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Erotic Romance

“Home Is Where The Heart Is” or “Travel The World To Find Yourself”?

Yet again, we have two Bad Girlz with release days this week, and yet again, the themes of their book could not be more different. The third book in Laura Trentham’s Falconers Football series, MELTING INTO YOU, is all about coming home, while the first book in Jeanette Grey’s new series, SEVEN NIGHTS TO SURRENDER, is about traveling the world and finding love in far-off destinations.

Home Is Where the Heart Is…

In MELTING INTO YOU, two lost souls reconnect back in their home town of Falcon, Alabama. Lilliana left home for art school in NYC but returns after her father dies and she inherits the decrepit family home. Alec was a football star at the University of Alabama and a professional quarterback in Philly until a dirty hit ends his career. (Did I mention he is hot and tattooed? I didn’t? Well…check out my excerpt below) Will they be able to put their pasts behind them for a future together?

“…marvelously funny, engaging, and memorable romance in a place where everyone knows your name.” – RT Book Reviews on Falcon Football Series

“Absolutely perfect!!! I loved this book from start to finish.” – Laura H, Goodreads (<–not meJ, although, it is pretty perfect, imo)

“I’m highly recommending you read the Falcon Football series and I’m giving Melting Into You five-plus stars!”—Bookaholics-not-so-anonymous

Read an excerpt from MELTING INTO YOU

Melting-Into-You-by-Laura-Trentham-300Alec grabbed at both her wrists, but the movement only flipped his shirt apart, exposing the bottom half of his chest. Something dark edged from the checked cotton. He froze, his hands loosening. Lilliana finished working his buttons open and spread the shirt to expose his entire chest.

“Oh. My. God.” Her words compressed out of lungs that held no air.

She wasn’t in shock from the defined muscles of his chest. That she’d expected. It wasn’t even the sexy dusting of hair trailing into the waistband of his pants. What hypnotized and held her rapt was the enormous tattoo that covered one side of his torso.

The vibe was difficult to nail down. Tribal with some Picasso cubism thrown in. Script played peekaboo along his side, obscured by the shirt hanging on the curve of his shoulders. What words would a man like him pick to inscribe on his body? One thing was certain—his tattoo was a work of art. Now she was less interested in his warm, man-scented skin than what was drawn on it. Impatiently, she pushed his shirt off his shoulders to hang at his elbows.

The tattoo extended to his shoulder and over his upper arm, stopping at mid-biceps like a permanent sleeve. In all the football practices she’d attended, he’d never revealed his ink. Unlike the boys or other coaches, he wore long-sleeved workout gear and used a towel tucked into his shorts to wipe away sweat, but she’d chalked his habits up to being a quarterback and needing a protected throwing arm and dry hands.

Never in a million years would she have guessed what preppy, uptight Alec Grayson had up his sleeve. Literally.

“It’s old. From when I was young and stupid. Most of my teammates in Philly had tats and I thought I was the sh—” He muttered to cover the curse word and ran a hand through the top of his hair, mussing the regimented style. “I’m planning to get it lasered off.”

“Don’t you dare!”

Clarity struck like a shot of adrenaline to her heart. He was ashamed or at least embarrassed by the tattoo. With trembling fingertips, she skimmed the outer line of a dark black swirl of ink tracing the muscle of his pectoral. At first contact, the muscle jumped, and he flinched away as if in physical pain.

“Don’t you dare,” she repeated in a whisper leaning in to follow the line with her lips.

Get your copy today:
Amz: http://amzn.to/1KN5RMR
BN: http://bit.ly/1K6kaM5
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1Md3tzS
iBooks: http://apple.co/1Ov0N7j

Travel The World To Find Yourself

In SEVEN NIGHTS TO SURRENDER, aspiring artist Kate takes herself on a trip to Paris in search of inspiration. Instead, she finds Rylan, a fellow ex-pat who offers to show her around the city–and also to show her his bed. The two indulge their every desire, but Rylan is hiding not only his fortune but also the truth about who he really is. As the two open up to each other, they both want more than the week they’ve allotted, but Rylan’s secrets may tear them apart before they’ve even begun.

