world of my own characters. I did a poll on my Facebook Reader Group, asking them which character they’d like to see first. Hands down, the winner was Sawyer, Dax’s friend in Everything She Ever Wanted. Running second was Gareth of Loving Ashe, and third was Blythe from Collateral Attraction. Blythe doesn’t get a lot of love but that’s okay. She gets enough love from me and these three books are on the docket for 2018.

I just need to figure out which one to write first.

In my heart, I know whose book to write. I’ve only been agonizing his fate for the last two years, too afraid to go against what readers want versus what I’ve wanted from the very beginning. But this book had never been written to market and so the third book will be written the same way: not to market.

For those unfamiliar with the term written to market, it basically means writing what sells. If you’re an author with books in KU, it can be bad boy romance, urban fiction, fantasy, space marines or whatever else. It takes studying the Amazon algorithm to know what sells before you write the first word.

But the book I’m going to tackle is not to market and that’s a challenge to business me. Still, I can’t delay it any longer and so back into Gareth Roman’s world I go. It means diving into Barbed Wire, the short story from his POV of what happens in Chapter 24 of Loving Ashe and moving on from there. I wrote this short story two years ago and it’s my most polarizing story so far. You’ll need to have read Loving Ashe to get its context, and as I edit the story to fix a few things, it feels like I’m home again.

Guess my vacation has finally come to an end, and back to work I go.

And do you know one thing that gets me back to work mode? It’s this video, a tribute to the chase scene from Ronin, one of my favorite movies from the 90’s (or was it the 80’s?). The title of the music used is perfect, Inertia Creeps, and it’s exactly what was happening to me last week even if I was distracted by Naughty Pen’s business end.

This video features the best movie chase scene EVER. Hands down. You got to crank up the volume for this one…

 

Loving Ashe Is Now on Audio! 😍🎧

Amazon ➭ http://amzn.to/2y3RNo3
Audible ➭ http://adbl.co/2wQE4AU
iTunes ➭ http://apple.co/2huv9hu

New to Audible?

Download Loving Ashe for free!

And just how cool is that???

This will be my FIRST audiobook ever that’s made from my books and I’m so thrilled that’s it’s finally available.

For someone who has over 225 audiobooks in her Audible account from Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin to Godfather by Mario Puzo (narrated by Joe Mantegna) and last week (even though I’ve already listened to it when it first came out and back then you had to rent it), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling (narrated by the one and only Jim Dale), I’m so thrilled that I get to add my own audiobook, Loving Ashe narrated by Tracy Marks, in my collection – and it’s a strangely wonderful and weird feeling.

I might even need to walk my dog again so I can listen to it.

For Your Ears Only

Last June, I decided to have Everything She Ever Wanted available as an audiobook, and in the midst of getting that set up, I met narrator Tracy Marks and suddenly, Loving Ashe was getting an audiobook version, too. It definitely wasn’t on my publishing schedule for the year but that’s life for you. So if you’re wondering why I’ve been so distracted this summer, here’s one of the reasons why.

And it’s all so worth it!

So while I’m waiting for all the final stuff to arrive, here’s a sample for you to check out! And if you’d like to review the audiobook (because I will be needing reviews on Audible), let me know and I’ll be sure to send you a code to download Ashe and Riley’s story.

You can also listen to it on Soundcloud:

Happy #BookLoversDay!

For #bookloversday, here’s a wee exchange between my favorites, Ashe and Riley:

While she prepared coffee, Ashe browsed through her books, pulling one out here and there to open it and flip through the pages, and always taking care of how he opened them. She could have sworn she caught him smelling the books, especially the vintage ones that belonged to her mother. Jane Eyre was one that he pulled out and flip through the pages, and Riley caught him smile to himself when he pulled out her mother’s copy of Madame Bovary.

“Do you like to read?” she asked.

“I do, yes,” Ashe replied as he returned a book to the shelf. “Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to read these days, unless it’s to research a role. If I have some time, I read on my phone, but I do miss the feel of a real book in my hands.”

-from Loving Ashe, Book 1 of the Celebrity series