English Majors Unite!

The other day there was a bit of a kerfuffle on Twitter. I know, quelle surprise!

A very successful writer was asked for a bit of advice from a young fan as a new English Major.

The writer’s response? English Major = “Do you want fries with that?”

I mean.

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She told the fan to get a degree in something that would get them a lucrative job and write on the side.

Yeah. Sure. Some people totally do that. But to completely belittle the fan’s already chosen path while also tearing down the service industry? REALLY?

You won’t be surprised to find out that I, myself, was an English Major. I have a loverly BA in English with a concentration on Creative Writing. A major I created myself because it didn’t exist at my school at the time. I was very lucky that my adviser was also the department chair at the time so getting it approved wasn’t quite the battle it could have been.

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I am damn proud of my degree. I have both dyslexia and dyscalculia. Believe me, getting dyslexia under control has been much easier than my dsycalculia–there was no way I was going to be a math or science or business major. But guess what? As a self-published writer, I am running my own business. My husband also runs his own business, but I also help with that. I run the office for both of us. And my degree helped me, believe it or not.

English degrees teach you critical thinking, creative solutions, and so much more.

Now, do you need an English Degree to be a writer? Of course not. I know many writers who are also something else. Writing isn’t paying the bills just yet for them. But it might some day.

Did I need an English Degree to be a writer? To be a good one, yes.

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I can say with a little confidence that I had “raw talent” when I was younger. When I got to be creative with my English assignments, I always did well. I actually remember my senior English AP teacher writing “I can’t wait to see what happens next!” on a paper I turned in. It was an amazing feeling. I really thought I could write. I thought I was a good story teller.

Then I went to college.

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I had professors who were published novelists and playwrights and poets.

And they let me know raw talent wasn’t enough then and it wouldn’t be enough in the future. They tore my papers apart. I had one professor (the aforementioned adviser) who knew I was turning in the first drafts of papers and would automatically deduct a full letter grade because of it. I went to him, demanding to know why I kept getting B’s on my papers and he told me. He told me even if the paper was an A on the first try, that just told him the second try would be that much better.

My poetry was ridiculous. It was flowery and vague, like I didn’t want my reader to know what I was talking about. My professor shredded my poems until I learned to paint a damn picture that he could see.

I am the writer I am today because of the lessons those professors gave me. It was well worth the time and money. Maybe I would have gotten to that point as an English Minor, or just taking a couple of classes for fun, who knows? But I know being an English Major changed my life and I am damn grateful for it.

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Do you need to be an English Major to be a successful writer? Of course not. Or maybe you do. None of us are the same. Some of us need the instruction, some of us don’t. Some of us will write a NYT bestseller in our 20s and others will do so in their golden years. You are special and different and need to decide what is right for you. Don’t let some random person–even if they are a NYT bestseller themselves–tell you what is the right path for you.

Oh, by the way, I was a waitress all through college. It was the most thankless, degrading job I’ve ever had and I worked in insurance after college. Never tear down the service industry. Customers are assholes and service industry people are overworked and treated like shit every day. Everyone should have to wait tables on Mother’s day, or run a cashier over the holidays. People would be far, far nicer and learn some damn manners.

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Now. Thanks to that English degree, I’m putting out my 16th novel (under this name), and it is up for pre-order now! If you were a fan of my Ash & Ruin Trilogy, this is a companion novel, maybe you’d like to take a peek?

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Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Kobo Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | ibooks

 

My Muse: New Orleans

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Last week we had an adventure. (“We” meaning me and the family.) We spent the week in New Orleans, and I’ll tell you what, I love that city. I love the history. I love the people. I love that there are so many layers and nooks and crannies and things to play with – especially when it comes to writing.

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Urn at Lafayette No. 1

Plot bunnies are easy, you know? I pretty regularly stumble over ideas that could make a decent story. Some you’ll get to read, but most never get off the dream list. The tricky part is figuring out the right setting, the one place that’ll make the story pop.