“Jeanette Grey has become a must-read voice in romance.​ Seven Nights to Surrender is lyrical, stunningly sexy, and brings swoons for days.”
      — Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author

“A must read! I couldn’t put it down. Jeanette Grey’s writing is so refreshingly honest. Seven Nights to Surrender is intensely emotional and sexy as hell. I need the next book ASAP!”
       — Tara Sue Me, New York Times bestselling author

“With its sexy setting and sensual story, Jeanette Grey’s Seven Nights to Surrender sparkles!”
— J. Kenner, New York Times and International bestselling author

Read an excerpt from SEVEN NIGHTS TO SURRENDER

Grey_SevenNightstoSurrender_TR2015-08-14Eyeing her up the entire time, he finished the rest of his drink. She still had a little left of hers, but they were closing in on decision time. He didn’t have anything else going on today—he never really had anything going on, not since his life had fallen apart. But was he willing to sink an entire afternoon here, offering to show her around?

He tried to be analytical about it. Her body language was still less than open, for all that she’d loosened up a bit. Given her age, probably not a virgin, but he’d bet a lot of money that she wasn’t too far off. Not his usual fare. He preferred girls who knew what they were doing—more importantly, ones who knew what he was doing. What he was looking for.

This girl…It was going to take some work to get in there. If it paid off, he had a feeling it’d be worth it, though. When she smiled, her prettiness transcended into beauty.

There was something else there, too. She was romantic and hopeful, and between the story of her lost sketchbook and her delusions about Paris having the power to change her life, she had to be a creative type. Out of nowhere, he wanted to know what kinds of things she made, and what she looked like when she drew.

He kept coming back to her eyes. They hadn’t stopped moving the entire time they’d been sitting there, like she was taking absolutely everything in. The sights beyond the window, the faces of the people in the café. Him. It was intriguing. She was intriguing, and in a way no other woman had been in so long.

And the idea of going back to the apartment alone made him want to scream.

Decision made, he pushed his chair out and clapped his hands together. “Well, what are we waiting for then?”

“Excuse me?”

“Travel guides are bullshit anyway. Especially when you’ve got something better.” He rose to his feet and extended his hand.

Her expression dripped skepticism. “And what’s that?”

He shot her his best, most seductive grin. “Me.”

Get your copy today:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1fNJiiU
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seven-nights-to-surrender-jeanette-grey/1121335315
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/br/book/seven-nights-to-surrender/id1014052823?l=en&mt=11
Google Play: https://books.google.com/books?id=rsYLCgAAQBAJ
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/seven-nights-to-surrender-1

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Where It All Began…

Once upon a time, long ago, in the year 2011, yours truly was a writer who was just getting her bearings. Alone in her cave, she crafted tales of love and lust, and all the while she was beleaguered by doubt. Were her words any good? Would she ever really make it? Isolated, she pressed through the tangled path to publication, all the while convinced there had to be a better way.

Meanwhile, in a restaurant on the other side of town, a thriving RWA chapter held its monthly meetings. Our protagonist in this tale knew of these gatherings, and every month, she debated with herself about whether or not she was brave enough and good enough and dedicated enough to go.

Finally, on the eve of the publication of her first novella, she summoned her courage and made the trek.

She arrived early (a feat which has yet to be replicated) and was greeted by a member of the chapter who welcomed her warmly. After a few minutes’ discussion, he gave her an odd look and pointed her to a table in the corner.

“I think you might fit in well here,” he said. Unwittingly, he’d changed this fledgling writer’s life.

Other members of the group trickled in, and slowly, a number of them filled in the spaces around our heroine. At first, she felt the interloper, but as their discussions filtered in, she took in the way they talked about agents and editors and deadlines and “crazy writer eyes” and plots and characters and sex scenes. She processed the awesomeness of their hair and the coolness of their shoes.

She wasn’t sure if she belonged there, but damn if she didn’t want to.

It wasn’t easy for her, but she introduced herself and began to commiserate. When the rest of the group ordered mimosas, she requested one, too.

Soon after, the speaker for the day began his presentation, and she listened with rapt interest to his discussion of writing in multiple genres. Considering her interest in contemporary and paranormal and futuristic and gay fiction, his advice that it was possible to pursue them all broke down another layer of her self-doubt.

And then the interactive portion of the workshop began.

The room full of writers of which our heroine was now a part was challenged to take on the classic tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and then to re-envision it in the genre of their choice.

A light bulb went on.

In this writer’s mind, an entire universe suddenly exploded into being. A high-tech, futuristic world where a group of three mercenaries were tied together by invisible connections hard-wired into their nervous systems. Where a brilliant young scientist stumbled into their barracks while on the run from a shadowy corporation.

While two of the members of the unit were violent to their core, the third sparked with regret. And in the eyes of the woman who had infiltrated their base, he saw salvation.

He saw love. He saw desire. He saw home.

In one afternoon, a friendship, a career and a book were born.

