“You look… stunning,” Campbell says as we stand in front of each other, fidgeting. How long have I been standing at the door without saying a thing, too busy thinking about him and his blue eyes… and his abs?
“Why the boots?”
I look down at my two-inch knee-high boots. “Anything wrong with them? They don’t go with what I’m wearing?”
He shakes his head, chuckling. “They look great on you, Cait. Somehow, I thought you’d be wearing–”
“Stilettos, you mean, to go with the dress?” I say as he nods. “And tower over my date?”
“Not with me.”
“Well, you’re not the many guys I dated back in LA. Most of them were under 5’11. Not to say there’s anything wrong with that… it just ruled out heels for me.”
“Good for you, I’m not one of them,” Campbell says. “You won’t have to worry about that on our next no-date date.”
“You remembered!” I love how cocky Campbell gets when he’s not being Campbell, my brother’s best friend.
“Why wouldn’t I? You set the rules, remember?”
“I did, didn’t I?”
He thrusts his hands in his trouser pockets and playfully takes a step forward. “Are there any rules to this no-date date I need to know about? I wouldn’t want to break any of them.”
The way he looks at me makes my mouth turn dry. It’s a look he’s never given me before, one that tells me he likes what he sees… and not in that ‘she’s my best friend’s-sister’ kind of way either. It’s something else, one that makes my stomach do somersaults and my heart beat a bit faster.
And I want more.
Hope you enjoyed that little snippet!
Honestly, these two are driving me up the wall with their cuteness… and even though I’m supposed to be diving into a dark romance story for Naughty Pen (think dub-con and all that dark romance stuff…), I’m not ready to let go of these two.
Somewhere on this blog is a private page that has 32 covers I’ve purchased hoarded since I began publishing—and that number doesn’t include the covers I’ve made.
Yes, you read it right. Thirty-two covers.
And I can’t show any of them off because I have to write their stories first.
But I will show you one because I’ve decided to kinda do an ongoing journal of my writing process, word count, and all that on my blog.
So I’m supposed to be part of this holiday box set that comes out, well, during the holidays. And one thing about me is that I don’t write holiday stories. Not the happy ones, at least. If you’ve read The Accidental Christmas, that wasn’t exactly a happy romantic story. More like a bittersweet one because it’s just what I know. I mean, my favorite Christmas story is The Gift of the Magi. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the story of a couple who give each other gifts that aren’t of any use because they sold that to which the gifts would have been of use for. Wait, that was confusing. Basically, she cut her hair so she could buy him a chain for his gold watch but he sold his gold watch so he could buy her a pair of beautiful combs for her (now non-existent) long hair.
Yep, that’s my idea of a holiday story.
So you can imagine me sitting in front of my laptop going, so what bittersweet story am I writing this year? No, I don’t think it will go over too well…
Enter two side characters from Falling for Jordan. Caitlin O’Halloran, Jordan’s sister, and his best friend and the boy next door, Campbell Murphy. Since Falling for Jordan is my happiest book so far, I have a feeling that there won’t be hardly any angst with these two side-characters.
I definitely need this mock cover to guide inspire me to make the story sweet instead of bittersweet.
But boy, has it been a struggle. It took me more than a week to outline it. Yes, outlining again, my nemesis! And this time, I managed to outline it from beginning to end! That way, it won’t go off the rails and become bittersweet.
So far, I’ve written 8819 words with 2,111 today. Chapter 4 done and tomorrow on to Chapter 5. I have a feeling I’ll overshoot my 25k word maximum requirement but I’m not about to sweat that one. I’ll deal with it when it happens. Actually, the box set is clean romance – No D, C, and F-words. So I’m sure I can scrape off the 10k extra words of all that steamy stuff easily (fingers crossed).
Anyway, I was just looking at my publishing calendar for the past year and I wondered why I had these gaps where Liz didn’t publish anything. And then it hit me! That’s when my Naughty Pen was publishing her stories! Duh!
And today, she published another one! Come to think of it, she published one last week, too, so it seems like she’s on a roll. But I can only do one thing at a time, devote time to one pen name at a time hence the outlines so I remember what I had planned to write to begin with. Lika a map. A Thomas Guide. Anyone remember that?
Without an outline, it’s like relying on GPS to tell you what’s coming up only when you’re close. Having an outline to follow is like having a Thomas Guide handy. You get to see the big picture first and actually know what streets come before your actual turn instead of waiting for Siri to finally tell you to turn at 500 feet.
And so that’s how I’m viewing outlining now—especially when I’m juggling three pen names. It’s like having that trusty Thomas Guide that was indispensable for Los Angelenos before it was replaced by smartphone apps telling you when to turn left or right.
One word, one gesture. That was all I needed. Give me a sign, Sir. Show me you want me.
The door opened and I saw his shoes first and then his trousers though I didn’t dare lift my gaze up to his face. I hadn’t earned it, not yet. He was still dressed as if he’d just come back from his dinner meeting. I felt his presence take over my senses – sight, sound and everything in between, conquering every moment of doubt that I’d dared to entertain. He stood before me, towering like the king that he was. I felt his finger under my chin, tilting my face upward.
He said my name and I felt my chest swell with pride. He’d opened the door for me. The butterflies in my stomach fluttered to life and desire settled between my legs. “You’re on time.”
Then he withdrew his hand and held it out towards me, palm up. “Come,” he said.
So I told myself I wouldn’t do NaNoWriMo this year, but the call is so powerful. It’s everywhere I look on social media! Everyone is posting their daily word counts and helping one another be accountable – which is so awesome! To make matters worse, I just received a reminder from my #Timehop app that this was my #NaNoWriMo story last year.
Turns out, this lady doth protest too much. I now am back on the #NaNoWriMo train. I’m not in any groups, though, which is fine with me. But if you want to see my progress, you’ll find it here. I’m also not starting a new story (at least, not for this NaNoWriMo account) but polishing an old one that fell short of 50K words. I was going to rewrite it in first person present tense, but after tackling the first chapter, I’m keeping it third person past tense, as the original was. It also won’t have a cover until I’m done because I want to do a proper cover reveal when the novel is finally finished – yes, I am learning patience.