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Paddle wheeler on the Mighty Mississippi

I have to really know a place before I can write about it. (Ask me how much fun I had writing the swamp scenes in Bonfire since I’ve never spent any time in a swamp. Or maybe ask Irene how much fun she had *correcting* my misapprehensions in those scenes. There are no hills, or rocks, apparently.) I have to be able to capture the truth of a place, or some facet of that truth, to make the story believable. To do that, I tend to set my stories in one of three cities: Seattle, Los Angeles, or New Orleans.

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This house in the Garden District inspired Thaddeus Dupont’s First St. house.

Seattle’s a no-brainer because I’ve lived here for most of my life. Maybe because of that, I take the romance of the place for granted. That said, I have an upcoming super-secret project that’s set here. (More about that later!)

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Ready for a parade on St. Charles Avenue last week!

I choose Los Angles for stories because, like New Orleans, it has all kinds of angles I can work with. I don’t think anyone could capture all of L.A. in a single sentence, or even a single book. Because of that, it’s unfortunately possible to set a story there and turn it into Anytown, Anywhere, USA. It’s just so much better if you drop in a few details to bring the place alive.

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Staircase to choir loft at St. Mary’s Church – Ursuline Convent – NOLA. Imagine climbing those steps in a nun’s habit…

My sister lives in L.A., so when I need some nitty gritty factoid to get to the truth of a story, I’ll try and plan a visit. And if I don’t have the time or money for travel, she’s awesome about brainstorming-by-text. She works in The Industry, so she’s very understanding about my creative craziness.

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French Quarter courtyard.

FWIW, I didn’t have the same kind of connection with New Orleans when I started setting stories there. I’d never visited, didn’t know anyone who lived there, and tbh most of my experience with the place came via Ann Rice’s novels. That’s changed now! Last week was our second visit, and “subletting a French Quarter condo for six months” is now on my bucket list.

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You meet all kinds of people during Carnival!

Thank you for exploring NOLA with me. We had a blast last week, and if you’ve never been to New Orleans, you really must visit someday! Or, you know, you could check out my newest release, Change of Heart. It’s a historical romance set in the French Quarter in 1933, a distant prequel to the two Hours of the Night novels I co-wrote with Irene Preston. I’ll put the blurb and buy links below, just in case. Happy travels!!

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Preacher always said New Orleans was a den of sin, but of course Clarabelle had to see for herself…

A body reaps what they sow, and Clarabelle’s planted the seeds of trouble. The year is 1933, and not much else is growing in the Oklahoma dirt. Clarabelle’s gone and fallen in love with her best friend, so she figures it’s time to go out and see the world.

If she’s lucky, she’ll find the kind of girl who’ll kiss her back.

Clarabelle heads for New Orleans, and that’s where she meets Vaughn. Now, Vaughn’s as pretty as can be, but she’s hiding something. When she gets jumped by a pair of hoodlums, Clarabelle comes to her rescue and accidentally discovers her secret. She has to decide whether Vaughn is really the kind of girl for her, and though Clarabelle started out a dirt-farming Okie, Vaughn teaches her just what it means to be a lady.

Change of Heart is an Hours of the Night story, an early prequel to Vespers and Bonfire. It’s not a paranormal, but a certain vampire may have a role…

Find Change of Heart on Goodreads HERE

Available for a special pre-order price of $0.99!!

Amazon  /  Barnes & Noble  /  Kobo  /  iTunes  /  More Stores

AND, make sure you enter the giveaway to celebrate Change of Heart’s release!

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New Release + Cover Reveal + Giveaway!

This has been one of the busiest weeks of my life! Between the day job and the family and the new release last Monday and the cover reveal for my upcoming release, it’s been just crazy. For the most part, though, it’s good stuff – well, accept for the barfing German Shepherd yesterday – so I can’t really complain.

Or at least I try not to.

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At any rate, I’m going to start with some info about the anthology that released last Monday. My story is called Change of Heart, and it’s a female/trans-female love story.

The germ of the idea for Change of Heart came from a scholarly article I read about Dr. James Barry, a 19th century British military surgeon. He was incredibly gifted, accomplished, and known for being rude, and after he died, the serving-woman who prepared his body discovered he was a woman.