Here and now, it’s 2015, and tomorrow, my futuristic novel, Through The Static, hits the shelves. The original idea I had on that fateful afternoon in 2011 took some twists and turns, and it took its own damn time coming into fruition. But is that story I dreamed up on that day, and I couldn’t be happier with it.

I also couldn’t be happier with the people I met that afternoon. Among them were Elizabeth Michels, Heather McGovern, Jenna Patrick, Lori Waters, and Sydney Carroll – the very women I am honored to blog and drink and commiserate with to this very day.

I’m not exactly sure what the moral to this story is, but on the eve of the publication of this book, I felt compelled to share it with you. Perhaps the point is that you should never doubt your worth. That you never have to soldier the lonely fields of writerdom alone. Perhaps it’s that you never know when inspiration will strike.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s that amazing things can happen in your career and in your life – sometimes several amazing things can happen at once, even.

All you have to do is give them a chance to.

Through The Static is a new futuristic, erotic romance, written by Jeanette Grey and published by Samhain. Find it on  AmazonBarnes & Noble or Samhain – or add it to your shelf on goodreads.

Through The StaticThrough the Static

The only way to save him is to let him into her mind…and her heart.

When cybernetics researcher Aurelia Locke is attacked, she instantly recognizes her assailants as a Three—a mercenary unit made up of a trio of soldiers whose minds have been cybernetically linked, their pasts erased, their wills subsumed.

By the skin of her wits, she escapes to an abandoned house, where she hacks its security system in her desperation to find refuge.

Jinx is already on high alert when his Three notices something isn’t right with their safe house. But he never expected to find a woman wounded and bleeding out in his own bed, or that his visceral reaction to her would begin to awaken his lost past from a years-long haze of violence.

In a mad gamble to escape, Aurelia frees Jinx from his Three by severing his neural connection to them and tying his mind to hers. The power of their link shocks them both, manifesting not only in shared thoughts, but in an intensely passionate physical connection.

But dangerous forces pursue them, intent on reclaiming Jinx and silencing Aurelia’s knowledge. Her only chance of saving him is to risk everything—her research, her heart, and her life.

Warning: Contains manipulation of a person’s memory without his consent and brief episodes of mind control, as well as a smart girl on the run, a high-tech soul-bond, and telepathy-enhanced sex.

9 Comments

Meg Silver’s Fantasy Heights Series

WWRWThis week I’m recommending an erotic romance serial series by Meg Silver called Fantasy Heights. A word of warning here…these books are ridiculously hot. If you are offended by threesomes, bondage, voyeurism—Don’t read them.

But, if you like erotic romance, they’re a lot of fun. Each installment is a novella. The entirety of Season One (nine novellas!) is available as a box set, and Season Two is currently being released one by one. Thankfully, Ms. Silver is a fast writer, and there’s not much lag time between releases.

Meg Silver Box Set

Here’s a very brief description from Amazon:

“Season One: Jilted bank manager Amanda Tate discovers Fantasy Heights, a resort where sex and theater combine to fulfill its guests’ every fantasy. Hired as a low-bie performer, Amanda explores her sexual appetites with captivating coworkers and powerful clients. What could possibly go wrong?”

I would actually classify these as erotic romantic suspense. An underlying mystery threads through Season One and basically wraps up for our H/H, who do get an HEA at the end of S1, by the way. Season Two kicks off with a related mystery and a new heroine/hero. Although, be warned, sex has nothing to do with love in either series.

If I ruminate on the premise of the series offline, I’ll admit it’s a bit farfetched (I don’t want to say too much and give it away). However, the concept doesn’t bother me a bit while I’m reading them. I totally buy it. And, isn’t that the mark of a great writer? She sucks me into her characters’ world very effectively. While I’m on the subject, let me say that I really appreciate Ms. Silver’s voice. Her writing is crisp and descriptive without veering into purple. The books are written third person single POV of the heroine.

At the time I’m writing this recommendation, Book One of Season One, Help Wanted is free on Amazon. Also, Ms. Silver self-publishes her books, and her website is chock-full of great info for writers thinking about self-publishing. Whether you’re into erotic romance or not, she has a tutorial of handling and uploading files for the self-publishing. Check her out at www.megsilver.com

I’m normally not a serial romance fan, but I really enjoyed these and now would be a good time to binge read Season One! Hope you enjoy…

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Sex and Violence

The other day, I was sitting around, thinking about Captain America: The Winter Soldier (you know, like you do). Specifically, I was thinking about the opening fight scene, and how smart it was.

