What am I working on now? #WIP

WIP

It’s been a while, I know, but real life has been kicking me in the butt. I’m still working on Bitter Bite (menage with a vampire, priest, and virginal heroine). It was supposed to be 20,000 words long… yeah. HA HA! It’s going to be longer. Maybe 30k? We’ll see.

I was planning on working on the next Stronghold series book, but the second book of the Bad Oak Boys keeps climbing into my brain and tormenting me. Stronghold might be put on the back burner while I write Josh and Gerwulf’s story.

That’s it for now, folks. 😀

What am I working on now? #WIP

WIP

I just finished writing a new MM romantic comedy/suspense, tentatively titled, The Billionaire’s Bodyguard. Here’s the rough blurb (unedited):

Billionaire Alex Roman needs a bodyguard. His best friend, Jesse Emerson, an ex-Security Forces Specialist, needs a job. What could possibly go wrong?

Jesse thinks protecting Alex will be a piece of cake. He’ll get to spend quality time with his oldest friend while avoiding his ex-girlfriend. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned. Why would Alex introduce him to everyone as his lover? And why didn’t Alex tell him about the threating notes he’s been receiving for months?

Alex has been in love with Jesse for years, not that he’d ever admit it to his best friend, but he’s not above making a practical joke out of it. Telling everyone that Jesse is his boyfriend will go a long way toward relieving the stress of the threats he’s been plagued with recently. Unfortunately, when someone tries to shoot him at a charity gala, he discovers that maybe he needs Jesse’s skills more than he realized…

…because sometimes a billionaire’s best friend is the fake boyfriend who’s really his bodyguard.

 

Next up: today I begin plotting Dusk, the second Stronghold series book. I’m looking forward to writing Lucy and Solomon’s story!

What am I doing now?

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I just finished revising a short story that was loads of fun to write: Karma Bites. It’s been accepted by my publisher and I’m waiting on a tentative publication date, yay! It’s about a guy who pretends to have a boyfriend (even though he isn’t gay) so his cousin Coco will stop pestering him for a date. Much ridiculousness happens! I laughed all the way through this one.

My newest menage, Joyful Devastation, was accepted by Evernight and will be coming out sometime in April. What happens when an off-duty cop sits on his niece’s knitting needles? He needs to go to the ER, of course. This one started off as a fun romp and morphed into a serious sci-fi novel.

Now what? After rummaging around in my virtual box of goodies, I think I’ll be writing a story about a cranky, eccentric, territorial hero who falls in love quite unwillingly. 🙂

 

11 things you didn’t know about me – Rainbow Book Reviews interview!

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Want to know 11 things about me? Head on over to my new interview with Rainbow Book Reviews: click here to read. Here’s a snippet:

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I have no idea. The thing about being a person is that everything you know about yourself is ordinary. It’s only when you begin to tell someone else about your life that your realize there are some parts of who you are that are surprising.

Work in progress – sometimes it sux

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Sometimes writing comes easy, and sometimes it doesn’t. Today every word is a rock in the way of the mountain ridge I’m hiking toward. Right now, I’m working on the knitting needles story that so amuses me (thanks Lisa O!). I’m very much in love with my characters, but I don’t feel like writing tonight (probably because I pulled something in my lower back and typing is a little uncomfortable). Nevertheless, here’s a snippet for your reading pleasure:

“I’m sorry, but I need a bit more access,” she finally said, straightening up.

He stared at her. “And that means?”

She gestured at the fabric he clutched to his groin. “I need you to move the sheet, please.” She looked steadily at his face, nothing but professional intent in her expression.

He blinked uncomprehendingly for a moment, then sighed when she didn’t look away. “Of course you do. Because it’s Monday and impaling myself on a knitting needle just isn’t unpleasant enough after a full day’s work. I apologize in advance for flashing you.”

She smiled at that. “It’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”

“You’ve seen someone almost stab themselves in the balls?” He chuckled. “Sure.”

She grinned suddenly. “Oh, I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe. Trust me.”

His brain flashed into all the places it shouldn’t go at her words and he cursed himself silently. “Okay, I get it Doc.” He gritted his teeth and moved the drape over a tiny bit, not enough to really show her anything. “Is that enough?”

She gave him a look that clearly said no.

Running into the unknown. Naked.

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I have a WIP page here on my website (Work in Progress) that I use to keep you kind of up to date on what I’m doing, but it doesn’t really encompass the sheer insanity of my life this year. I’ve written eight distinct works so far as Erin M. Leaf and Marie E. Blossom, and it’s only June. That’s two short stories, and six novels (some were 30,000+ words and some were 50,000+ words long). My favorite story is my worst seller. The novel I was most nervous about is one of my best sellers.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

I think, in order to understand what it is like to be a writer, you need to imagine you’re in a dream. You’re on a boat and the ocean is vast, beautiful, and treacherous. It’s nighttime and the stars are incredibly bright. You can’t stop looking at them, because you’re trying to figure out where you are. You never do. Instead, you befriend a dolphin for a little while and tell her story. Then you find an island where there is nothing but sand, and you tell the story of the lone turtle sleeping on the shore. You cast off again, and follow a reef, telling the story of the coral. Eventually you end up on another island, except this one is a continent and you head into the forest to explore. You tell the story of a mountain lion, a frog, and the mist. This continues….

forever.

