Tag Archive | Writing

Sneak peek into the sequel to Me, Cinderella?

Hey everybody, I’ve been busy writing! Here’s a little sneak peek into the sequel to Me, Cinderella? which should be finished in the next month or two.

***

Snow covered the trees and made them silent, the sun filtering through the branches thinly to the frosted ground. The only sound in my dream was the call of a bird echoing through the forest. It faded away. I heard a branch break and turned around, but there was nothing there.

I looked down and saw my shadow, the tracks from where my shoes had marked the ground coming through the woords. Footsteps in the snow do not leave a permanent trail, I thought to myself, no more than breadcrumbs. Eliot would not be able to follow me.

A chill ran through my arms and I rubbed my finger against my palms to warm them. I looked down again and there was another shadow, bigger than mine, from something just behind me. I tried to spin around but I was frozen in place. In dreams, that is always the most frightening part—not being able to control your own body. Not being able to move a muscle, your limbs sluggish and limp, your whole being aching to move but not being able to.

As I watched the shadow grow larger, the entire forest seemed to darken. The footsteps I had left began to turn darker, and I realized that they were full of blood, blood that seeped up from the ground and overflowed, turning into a stream that ran scarlet over my feet. I felt the blood soaking into my shoes, and then I heard my mother scream.

“Help!”

It was her voice, it was the thing I remembered most clearly. Her voice that always used to tell me stories and sing me to sleep.

“Help!”

From behind me, a hand grabbed my arm, and I shrieked. My arms lashed out at the dark figure above me.

“Brynn,” Eliot said. His shirt was undone, his hair tousled. His hand wrapped around my wrist, holding it gently but firmly.

Ahhh!” I cried.

“You had a nightmare. It’s okay,” he said.

“Eliot? Eliot?” My thoughts were a jumble. At first my instinct was to flee away, into the woods, but then I blinked and I was back in the dim light of my room, the canopied bed over me.

“I heard you cry out,” he said. “I was working in the study. Are you alright?”

I sobbed as he pulled me against his chest to soothe me. My nightshirt was soaked in sweat, and even in the summer heat I felt the chill of the snow in my dream.

“It was her,” I said. “He got my mom. He got her again. And I couldn’t see anything, not even who it was.”

“Shhh,” Eliot said, pressing kisses top my head. His lips were as light as sparrows. “It’s okay now. I’m here. I’m with you.”

“I don’t want to dream again,” I said. He rocked me slightly as I murmured the words against his bare chest. “I don’t ever want to have those dreams. I want it all to go away.”

“It will,” Eliot said consolingly. “It just takes time. It will always take time for things to go back to normal.”

“Let me sleep with you,” I blurted out. “I mean, in your bed.”

Eliot seemed taken aback.

“Of—of course,” he said. “I just thought you needed your space.”

“I’m scared,” I said. I felt foolish, stupid. Like a small child, needing to be comforted. I hated this feeling. I wanted to be strong, like the goddesses of legend. I wanted to be independent. I didn’t want to have to lean on anyone for comfort. But here I was, leaning against Eliot yet again. He was always my savior.

“Anything you want,” Eliot said. He brought my hands up to his lips, kissed my fingers. “You’re my princess, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” I whispered. “And you’re my prince.”

***

Sign up for my mailing list if you want to be notified as soon as the sequel arrives!

I Just Turned Down a Publishing Deal with Amazon

Holy butts, Batman! One of Montlake’s editors (the Amazon romance imprint) emailed me last week:

I wanted to reach out to you because I read Me, Cinderella? and thought it was fantastic. Do you have a few minutes this week to chat on the phone? I’d love to know more about the rights to your wonderful novel and tell you about our imprint.

Naturally, I was thrilled. A real publisher wanted my work! I chatted with her briefly on the phone and asked her a ton of questions: What kind of cover would they create for me? What promotions would they do? What control would I have over everything? Although I was excited to work with Amazon, I wanted to know that they would treat my book right. She told me my novel was a great read and very clean writing, and that she would love to “partner” with me in relaunching my book through Amazon’s imprint.