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-scarlett-johansson-chris-evansFor those of you who haven’t seen the movie (what are you doing? Stop reading this! Go! Go see it now!), the scene involves Captain America, the Black Widow, and a legion of strike commandoes rescuing a ship from modern-day pirates who are holding it and its crew hostage, awaiting a hefty ransom. Before our heroes’ plane has even reached the drop zone, Captain America is jumping out of it without a parachute. He hits the water, climbs onto the ship, and proceeds to knock at least a dozen people on their asses by way of smacking them in the head with his shield, tossing them overboard, or a combination of the two.

Note. He hits them. He punches them. He knocks them into the water. Brutally efficient. And entirely non-lethal.

We cut to the Black Widow, who takes a slightly different approach. She goes in guns blazing and shoots, garrotes, or electrocutes everyone in her path without a moment’s pause.

There’s more that happens in the scene, but let me stop right there before I give  the whole game away. Ostensibly, this is an action movie. People are in that theatre because they want to see some good, bone-crunching violence.

But what the film’s writers, directors and actors handed us was more than just a bunch of people beating each other up. They gave us character development, and they gave it to us with a nice, easy-to-swallow action movie coating of panache. We’re ten minutes into the movie and we know that Cap will get the job done, but he’ll do it with the smaller possible number of casualties, whereas Widow will shoot first and ask questions later. If ever.

Simply put, they showed it to us instead of telling it to us, and the vehicle they used to show it to us with was violence.

Look closely and you’ll see: every action sequence of the movie fills some other purpose beyond satisfying the audience’s bloodlust. One establishes character. Another raises the stakes and reveals information about the enemy. Yet another is the backdrop of the biggest reveal of the movie, and the final fight scene? I won’t give too much away, but it packed a punch, and not just a literal one. It got me in the heart. It made me feel.

And that’s why the movie is so damn good.

As a romance writer, the guilty pleasure through which I ply my trade isn’t violence (though I occasionally manage to find an opportunity to work some of that into my books, too). It’s sex.

People expect sex in a typical romance novel. They enjoy it. Who wouldn’t? It’s quite conceivably the reason they bought the book in the first place.

But here’s the thing. To make your book memorable. To make it sizzle. To make it resonate. You have to use the sex scenes you write for way more than titillation.

They have to establish character. Or reveal something about the plot. Or raise the stakes for your hero or your heroine.  They’ve gotta punch your reader right in the feels.

rightinthefeels

Otherwise, they’re boring and gratuitous. Just like an action movie that drags on and on, with pointless fight scene after pointless fight scene. It might be pleasant. But it won’t stick with you, or inspire you to write long, rambling blog posts in which you recommend the movie to your readers and friends. 🙂

Because in the end, sex and violence might sound like all you need to make a story great. But in reality, they’re just the tools you use to tell your story with. The way you use them is what makes your story great.

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Writing Short Fiction For Fun and Profit, Vol. 5: Ready To Submit?

Okay, so you’ve written a short story. You’ve found a call for submissions or a publisher that deals in shorts, and you’re ready to go. The hard part is over, right? Well, not exactly, but the process of getting it submitted doesn’t have to be torture, either.

romance short story calls for submission

In the end, querying a short story for inclusion in an anthology isn’t all that different from querying a novel. My three main pieces of advice are the same, no matter the length of your work: 1) Keep It Simple, Stupid, 2) Follow the Directions, and 3) Keep Your Head On Straight.

1) Keep It Simple, Stupid: Here’s the good news about submitting a short: it’s a short. The query letter should be similarly fun-sized. Remember, if it’s for an anthology, the editor is reading hundreds if not thousands of submissions. All they need are the basics.

Here’s a nice, basic format for a short story query letter:

Dear [Insert Editor Name Here]:

[Title of Story] is a completed, [word count] word short story, written with [name of anthology] in mind.

[One short paragraph about the premise of the story. Hook the editor in. Make it enticing, like a mini-blurb for the back cover of a book. Two to three sentences, max.]

[One short paragraph about you, including your real name and your pen name. Include any publication credits you already have. If you don’t have any, referring to yourself as “a working writer” is a delicate way of saying you’re still working on it. This is good place to mention your memberships in any writing organizations. It is not a good time to bring up the name of your pet or that you’re desperate for money or that your story is JUST PERFECT for this anthology. Just the facts. Keep it simple. Again, two to three sentences, max.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
[Your real name]
[all of your contact information]

Simple, right?

Before you ask, yes, you do need to write a query letter. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, paste it into the body of your email, preferably as plain text. Ta-da!

2) Follow the Directions: Most editors for anthologies will tell you exactly what they want. Give it to them.