His story has been claimed by feminists, and more recently by students of trans history. It’s impossible to know how Dr. Barry viewed himself – as a highly intelligent woman who did what was necessary to practice medicine at a time when women were forbidden to do so, or as a man who happened to have a different biology. Either way, Dr. Barry fascinates me. There are very few records of trans people from before the 1970s, and I wanted to explore how it might have been to live with that kind of secret. We’d agreed to set all our stories in New Orleans, and since few US cities have a more colorful history, I basically just picked a year and went with it. I hope I captured something of the time and place, and I hope you enjoy my sweet and spicy little story.

 

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Here’s the blurb…

Momma says a body reaps what they sow, and Clarabelle’s planted the seeds of trouble. The year is 1933, and not much else is growing in the Oklahoma dirt. Clarabelle’s gone and fallen in love with her best friend, so she figures it’s time to go out and see the world.

If she’s lucky, she’ll find the kind of girl who’ll kiss her back.

Clarabelle heads for New Orleans, and that’s where she meets Vaughn. Now, Vaughn’s as pretty as can be, but she’s hiding something. When she gets jumped by a pair of hoodlums, Clarabelle comes to her rescue and accidentally discovers her secret. She has to decide whether Vaughn is really the kind of girl for her, and though Clarabelle started out a dirt-farming Okie, Vaughn teaches her just what it means to be a lady.

I’ve read a few of the stories in the anthology, and they’re all pretty good. Some paranormal, some contemporary, with a range of heat from relatively sweet (like mine!) to whips & belts of the BDSM variety. If you’re interested in checking the anthology out, here’s some links…

Amazon US| Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

 

And now…

Irene Preston and I have been sitting on our hands for the last few weeks.

Sitting. On. Our. Hands.

Because we’ve had the cover for Vespers and we weren’t allowed to show it off till after the cover reveal. But now it’s revealed and HERE IT IS!!!

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Choosing a favorite cover from amongst my books is sorta like choosing a favorite child, but…

No it’s not. This is my favorite cover so far. It’s pretty damned perfect in capturing the vibe of the story, and I might have a bit of a crush on Hooded Dude. Here’s a bit more information about Vespers

Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…

The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he’s vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.

Sarasija Mishra’s most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…

The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can’t even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can’t afford to be picky. On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer’s “special diet”. A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont’s mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can’t seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected “Sara” to be a girl.

Falling in love is hard at any age…

The vampire can’t fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara’s brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice. Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.

Working with Irene on this story has been a fantastic experience. You may be thinking I’m just blowing smoke to promote a book, but truly, tossing the words back and forth and learning how another writer works was tremendously satisfying.

And FUN!

We’ve got Vespers at a reduced preorder price of $0.99, so if you’re interested, click on over…

Amazon     –     Barnes and Noble     –      ARe     –      iBooks     –     Kobo

 

Giveaway

And finally, I promised you a giveaway, so here it is. For the chance to win a $25 gift card PLUS 7 (seven!) paranormal romances by authors like Alexis Hall, Claire Cray, and Jax Garren. Click HERE to get to my website where you’ll find the rafflecopter thingy to enter. The books in the prize package are SO COOL.

So that’s what’s going on in my life? What’s up with you? 🙂 I promise next post won’t be quite so me-me-me-me-me. It’s just been an exciting week.

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Why yes, this *is* the dog who was barfing. He’s much better now, thank goodness!

NOLA Naughty Nine Anthology Cover Reveal

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The Spellbound Scribes were gracious enough to let me pick up an extra blog post to share the cover reveal for an anthology that’ll be coming out soon. Scroll down to find the gorgeous cover, and if it appeals to you, check out the preorder links. The price will go up after it’s published, so grab it for $0.99 while you can! There are some great authors and some really fun stories in this one – including my story Change of Heart –
and the cover is beautiful…
Thanks!
NOLA Naughty Nine


Guilty Pleasure. Perfect Sin.

 

Just 0.99!

 

 

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Cover Reveal Synopsis

 

Bayou Shadows by Erzabet Bishop

Voodoo dreams and buried lies bring Delia to New Orleans. A sexy shifter with secrets of his own might just get her to stay…

Sultry by Amanda Byrnes

Ash is really fuckin’ tired of being a virgin. Rory’s suddenly got an urge to seduce him. But can their friendship survive?