However, she couldn’t guarantee anything – from cover image to pricing to marketing. The advance they offered was less than I had made in my first month of sales. As I looked through the Montlake catalogue, I saw a mix of breakout hits and complete flops, with some recent books that just had the worst covers imaginable for romance. And I would have to pull my book from every publisher except Amazon.

It was hard for me to say no. Ever since I was a little girl I’d dreamed about being a ‘published author‘.  However, I needed to make the best decision for my book and for my fans. I realized that although the praise from the editor boosted my ego, the praise that really matters comes from my readers. They are the ones who’ll make or break my books, and I want to make sure that I’m always doing the right thing by them.  If I mess up, I want it to be something I can fix. I’m a control freak like that.

So sorry, Amazon. It’s not you, it’s me.

***

ME, CINDERELLA?

MeCinderella2

Me, Cinderella? is out now on Amazon / Barnes and Noble

***

edit: I wanted to reply to this comment, since I realized that the cover links might be misinterpreted.

“However, I think your blog does give one fairy serious piece of misinformation.

None of those covers you link to are Montlake covers. All of the covers linked to are former Avalon books which Montlake bought the rights to. No, they didn’t put the money into re-doing the covers. Should they have? Perhaps or maybe the readers of the old Avalon books would look for the old covers. I really don’t know.”

I did realize that those were all books from the same old publisher, though I wasn’t sure Amazon hadn’t already redone all of the covers with a new (crappy) designer. However, when I raised that concern with the editor (and specifically about the books from Avalon), she said she wasn’t able to guarantee anything about the covers. That gave me great pause, although I realize now the covers were from older editions.

My bust, Montlake. But hey, you’re publishing books with crappy covers under your imprint, whether or not you plan to redo them later. Maybe don’t publish something until it’s ready to be published… that’s the first thing they teach you in self-publishing school 😉

Of course, I linked the worst offenders in my post – many of Montlake’s covers look just fine. However, I combed through a lot of the Montlake books, and while there were a lot of good traditional romance covers, there were very few “New Adult” – style looking covers. And my main character Brynn is a curvy girl – and most of the Montlake covers have very thin women on them. As a writer of BBW romance, I’m acutely aware of the limited amount of cover material available to us and I DO NOT want a thin girl on my cover.

There were so many factors going into this decision that I didn’t mention in my original post, and perhaps I would be remiss in not adding them. Pricing was a major major issue – I couldn’t do a ton of promotional stuff I had planned if I couldn’t control pricing, and Amazon gives no say in how they price their work. This deal was Kindle-only, so I wouldn’t be getting the benefits of paperback publishing, which to me is one of the greater advantages of a traditional publishing deal.

I contacted quite a few Montlake authors to ask about their experiences. Many of them said they had a good experience but would not be publishing again with Montlake, and I talked as well to authors who had turned down Montlake deals for similar reasons. I also discussed the offer with a literary agent from a major agency who helped guide me through my decision, and while she would have profited from me making the deal with Montlake, her advice guided me towards a clear “no”.

This was not an easy decision by far, and while it may come back to bite me in the butt, I would rather take the chance on letting my fans promote me instead of Amazon. I think in the long run that’s the right decision for me.

New Release! New Adult Romance Novel “Me, Cinderella?” Out Now!!!

Guys… oh my god, you guys… it’s out!

I have been working on this for quite a while now…

IMG_20130623_172707

and I’ve gotten a lot of help – thank you so much to my beta readers and my editors, without whom I would be lost in this muck of a manuscript…

IMG_20130623_172237

But I’ve hit the publish button and it’s on sale (for only 99 cents! woohoo!)… and there’s only one thing I can say while celebrating the finish to my first new adult romance novel:

MeCinderellacheers

p.s. buy it now 😉

Me, Cinderella?

For all of you wanting new stories, I’ve been hard at work on a novel that I’m releasing before July as part of the Insatiable Reads Book Tour. It’s called Me, Cinderella? and I’m very, VERY excited about it. For those of you who have read any of my Big Girl books, the story follows Shannon’s roommate Brynn all the way to Budapest. It’s almost done and I’m going to spend the next month editing like crazy. Eeek! Can you tell I’m excited? 😉

 

MeCinderella2

One kind deed can change your life forever…

Brynn Tomlin could never afford to follow her heart. But when she sees a stranger shivering in the snow outside of the college library, an inexplicable urge leads her to buy him a hot cup of coffee. It’s just a small act of kindness, a few words of conversation. Brynn should be focusing on her finals, after all, not on the man who looked up at her gratefully with piercing blue eyes.