  • If they ask for your story as an attachment, send it as an attachment. If they specify a preferred file format, send it in that format. (If they don’t, .doc or .rtf are your safest bets.) If they ask for the story to be pasted into the body of the email, for goodness’s sake, paste it into the body of the email.
  • They have almost certainly specified a word count range. Follow it. Again, this poor editor is reading a ton of submissions. If you’re outside the requested word count range, it’s the quickest, easiest rejection that editor will ever have to send.

3) Keep Your Head On Straight: Remember, it’s just a short story. It probably wasn’t a huge investment of your time to write, and if it isn’t chosen, it is not the end of the world. If you’re patient, you can probably submit it to a different call someday if an appropriate one comes along, or you can always post it as a free read on your website, which is great for promotion.

Also, a rejection is not necessarily a reflection on the quality of the story or on your writing. The editor’s job is not just to pick great stories—it’s also to assemble a seamless, cohesive collection of stories. If your piece isn’t a good fit for the way the anthology is shaping up, or if it is too similar to another story the editor has already chosen, it might not make the cut, no matter how wonderful it is. (Veteran editor Rachel Kramer Bussel has a very nice article about this, which you may find enlightening.)

Hopefully, these tips will help you get your story ready to submit and give you the guts to click that big scary ‘send’ button.

And in case you still haven’t found any good opportunities to try your hand at short fiction, here are a couple calls for submission for romance short stories and novellas that caught my eye this week:

Holiday Magic with Scandalous
Publisher: Entangled
Submission Deadline: July 15, 2013
Guidelines: Any winter themed holiday historical romance taking place from 900-1949 with a word count between 10,000-20,000.
More Info

Commanding Desire: Military Erotic Romance
Editor: Kristina Wright
Publisher: Cleis Press
Submission Deadline: September 1, 2013
Guidelines: Erotic romance involving a military hero. 2,500-4,500 words, primarily heterosexual pairings with a female audience in mind.
More Info

Happy writing!

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Bigger Isn’t Always Better, or Writing Short Fiction For Fun And Profit, Volume 4: A Foot In The Door

short-fiction2

Those long, lonely, rejection-letter-filled nights, have you ever thought to yourself, “Gah! If only I knew what these people wanted from me!”

Here’s a tip: when publishers put out calls for submission, they’re telling you just that.

As you may or may not know, I got my foot in the door with one of my dream publishers, Samhain, by answering a call for submission. In the end, the novella I wrote wasn’t selected for the collection I submitted it for, but an acquiring editor took an interest anyway. A couple months later, I had a contract in hand for a single-title release. I also had a relationship with a great press, and I’m in the beginning stages of working on my third title with them.

If you’re interested in getting your foot in the door with a specific publisher, take a peek and see if they have any editor-wish-lists on their site or any open calls for submission. The call might not be for the manuscript you currently have in your hand, ready for querying. They might be looking for something shorter, or something on a different theme. But here’s the thing: keep the long game in mind. If they like your submission for the special call, it opens the door for being able to talk with them about your other work, too.

Quality romance and erotica publishers like Samhain, Ellora’s Cave, Carina and Entangled all put out calls from time to time. Even Avon has been known to. Whoever you’re looking to publish with, keep an eye open and an ear to the ground, because you never know when an opportunity will arise.

Current calls for submission for short fiction in romance and erotica (click link for further submission details):

Couples’ Erotic Romance Stories
Due
: June 1, 2013
Word count: 1,500-4,000 words
Publisher: Cleis
Theme: The guidelines are pretty flexible, with a preference for heterosexual couples and contemporary settings

Best Women’s Erotica 2014
Due: July 1, 2013
Word count: 2,500-4,500 words
Publisher: Cleis
Theme: Again, . guidelines are wide open, so long as the story is sexy and focused on a female, primarily heterosexual audience.

Paramour (Valentines 2014)
Due
: August 1, 2013
Word count: 15,000-20,000 words
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Theme: May-December romances featuring an older woman and a younger man.

Heartwarming
Due
: August 1, 2013
Word count: 5,000-18,000 words
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Theme: Male/male stories centered around the winter holidays

One Night In…
Due
: open call
Word count: 10,000-40,000 words
Publisher: Entangled
Theme: Contemporary romances that start out as ‘one night only’ affairs. Open to pairings of any orientation.

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Giving Birth…To A Book (Happy Book Birthday to Me + A Giveaway)

Right off the bat, let me get this out there: I am not a mom. I have never had children. I have never given birth.

That said, Tuesday was release day for my new erotic contemporary, Take What You Want, and so many wonderful people were kind enough to wish me a “Happy Book Birthday” on the occasion. And it occurred to me as I was smiling at those much-appreciated good tidings, that, well, yeah. It was my book’s birth day.