Sinfully Hot by Tina Donahue

A hotter-than-sin reaper. A badass demon. Hell doesn’t get steamier than this.

Playing with Fire by Margaret Madigan
When Vlad Golakov is sent to New Orleans to find a missing woman, he plans to get the job done quickly, then enjoy the Big Easy. He doesn’t expect to fall in love with the woman-turned-werewolf or teach the pack’s alpha that when you play with fire, you’re bound to get burned.

Creole Corsair by Wren Michaels

Sabine Chauvet needs closure on her family’s past. But when she runs into Jasper Carrington, her old high school crush, the one thing in her past she wasn’t searching for finds her instead.

Phenomenal by LeTeisha Newton

We all lose, and it snatches our souls right out our chests. When I lost her, I wanted to destroy the world with the same bloody hands I used to pound my enemies. When I win her back, she won’t get away again. I’ll risk my life for it.

Change of Heart by Liv Rancourt

Preacher always said New Orleans was a den of sin,
so of course Clarabelle had to see for herself…

 

An Evening at Crossroads by Kate Richards

They broke every taboo, an ancient vampire, an exotic shifter on the run sharing gay romance under the roof of the newest and most daring club in New Orleans

 

Lion of Frenchman Street by Teresa Noelle Roberts

When saxophonist Peter Lyons invites New Orleans newcomer Kelsey into his world of jazz and kinky sex, his dominance ignites her body and his music speaks to her soul. But Peter’s hiding old pain and when Kelsey’s offered a job out of town, everything goes out of tune.

 

Cover Reveal Buy links

 

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Cover Reveal tEASERS

 

 

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Cover Reveal Meet Naughty

Tina Donahue Picture - Color.jpgTina is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly,Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) were Readers’ Choice Award winners. Another three (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic contemporary romance, was chosen Book of the Year at the French review site Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. Two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

DSC_2232.jpgWren hails from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where beer and cheese are their own food groups. But a cowboy swept her off her feet and carried her below the Mason-Dixon line to Texas, where she promptly lost all tolerance for cold and snow. Fueled by coffee, dreams, and men in kilts, Wren promises to bring you laughter, sexy fun time, and action that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The easiest way to her heart is anything to do with the Green Bay Packers, Doctor Who, or Joss Whedon.

 

Teresa Noelle Roberts 72 dpi for WEB-14.jpgTeresa Noelle Roberts started writing stories in kindergarten and she hasn’t stopped yet. A prolific author of short erotica, she’s also a published poet and fantasy writer—but BDSM-spiced contemporaries, hot paranormals, and sexy science fiction romances have become her favorite things to write.

She shares her Massachusetts home with her husband, a Leo in law enforcement, and three cats. She and her husband would visit New Orleans all the time if she could get the dang teleporter to work.

 

selfie with roses.jpgI write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

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So I think this is the part where I’m supposed to say something super cool, win you over, and make you my life-long superfan…OR wait, is that how I am about my anime collection?

Probably.

Basically, I’m an author, blogger, geek, and villain lover (Joker IS MINE!). There shouldn’t be any surprise then that I tend to love my heroes a bit broken, all messed up, and in need of someone who understands them just the way they are.

Hell, my heroines are right there with them. You see, love is nice, it’s sweet. It can be all rainbows and glowing stars. And then it can be dark, twisted, hurtful, and feel so damn good you have to scream about it. So I write like that. From one side of the spectrum to the other, because that’s real. That’s life. And that’s what we crave–delving into a fantasy world or not.