He could have been anyone – a janitor on break, a graduate student, a bum. But the man standing outside in the cold turns out to be Dr. Eliot Herceg, one of the most brilliant minds in mathematics and heir to a fortune. After years of reclusive isolation, he now finds his heart awakening to the kind girl whose name he does not know.

Brynn has spent her life trying to forget her desires, and Eliot’s deep wounds have taken nearly a decade to heal. After so much hurt, will either of them be able to open their hearts again?

New Release! Big Girl Playing in Paris

Sexy young woman

BIG GIRL PLAYING IN PARIS

She’ll follow the man of her dreams halfway across the world.

Shannon can’t wait a whole semester to go and see Julian on tour in Europe. She devises a plan to arrive early and surprise him. But the surprise she gets is not the one she’s hoping for.

He’s dealing with his loneliness the only way he knows how.

Julian has spent his life battling against his alcohol addiction. Now that Shannon isn’t around, there’s nothing to keep him away from that temptation. Without her, he spirals down into a desperate oblivion.

Can love mend two broken people when their faith in each other is shattered?

EXCERPT:

Julian reached up and brushed a lock of red hair behind her ear. His fingers tickled slightly, and she winced.

“Shannon, there is nobody I’d rather be with than you. But you said yourself that this was an important semester.”

It was true. Shannon had a big photography project due to her advisor by the end of the semester, the beginning of her senior thesis to outline, and a ton of other stuff to get done. But now Julian was going to be in Europe on tour with Wilder Side, her roommate Brynn was leaving to go to an internship in Budapest. Shannon had never felt so alone in her life. So abandoned.

“I don’t want you to go without me,” she said, tears spilling over her dark red lashes. “I don’t want to be apart.”

“We’ll still be touring when you go on break,” Julian said. “I’ll buy you tickets to fly out then. It’s not that long to wait.”

“It’s long enough.” Shannon knew Julian was right, but she didn’t have to like it.

“Then we’ll just have to make the most of our time before I leave.” Julian kissed the side of her neck and slid one hand along the bottom edge of her skirt, sending a thrill of excitement down Shannon’s body. God, he was incredibly sexy. She pretended to resist, leaning away as he moved to kiss her again.

“Oh, so it’s like that, huh?” Julian teased.

“Maybe,” Shannon said.

“Maybe I’ll just have to tie you up and take you anyway I want,” Julian said. A wide grin spread over his face. How could she be mad at him when he looked at her with such desire in his eyes?

“Maybe,” she said, wiggling happily as he clasped one arm tightly around her waist.

“Fine, then,” Julian said. He swept the suitcase to the floor with his free arm, sending her clothes flying everywhere.

“Julian!”

“Shannon!”

Shannon could only gasp as his strong arms picked her up and threw her bodily across the bed. She rolled to one side but he pinned her shoulders down with his hands.

Julian!”

“Sorry, you asked for it.” He kissed her throat, tickling the base of her neck with his breath. Tremors ran through her body and she felt herself become instantly wet as he darted his tongue out to her skin. Oh god.

Julian touched her like no other man had ever touched her before. His hands possessed her, claimed her, moved her in a way she hadn’t even imagined could be possible. Even a light stroke of his fingers along her thigh sent her into a dizziness that took her a half hour to overcome. And now he was moving his mouth along her collarbone, his teeth gently biting down on her skin, then retreating. It was too much for her body to handle.

“Julian, please,” she said.

“That’s a good girl,” he whispered in her ear.

***

Available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for only $0.99 for the next week!

Sample Sunday! Upcoming Big Girl Book 4…

It’s sample Sunday in my world when I finish a scene! Check out my new BBW romance book in the Big Girl series:

***

“You can’t just quit school!”

“Why not?”

“Because you can’t!”

“That’s some very interesting logical reasoning you have there, Julian.” Shannon crossed her arms.

“Because if you quit, you’ll never get your degree.”

“I’ll just take a year off! Not even a year! A semester! Only one semester.”