And damn did I ever feel like I had just finished going through labor.

Since we talk plainly here at BGW, I thought it might be helpful to people just starting this journey to get a sense of what’s involved. Warnings: it will take longer than nine months. It will hurt. And no one will give you an epidural. Also, this is just my experience with this particular book. Depending on your luck and your publisher, your results may vary.

December 2011: Conception – Much like with real baby-making, this was the fun part. Rather than picking up a guy at a bar, I picked up a random writing prompt off some web site somewhere, which suggested writing a story about a “spring fling”. Sadly, I’d never had a spring fling, but the prompt got my wheels turning. A character popped into my head, followed swiftly by another. A conflict, a twist, an idea for a first sex scene. Eureka! And I was off and running.

January-March 2012: First trimester – Plot bunny and loose outline firmly in hand, I started writing, writing, writing. I was a little tired, a little nauseated from time to time when I looked at my rough draft, but basically I was doing okay. Writing is fun! Except when it’s work. But mostly it’s fun. And work. And fun. Fun work!

March 2012: First ultrasound – Sent this bad boy to my critique partners. Found out it had two eyes and nose, and was generally healthy, but there was room for improvement. Finished some important rewrites, did some polishing, formatted it up, and got it submission-ready.

April 2012-May 2012: Second trimester begins – Now, I’m skipping a couple of steps here because I’m already published, and I love my editor and my publisher to death, so I decided to go with them again. I put together a query letter and a synopsis (yes, even when you already have a relationship with a publisher, they often still want these things so they can get an idea of what the book is about before diving into the pages), and I sent it off. And then I waited. (Editors are busy, folks. Patience is key in this game.)

May-June 2012: First kick! – My editor loved the story. Huzzah! She sent me an offer, I signed a contract, and we got busy working on the official blurb for the book and putting in our request for cover art.

Sepember-October 2012: Third trimester begins – Edits. Edits edits edits. Multiple rounds of them, both with my editor and with a proofreader. Things start to get uncomfortable, but it’s okay, because look! It’s a Final Line Edit! And then a galley proof! And oh my God! This is really going to happen!

December 2012-March 2013: Final preparations / packing a go-bag – With an Advance Review Copy (ARC) and a firm release date in hand, I went about lining up promotional plans. This means asking book bloggers for reviews and contacting other authors and book bloggers to ask if they’d be willing to host me for a guest post. It’s sort of like cold-calling, with the one consolation that at least I know the people I’m contacting are vaguely interested in what I’m selling. Maybe a third of people say yes. It’s a little disheartening, but that’s okay. Things are in motion!

Early March 2013: The calm before the storm – Any minute now. Any minute now. This baby is due and it’s coming out whether I’m ready or not. The anticipation is killing me!

March 12, 2013: Book Birthday!!! – It finally happens. The book comes out. I tweet like mad, put finishing touches on guest posts, and then sit back and bite my nails, hoping to high heaven that everyone else thinks that damn thing is as adorable as I do. It’s a proud, proud, nerve-wracking moment.

And I wouldn’t give it up for all the world.

And now for some shameless promo:

TakeWhatYouWant72lgTake What You Want by Jeanette Grey

She needs an escape…and he’s exactly what she had in mind.

College senior Ellen Price spends every spare minute studying to get into medical school. Until spring break yawns before her, as empty as her wallet.

With no money to hit the beach, she fills her empty to-do list with a plan: for just one week, she will become the kind of take-no-prisoners woman she secretly wishes to be, starting with the hot guy at the bar. It’s a no-risk situation: at the end of break, he’ll head back to his campus, and she’ll go back to hers. No muss, no fuss.

At first, Josh Markley isn’t sure what to think when the quiet, intense beauty from his pre-med classes approaches him for a night of casual sex. Even more mystifying, she doesn’t seem to return his recognition. But if she wants to play “strangers in a bar”, he’s game.

Their passionate night is a welcome respite from life’s stress, but afterward, Josh realizes he wants more—from himself, from life, from Ellen. Except she still thinks he’s a one-off she’ll never see again. Confessing the truth now—before she figures it out on her own—could shatter the fragile beginnings of just what the doctor ordered. A forever love.

Warning: Contains mistaken identities, a sometimes-glasses-wearing hottie, deep questions about figuring out what you want from life, and a red-hot college romance.