Erzabetflowery.jpgErzabet Bishop is an award-winning and bestselling author who loves to write naughty stories. She is the author of Lipstick, Crave, Snow (Three Times More Lucky Box Set), Malediction (upcoming-A Wicked Halloween Box Set), Map of Bones (upcoming-A Wicked Affair Box Set), Sanguine Shadows (Vampire Bites Box Set), The Science of Lust, Wicked for You, Heart’s Protector, Burning for You, Red Hot (upcoming), Bayou Shadows (upcoming-Nola Naughty Nine) Hedging Her Bets (Alpha Fever Box Set), Cat’s Got Her Tongue (Alpha Heat Box Set), Arcane Imaginarium: Spirit Board, Holidays in Hell, Mallory’s Mark (upcoming),The Devil’s Due (upcoming), Charity Benshaw’s Enchanted Paddle Emporium (upcoming), Sigil Fire, Glitter Lust (upcoming), Written on Skin, Club Beam, Pomegranate, A Red Dress for Christmas, The Black Magic Café, Fantasies in Red, Sweet Seductions, Holiday Cruise, Fetish Fair, Temptation Resorts: Jess, Temptation Resorts: Marnie, Taming the Beast, The Erotic Pagans Series: Beltane Fires, Samhain Shadows and Yuletide Temptation along with being a contributor to many anthologies. She lives in Texas with her husband, furry children and can often be found lurking in local bookstores. She loves to bake, make naughty crochet projects and watch monster movies.

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When she’s not plotting ways to sneak her latest shoe purchase past her partner, Amanda writes sexy, snarky romance and urban fantasy. She likes her heroines smart and unafraid to make mistakes, and her heroes strong enough to take them on.
If she’s not writing, she’s reading, drinking hot chocolate, and trying not to destroy her house with her newest DIY project. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and no, it really doesn’t rain that much.
I write a variety of different kinds of romance for Entangled Publishing, Evernight Publishing, and M&M Publishing. I’m an Oregon Ducks fan. I’m a donut and pastry addict (pretty much any carbs, really). I like cats. I’m terrified of balloons. When I’m not writing you’ll find me in a college classroom teaching English, and of course, wrangling my family.

Kate at WWW 2016 (1)Kate Richards divides her time between Los Angeles and the High Sierras. She would gladly spend all her days in the mountains, but she’d miss the beach…and her very supportive husband’s commute would be three hundred miles. Wherever she is, she loves to explore all different kinds of relationships in her stories. She doesn’t believe one-size-fits-all, and whether her characters live BDSM, ménage, GLBT, spanking, or any other kind of lifestyle, it’s the love, the joy in one another, that counts.

Cover Reveal Connect

 

 

TINA DONAHUE

 

 

WREN MICHAELS

 

 

TERESA NOELLE ROBERTS

 

 

LIV RANCOURT

 

 

LETEISHA NEWTON

 

 

ERZABET BISHOP

 

 

AMANDA BYRNE

 

 

MARGARET MADIGAN

 

 

KATE RICHARDS

 

Naughty Nine Boxed Set Cover Complete
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Late, but not too late

So, here it is, nearly 11:30 at night and I’ve just remembered it’s my turn to post. I’ve been in bed, unabashedly for a couple of hours already, reading.

Just one of those days where your partner asks, “Is 9 o’clock too early for bed?” and you think of the engrossing new book that’s already taken up much of your free time and reply, “No, not at all!”

But just as I was finally putting my book down for the night, telling myself I’d be disappointed if I finished it too fast, I realized I’d forgotten you, dear reader!

For shame!

But to be fair, I think I have a good excuse. A few even. All of which add up to my memory being much like a sieve these past few days.

One: I finally finished the first draft of a book I’ve been working on for five months. It was a brutal book to write and I know it needs a lot of work, but getting the bones done is what matters for now.

Two: I had a new release drop yesterday under my pen name. My pen name doesn’t get near as much attention as my real name releases, but I’m still proud of the work and I still stress over it just as much.

Three: I was/am taking much needed down time. Thanks to the first two things listed above, I’ve been stressed and tired and things have been neglected. You manage to keep things going, mostly clean and orderly, but nothing is quite how it should be. So I’ve cleaned and done a metric ton of laundry. I’ve given myself mani-pedi, watched TV and, most importantly: read for pleasure. I’m reading out of my preferred writing genres and it’s glorious. There’s a frustrating love triangle and twists and surprises. Just the tonic I need.

So, dear ones, remember, we all need the carrot as much as the stick. Take breaks when you need them, but when you hit goals, make accomplishments, reward yourself. Even if it’s just a book, or maybe a particular Funko Pop you’ve been wanting for a while.