“Look, I know how this happens,” Julian said. “You say that now, and then you’ll say it again next year—”

“Just because your mom didn’t go back to school doesn’t mean I won’t,” Shannon snapped.

Julian’s silent fuming filled the small room. Shannon’s suitcase lay on the bed, half-packed.

“You asked me to come with you,” Shannon said, her voice lowering dangerously. Her fury was beginning to match her disappointment.

“I want you to come,” Julian said. “But I wasn’t thinking. This is more important.”

“You don’t get to decide what’s more important!” Shannon threw a shirt across the room, where it hit the wall and fell softly to the floor.

“Well, that was anticlimactic,” Julian said matter-of-factly. “You should try a glass vase next time.”

“Straight at your dumb head.” Shannon plopped down next to her suitcase, tears filling her eyes.

Julian came over and wrapped his arms around her.

“Shannon, I’m sorry,” Julian said. “I wasn’t thinking when I opened my big mouth. But I don’t want you to quit school just to follow my stupid band around.”

“I’m going to tell Alex you called Wilder Side stupid,” Shannon said, wiping her eyes.

“Then he’ll kick me out of the band and nobody will get to go to Europe,” Julian teased. “Hey, hey. Shannon. Look at me.”

Shannon blinked hard. Julian reached up and brushed a lock of red hair behind her ear. His fingers tickled slightly, and she winced.

“Shannon, there is nobody I’d rather be with than you. But you said yourself that this was an important semester.”

It was true. Shannon had a big photography project due to her advisor by the end of the semester, the beginning of her senior thesis to outline, and a ton of other stuff to get done. But now Julian was going to be in Europe on tour with Wilder Side, her roommate Brynn was leaving to go to an internship in Budapest. Shannon had never felt so alone in her life. So abandoned.

“I don’t want you to go without me,” she said, tears spilling over her dark red lashes. “I don’t want to be apart.”

“We’ll still be touring when you go on break,” Julian said. “I’ll buy you tickets to fly out then. It’s not that long to wait.”

“It’s long enough.” Shannon knew Julian was right, but she didn’t have to like it.

“Then we’ll just have to make the most of our time before I leave.” Julian kissed the side of her neck and slid one hand along the bottom edge of her skirt, sending a thrill of excitement down Shannon’s body. God, he was incredibly sexy. She pretended to resist, leaning away as he moved to kiss her again.

“Oh, so it’s like that, huh?” Julian teased.

“Maybe,” Shannon said.

“Maybe I’ll just have to tie you up and take you anyway I want,” Julian said. A wide grin spread over his face. How could she be mad at him when he looked at her with such desire in his eyes?

“Maybe,” she said, wiggling happily as he clasped one arm tightly around her waist.

“Fine, then,” Julian said. He swept the suitcase to the floor with his free arm, sending her clothes flying everywhere.

Julian!”

***

Eeek, I love these characters! Okay, so I’m working on a novel at the same time, which means the new Big Girl book won’t be out for another week or two at least. But don’t worry – it’s coming! (and so is Shannon, haha)

If you haven’t checked it out already, the first book in this series is only $0.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Thanks for reading, and leave a review if you like the story – it helps me know what to write more of!

Sneak Peek at Big Girl 3: Rocking in the Sunshine

Coming…. very soon 🙂

***

“Sorry, emergency,” the guard said. “Can’t let anyone back here.”

“I’m with the band,” Shannon said, yelling so that the guard could hear her over the roar of the crowd. “What emergency?”

The guard shrugged and let her in. She saw Pat just inside the hallway.

“What’s happening?” she asked, breathless. “They said there was an emergency.”

“It’s a PR emergency,” the manager said, his forehead beaded with sweat. He was texting someone on his cell phone, his thumbs moving rapid-fire on the keys.

“Where’s Julian?”

“They’re all in Alex’s room,” Pat said, pointing his thumb back at the door marked Alex Wilder before going back to his texts. “You probably don’t want to go in there.”

“What? Why not?”

“It’s nothing. Alex is just a bit worked up.”

Something heavy crashed against the dressing room door from inside, and Shannon’s eyes widened.

“Alright, he’s a lot worked up.”

***