Buy it now: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Samhain

To celebrate, I’m giving away one $10 gift card to your choice of either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. To enter, do what RaffleCopter tells you to. A winner will be randomly selected on Tuesday. Happy book birthday to me, and best of luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Bad Girl For A Day: Jenna McCormick – “Work-Life Balance”

Jen head Shot

            Thanks for having me here, Bad Girlz! Always a pleasure to chill with you. And man, I need to chill in the worst way.

       No Mercy     In 2012 I wrote 365,000 keeper words. That translates into four full length novels and one novella. I e-published one book, serialized another with monthly releases and the rest were sold to my publisher with accompanying deadlines. Writing, editing, promoting, maintaining two public profiles, along with my indie imprint, Captiva Heart. Running the Sanibel Moon website, twitter feed, facebook page as well as critiquing and beta reading for other writers. Somebody order me a mimosa, stat!

            In some ways, it was my best year ever. Sales went up, my production way up. I just released the final installment of my Caught Up In You serial on January 2 and have one of my all-time favorite heroes, Zan the Space Pirate’s book, No Mercy coming out later this month and my first anthology in March. I traveled the galaxies in my own mind, visited alien worlds and got up to some kinky hijinx with Daisy Dominatrix and Baily and Connor from the Edgeplay serial.


Daisy

            Unfortunately, I now feel like something stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe. Part of it is the sedentary nature of what I do, but the other part was me, pushing too hard and not stopping to smell the roses. Since October I’ve been rehabilitating my neck and shoulder, which is all jacked up from way too much time hunched over my keyboard. The monthly trip to the chiropractor wasn’t enough to offset the damage I was doing with my crazy schedule.

            The repetitive injury drove one point home. Something’s gotta give. And if I don’t choose what now, that something will be my neck snapping like a twig. Having pre-arthritic symptoms at thirty three bites, but not as much as being unable to function ten years down the road will.

            So my New Year’s resolution for 2013 was to achieve a work-life balance. The first step was to get my priorities in order. Caught up in you part1

  1. Health—involving cardio as well as stretching exercise and adjusting my diet. Healthy meals take longer to make. It’s time consuming but I’ve got places to go and pounds to lose, so it’s a necessary evil.
  2. Family— I’m fortunate that I don’t have to have a day job. But I still have two very active little boys and a husband that deserve some of my time and attention. Not to mention the world’s neediest beagle.
  3. Writing— In saner doses. One to three thousand words a day including blogging, promotion, tweets, Facebook posts and all that. Just like the diet, I’m sure I’ll have moments where I’ll cheat on this, but overall, I’m determined to keep it within reason. And to take actual breaks throughout the day, of the up and moving around kind, not the facebook kind. I’ve got three books planned out for the year, none with immediate deadlines, which takes some of the pressure off.
  4. Everything else—This is the something that is going to give. The time vampires like Facebook, Twitter, yahoo groups and online forums that deplete my reserves. The in-person commitments too. Yes, I want to repaint the living room but not at the cost of any of the above.

            I know this won’t be easy. It’s going to take dedication and commitment on my part. Then again, so does writing a book. And I’ve managed to do that a few times so I know I’m up for it.

            So tell me, have you managed to achieve a work-life balance yet? And how’s it working out for you? One random commenter, chosen by the Bad Girlz, will receive a free ebook in Kindle, Nook or PDF format from my backbreaking backlist. Happy New Year and happy reading!

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Bad Girl For A Day: Jessica Lee – “Women Write M/M Romance?”

 

Over the past couple of years, I’ve received that started response many times. Why would a woman want to read or write gay romance? I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of gay men who read and write them as well, but there’s also a large population of heterosexual women writing and filling their ereaders with the genre. Still, there are just as many who have yet to hear about us.

Not too long ago, I talked about a trip I made to Starbucks for a little writing time. While there, I received another a shocked expression followed by “Why would women want to read that?”

I asked myself the same question the first time I learned of the popularity of the books. How could I connect to the characters when neither are a woman? I had to see for myself what all the buzz was about. So I set out to find a few free reads by a popular m/m author. Then I downloaded a novella I’d heard had been very well received, and I dove inside to educate myself. When I finally emerged from the pages, I have to say…I totally got it.

The writing was great, and to my surprise, even though a woman wasn’t in the picture, I could totally get why they loved each other. I’m a woman who loves men. Why wouldn’t I relate?

In fact, as a female reader of m/m romance, I get to fall in love with two men instead of one! Bonus!

That was over two years ago and many downloads later.

Since then, I’ve been asked more than once what is it you like about m/m romance? I’ve given the question a lot of consideration and have tried to nail down what the draw is all about. The best way I can describe it for me is it’s sort of like being given an exclusive backstage pass to an event that as a woman you would never receive an invitation.