You deserve it. I deserve it.

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My tiny Sirius for a big accomplishment!

How a book saved my life…

As I’m writing this post, I’m suffering from a huge book hangover. (“Suffering” in the best possible way.) Be warned.

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This morning I stumbled on a Two Nerdy History Girls blog post about a doll. Not just any doll, though. A Well Loved Georgian Doll and Her Wardrobe, c.1790. The thing about this doll is, not only did she survive intact from 1790, despite being designed and utilized as a child’s plaything, but so did her extensive wardrobe.

Reading the post slammed me right back to the age of ten, when Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess was one of my favorite books. Do you remember that story? Sara Crewe is brought to London by her wealthy father, who leaves her at a boarding school and returns to India. To keep her “company”, he buys her the most extravagant doll, with velvet dresses and lace underthings an even a fur coat – just like the doll in the post!

Back in the day, that book carried me away to Victorian London, to a lost little girl living in a garret, and by the way fueled way too many rescue fantasies.

Maybe I shouldn’t admit that last bit in public.

At any rate, a simple blog post brought back a flood of feelings for a book I haven’t though about in years. Which started me thinking about other books that have stayed with me, or turned up in key moments. The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which taught me to love historical fiction. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which showed me the possibilities inherent in one man’s imagination. The Vampire Lestat, which sowed the seeds for ideas I’m still working through.

I’m old enough to have a head full of gray hair, so I’ve had plenty of opportunities for one  book to change the course of my life. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that I’ve got many, many key memories linked to the books I was reading at the time. My 20s, when I devoured Michener and The Thornbirds, and Dune. My early 30s, when I attempted to raise my brow with literary fiction(ish) books like A.S. Byatt’s Possession. My 40s, when I basically realized I didn’t have to impress anybody, and allowed myself to indulge my love of genre fiction.

(Thank you Janet Evanovich. You rock.)

Beyond the big, broad strokes memories, I have some very specific connections. The sweet, cozy romance I read one harrowing night in an ER while waiting for a kid to be admitted to the hospital. (And I honestly don’t remember the name of the book, but it kept me from losing my mind.) Sitting in front of a huge stone fireplace on the Sunday evening of a Gregorian chant retreat, absolutely devouring Dead Until Dark, the first Sookie Stackhouse mystery. And before you laugh at my choice of reading material for a chant retreat, that was the book that made me say, “I want to DO that.”

And so a writer was born.

More recently, there was the time I went for a pedicure and decided to play Kindle-kamikaze, where I scrolled through, opened a book at random, and started reading. I picked a book called Scrap Metal by Harper Fox. I still don’t remember when or why I downloaded this book, but at the time I was somewhat startled to realize the POV character was just as male as the man he’d got down on his knees in front of. Scrap Metal was the first m/m romance I ever read, and it opened me up to a whole new world of fiction.

Which brings me to my current sorry state. I am SO hungover, you guys. Was up till all hours, reading one of the best books ever! Just thinking about it gives me little shivers. Also, tbh, I needed the distraction after spending most of the evening dealing with teenager drama. Mom needed a mental health break, and this book was the perfect answer.

The book? A Gentleman’s Position, book 3 in the Society of Gentlemen series by KJ Charles. You could read this one as a stand-alone, but really, one of the great pleasures of the series is how the stories are linked. Events that happen in one book are retold in the next, from different characters’ perspectives and carrying different levels of impact. It’s fascinating and elegantly done and adds so much to the stories overall.

If I had more space between these books and this post, I would have done something on how the trilogy, along with the prequel The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh, comprise a masters’ class in plotting. Not only are the stories interwoven, they’re constructed around actual historical events. For me as a reader it felt effortless. None of the seams showed.

As a writer, it blew me away.

I guess a more accurate title for this post would have been How Books Saved My Life, because they have, time and again. I’m going to let the original stand, though, because on any given day, there’s been ONE book that’s made a difference.

What book is that for you?

(And Nan, thanks for the tag.)