You never find out where you are going, but you remember where you have been. You have no tools except for your mind itself. You are exposed all the time and you must use your wits to ignore the weirdness of having your soul visible.

If you spend too much time second-guessing yourself and obsessing over what is happening to you, you end up frozen, like a zombie with its strings cut. The zombie gets eaten very quickly because anything unmoving in this dreamscape is food. The world eats you.

That is what writing feels like to me.

I love it. Even though it’s scary.

Length… explained

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No! Not that kind of length—get your mind out of the gutter!

I’m talking about book length. One of my publishers (Evernight) has a novelette line called Romance on the Go, and I’ve noticed that a lot of readers are confused about length and word count.

There are a bunch of different opinions on how long a novel should be, as well as a short story or novella, but generally speaking, here is a short cheat sheet you can use so you know what you’re getting:

  • Short Short Story = up to 7,500 words
  • Short Story/Novelette (Romance on the Go titles) = 8,000 to 12,000 words
  • Novella = 20,000 to 40,000 or 50,000 words
  • Novel = 40,000 or 50,000 words and up
  • Epic OMG this is going to take forever to read = 100,000 words and up

_____

For some comparison shopping, here is some more info:

little-dove Little Dove is 10,850 words

Kiss Is A Four-Letter Word Kiss Is A Four-Letter word is 40,600 words

Appassionato released! Appassionato is 64,657 words

something-shifty Something Shifty is 40,680 words (releases Thursday!)

Five books that take zero energy to read which makes me happy

There’s this little known fact of life about being a writer that no one tells you: it takes a LOT of freaking time to write a book. Most of us have to give something up in order to manage it. Some people give up sleep (which just-NO). Some give up being nice (let the spouse do all the work-also NO). Some give up food, clothes, and other essentials like bathing (NO NO NO).

I gave up … reading.

Seriously. I have so little time leftover after cooking and doing stuff with the family and sleeping and exercising, that I’ve been trying to fit reading in while I eat lunch. And during bathroom breaks (which is kinda TMI, isn’t it? Sorry…). Sometimes I read during commercials while I’m watching tv with the family, but with DVRing most of our shows, that leaves me about ten seconds.

So, I’ve begun reading stuff I’ve already read a thousand times. I know what happens. I know the characters. Practically no mental energy is used up trying to get into a book and then getting interrupted by life and then … well, forgetting the names of the characters.

I tend to reread things that make me either laugh or sob uncontrollably (and no, I don’t know what that says about my mental landscape, and I don’t have the time to figure it out, either, so we’ll all just have to deal).

Without further ado, here is my list:

Indiscreet

Indiscreet by Kasey Michaels

Hysterical. I mean, I need tissues when I read this because it opens with a scene where the main characters’ parents fall off a balcony while boinking. I generally laugh so hard I cry.

*****

AViewtoaKiss

A View to a Kiss by Caroline Linden

The hero is a spy. He wears a disguise … an UGLY disguise. The girl falls for him anyway. Totally awesome.

*****

BrideHuntBall

At the Bride Hunt Ball by Olivia Parker

In one scene the heroine throws a fruit at the hero’s forehead and he goes DOWN–>so freaking funny!

*****

SilentMelody

Silent Melody by Mary Balogh

This is seriously old-school romance (well, not for me, I started reading romances long before 1997, but still, you get the idea). The heroine is deaf. The hero is the only one who thinks she has a brain. Sigh-worthy, heartbreaking romance in this book.

*****

AtrociousLies

I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies): True Tales of a Loudmouth Girl by Laurie Notaro

Um, do I really have to explain this one? I mean, look at the title, come on! That’s funny! This is the one non-fiction book in the list, but I have to admit, I bet Ms. Notaro took some liberties with the hilarious stories in the book. She’s possibly a connoisseur of hyperbole, of which I heartily approve.

Cotton and china sitting in a tree, k i s s i n g

It’s been a little over two years since I began writing erotic romances. They say that for your two year anniversary, you’re supposed to gift the happy couple with cotton (which, what? Why?) or china (the dish, not the country). One of my publishers just had a two-year anniversary, too. Coincidentally, my husband and I are celebrating our twenty year anniversary. I’ve been deluged with cottony dreams and weird, significant thoughts every time I fold a towel or pick up a stray leaf. It’s as if I’m supposed to believe that these days are important somehow, when the truth is, I think it’s all just an excuse for having a party.

(Which I have no problem with, by the way.)

By the time this post goes live, I will be in Las Vegas, rolling around on a ridiculously decadent bed and trying to decide if I should eat chocolate candy or chocolate cake for breakfast. I’ll probably get some new piece of sparkly jewelry. The husband indulges me often, but this time I’ll take a minute and reflect on how we got here, two decades later. I will be happy.

The truth is, I’ve been writing since I was a child. I’ve been writing so long that selecting an arbitrary date to celebrate is strange and hilarious. Yeah, sure, I would like to make money with my words, but the truth is, I wrote long before I sold anything. I published long before I got paid. Given the insanity of this business, I suppose loving the act of writing is a blessing. I’ll keep going whether or not I ever celebrate an anniversary. I’ll still be writing ten years from now. I’ll probably throw a party and eat a ton of crap and the next day I’ll get up and start typing away, transcribing dreams into pixels. One of my characters will wear a diamond in a tin setting and no one will understand why. It’ll be awesome.