The stories are provocative. And as I read along, I feel very special to be allowed behind the closed doors of two gorgeous men lives, witnessing their deepest emotions, their angst, how they fall in love, and how they love each other.

If you haven’t picked up your first m/m romance yet, give it a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you find, and you’ll be coming back for more.

To those of you who have already indulged in the genre, who was your first? What book has made a lasting impression with characters you’ll never forget?

Thank you so much Bad Girlz for allowing me to stop by! You rock!

I’d like to offer a digital copy of Bloodlines: A KinKaid Wolf Pack Story to a randomly chosen commenter.

For an alpha male wolf shifter promised to a female whose goal is to one day be queen, coming out has never been more explosive.

Evin KinKaid, the only son of the KinKaid pack’s alpha, has a secret. One that will tear his family apart. In one year, Evin is to succeed his father as alpha and continue the dominant bloodline of his family. There’s only one problem: Evin is gay. When Evin is pushed into the bed of his intended female mate, he’s forced to reveal the truth. And for an alpha male wolf shifter promised to a female whose goal is to one day be queen, coming out has never been more explosive.

To Mason Thorne II, heir to Thorne Global Inc., life is a lie. To sustain his father’s love, Mason has agreed to stay in the family business and to one day assume his place as CEO. Instead of reaching for his heart’s desire, he’s settled for a life he never wanted. But an unexpected auto accident will send Evin and Mason into each other’s arms and down a path toward a destiny neither man can escape: an eternity sealed in blood.

 

You can find out more information about Jessica Lee and her other available titles through the following sites:

Website: www.jessicaleenovels.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jessicaleeauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jessleenovels

Buy links for Bloodlines:

Amazon:

Barnes and Noble:

ARe:

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Bigger Isn’t Always Better, or Writing Short Fiction for Fun and Profit, Volume 2

As I’ve mentioned before, writing short stories and novellas can be a great way to jumpstart your muse, refine your craft, build a readership and augment your writer resume.

But if you’re thinking about wading into the short fiction market, where should you start?

Finding General Calls for Submission

A google search is an obvious place to begin. Try searching ‘calls for submission’ and add something about your genre. You’ll likely find a lot of options, including some that pay professional rates (better than a penny a word), some that pay…less than professional rates (anything at all), some that are kind enough to at least throw you a bone (a complimentary author copy of the collection) and some that are, ahem, just for fun. Depending on your motives, any of these may be worthwhile.

There are also some great databases and email discussion loops out there focused solely on listing calls for submission for short fiction. Duotrope and Absolute Write have entries for all genres and all pay scales, and the Creative Writers Opportunities List on Yahoo! Groups is a reliable source of information that I’ve been subscribed to for years.

Special Focus: Calls for Submission in Romance and Erotic Romance

You’ll probably have the most success looking for places to query your short stories if you get to know your genre. My genre happens to be romance, and the hotter the better, so that’s where I’m most knowledgeable. I frequently scout sites such as the Erotica Readers Association. I also check out the individual pages for publishers I know to be in need of short fiction, such as Xcite Books, Total E-bound, and Dreamspinner Press.

And lucky for you, I also happen to collect calls for submission and share them with my Bad Girlz.

Here are a few that may interest you, all with deadlines in the next couple of months:

Dressed to Impress: Outfits for Special Occasions and Steamy Liaisons
Mischief Books
~4000 words
Submission Deadline: November 1, 2012

The Baby Is A Secret!
Avon Impulse
20,000-25,000 words
Submission Deadline: November 15, 2012

How could he not know? After all, he’s the father of a child…but he doesn’t, because it’s been kept a secret from him—sometimes for years. Now it’s your chance to put your own twist on the ever-popular, ever-perplexing ‘secret baby story.  We’re looking for short contemporary novellas, 20-25,000 words that will convince us that a baby really can be kept a secret!

Snow On The Roof
Dreamspinner Press
3,500 – 12,000 words, Male/Male pairing
Submission Deadline: November 19, 2012

“Just because there’s snow on the roof, doesn’t mean the fire’s gone out in the furnace.”  There’s something to be said for maturity and experience, and in all of these relationships, at least one of the lovers is over forty.  Whether it’s a May/December romance, a second chance at love, or finding a soul mate later in life, these stories prove that it’s never too late for love.

Editor’s Note: At least one of the couple must be age 40+.

Hopefully those get you thinking! From time to time, I’ll update you on additional opportunities in the genres of romance and erotic romance, but in the meantime, don’t let that keep you from hunting down your own.

 

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