 

Things I have to be Thankful for…

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Chez Rancourt, November 2015

So I grabbed the Thanksgiving week post because there’s a fair amount of activity going on in my writing life, but before I get to all that, I wanted to say – in public – how incredibly thankful I am for what my husband has accomplished. He’s a contractor, and after 17 years of living with a time-capsule 1940s kitchen, we have a new one!! A couple of the cabinets still need doors and there’s a little gingerbread still to be applied, but ready or not, we’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this week. And I am SO EXCITED!!

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Range, or command post?

Photography has never been a particular skill of mine, but I hope you get the idea…lol…

I’m thankful for my new kitchen, and for the continued health of my husband and kids. I’m thankful that the puppy almost always pees outside, and that we’ve brokered a truce with the elderly cat who cannot abide the puppy. I’m thankful for my circle of friends, who always have my back, and I’m thankful for all the fantastic writers I know who read and critique and promote my work.

And I’m thankful for readers, because without you…well…

As I said earlier, things are going to be hopping for the next week or so. First up, my m/m novella The Secret of Obedience

Obedience teaser from banner
Release date 11/27/15

I’m running a refflecopter giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card. Jump HERE if you want to enter…and jump HERE to preorder.

Blurb

Opposites attract, but secrets divide…

Ronnie Durand is a country boy who transfers to the University of Washington after two years at Central. He’ll have to give up playing football, though finishing his education at a major university in Seattle–and being out and proud without having to look over his shoulder–makes the sacrifice worthwhile.

But finding friends at a huge school is tough, especially when the hottest guy Ronnie meets makes him doubt his own sanity.

Sang’s been on his own a long time. He’s only a couple steps away from living on the street, and he’s got dreams so big they don’t leave space for a steady boyfriend. Then he meets Ronnie, who just might be strong enough to break through his barriers….as long as Sang lets him in on one big secret.

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Release date 11/29/15
My second release this weekend is Home for the Holidays, an m/m anthology with stories by me, Jenna Kendrick, SJ Himes, Heather C Leigh, and Felice Stevens. All the money raised by this project will be donated to the Ali Forney Center, an organization that supports homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City. The preorders have been going well, so jump HERE to get a copy for yourself.
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And THEN, because there’s not enough going on with two releases, King Stud will be on sale for $1.99 ALL NEXT WEEK (11/30 – 12/4). Bookmark this one, because it’s a great deal. Jump HERE for the Amazon page.

Blurb

Danielle’s got three months to make her grandmother’s rundown Craftsman house livable. Her game plan is to get in, get grubby, and get back home to L.A. She needs a carpenter, and her best friend’s younger brother is a good one. It’s hard to ignore the buffed body under Ryan’s paint-splattered sweatshirts, but her friend declares he’s off-limits so Danielle reluctantly agrees.

Ryan doesn’t have the cleanest record, anyway. His recently ex-ed girlfriend wants him back, and he has a reputation for brawling. He’s also had a crush on Danielle since he was a kid. Despite their nine-year age difference, he knows she’s worth pursuing.

Soon the paint under Danielle’s fingernails starts feeling more natural than the L.A. sunshine. She’ll have to navigate plumbing disasters, money problems, and one seriously cranky best friend to find something she hasn’t had before: a real home, and a man who loves her.

 

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And finally, my  holiday short story The Santa Drag will be FREE this weekend, 11/27 – 11/30. Bookmark this one too, because FREE!! Jump HERE for the book’s Amazon page.

Blurb

Things aren’t always what they seem, and this shopping mall Santa has a secret that only true love can reveal.

Mackenzie’s an out-of-work actress who takes a job as a shopping mall Santa to pay the rent. She fools everyone with her Santa drag, until the day Joe McBride walks into the mall. Joseph Timothy McBride – the real-life, got a soap opera gig and you saw him in Scream II actor. The only guy she ever really loved. Can Mack stay in character, or is it time to strip off the red coat and peel off the beard for good?

There’s lots going on, and this post got kinda long. Thanks so much for hanging in with me, and I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving! Before I go I want to give a quick shout-out to Shauna Granger, who keeps all of us SpellboundScribes on track with the schedule and the occasional timely reminder. Thanks Shauna!!! And now, I’m off to start cooking…

Cheers!

Liv