In with the new…

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Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe NYE. I am a fuddy-duddy. I don’t go out or party on NYE. I never have. Part of that has been circumstance, part of it is not wanting to go out alone, though going to a coffee bar or bakery or wine bar might be a fun thing one year. Perhaps I’ll get a life one day and step out. At the same time, I like being a homebody, seeing my kids at midnight, especially my son that is still excited about NYear’s. I’ve never been much of a party goer. I am very shy and quiet, not really outgoing. I guess that has something to do with it, too. Who knows, though. Things change. Right?

I spent some time yesterday and last night working on my 2010 Goals. I have been reading some blogs the last few days and am kind of scared. My list is so much longer than most. Why is that? I mean, I had 25 items last year and though I haven’t counted them up, I don’t think I’m too far off that number for this year. Of lists that I’ve read from others, they have three goals, five, maybe seven to ten. Hmmm… Am I trying to do too much? Overachieve? It’s entirely possible. My particular list, as the list I posted from 2009 is strictly the writing and writing career goal list. This isn’t the personal life one, which will likely be just as long. Maybe I’ll post that one next week, or at least part. For now though, let’s get on with it… Grab your coffee, tea, soda, cocoa, left over champagne and sit back, take it in, and then wonder what kind of crazy writer chick I am. You can even take bets on how nuts I will probably be come the end of 2010…grins

Lissa’s 2010 Writing/Career Goals:

Write 3-5 free reads
Blog on author blog (this one) at least 3X’s a week
Guest blog 3-7 times
Finish and submit Sweet Caroline
Finish and submit Riko’s book
Finish and submit Ecstacy
Write and submit to 3-5 special/theme calls
Attend 2-3 small cons or events (including dungeons, fetish events)
Finish BDSM Craft book 1
Write and submit X-Marks
Re-work and finish Cowboys
Sign up for no less than 2 writing workshops
Submit to Spice Briefs
Participate in Nanowrimo
Finish and submit Shifter book
Query NY publishers and agents
Read more craft books to learn and improve on writing weak spots
Submit 1 book per month
Meet authors, readers
Begin tracking database, spending/royalty accounting spreadsheet
Learn how to use WordPress
Participate in contests/giveaways/charity writing events
Submit 2 Wicked-size shorts (no less than 5K min. word count)
Re-work Literotica shorts for publication
Participate in 1 anthology
Co-author 1 book
Finish and submit Abel and Willow books
Write no less than 1500 words per day M-F
Submit 3-5 books to Samhain, Loose Id, and Ellora’s Cave

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Whew! That’s a big list. Might need to go ahead and get started on it!

Have a fantastic New Year’s Day!

~lissa

Out with the old…

As the title says, it’s out with the old today. December 31, 2009, the last day of the year. I’ll be spending a quiet New Year’s with my DH, and DS tonight. DD is going to a slumber party. She promised to text at midnight to say Happy New Year. I’ll miss her, but hey…you only live once, right? And I halfway figure that she’ll be asleep…laughs

I was flipping through my pink notebook this morning for the specific purpose of finding my 2009 Goal list. This particular list was for my writing goals of the year. Writing encompasses things other than the actual writing of a story and has been included in this list.

There were 25 items on it, so settle in with your cup of coffee, cocoa, tea, Bailey’s, etc…

I’ve broken it down into two different categories this morning for you. What was accomplished and what wasn’t accomplished.

2009 Goals accomplished:

Finish and submit Angel/Demon book
Finish and submit Cam and Lily’s book
Finish and submit Jane’s book
Submit to the Ellora’s Cave Exotika line
Participate in Nano
Join/Participate in 3-5 contests
Comment/Post on 3 blogs/3 loops per week
Write 2-3 free reads (I did 2)
Learn to update own website (I use Webpage Maker)
Learn to update own MySpace page (I can sorta do this)
Set up author blog (this is it, you’re here!)
Guest blog 5-10 times (I think I’m up to 6)
Submit 30K+ to Loose Id

2009 Goals NOT Accomplished:

Write Dream Man book
Finish and Submit Cowboys
Submit/Query NY (submitting to Spice Briefs in Sept. 2008 doesn’t count, dammit)
Writing weekly blog
Submit one book per month (I did good with this until Nov, dammit)
Write and Submit to 3 special calls (I did 1)
Write Riko’s book (working on it still)
Start querying freelance ideas
Finish and Submit Craft series Book 1
Write Craft series Book 2
Start author newsletter
Finish and Submit Sticky Situation novella

I’m about 50/50. It’s been a year that I couldn’t have imagined for myself. Just because I submitted to both EC and Loose Id, I didn’t expect I’d get in. I hoped, but… I also submitted to Changeling and Liquid Silver, both of which rejected my stories. I never heard from Spice Briefs on my submission from 2008, but I knew that was a long, long, long shot!

I started the year with knowing I would have two releases, Charming Lucy and Pink Buttercream Frosting. I ended the year with two additional releases, The Demon is an Angel and Simple Need. So far, there are two releases set for 2010 and I am working on finishing and submitting to hopefully add to that number.

Thank you to everyone that has picked up one of my books, looked at this blog, read my posts on the Kiss and Tell Girls blog, read my tweets, my Facebook/MySpace updates. I am grateful for the reviews, good and bad, the editors that have helped me grow as a writer and that saw something special in my writing that prompted them to take a chance on me. I have learned a lot in the last 12 months and tomorrow, will start looking forward to learning a lot more in the next 12 months. For the rest of today though, I’ll be writing and watching football, and spending time with my family.

Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve. I’ll see you next year!

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Cheers!

Happy Day After Christmas! I hope everyone had a wonderful holdiay! Today’s snippet is titled Cheers, drinking and toasts. I’ve chosen the opening scene from Simple Need which takes place in a bar.

Enjoy!

The bartender leaned against the polished, scarred wood of the bar. “Another one?”

Elise looked at the bottom of her glass and debated what the correct answer should be. Would she rather drive home or call a cab?

“Yes, let the lady have another.”

She turned her head at the man who had come to straddle the barstool next to hers. Short auburn hair, ice blue eyes, both arms covered in brightly colored tats, fingernails painted black, and a barely contained sex appeal reached out and enveloped her from her head all the way down to her toes. She wanted him. Right here, right now.

She cleared her throat, found her voice, and was pleased at its steadiness. “I appreciate it, but no. I think it’s time for me to call it a night.” In his bed would be a nice place to do that, but she’d just called a halt to all men for a while. Even gorgeous ones with hard dicks pressing against worn denim, and solid muscles framed to lean perfection beneath faded black tee shirts.

God, she needed to go home. He was way too tempting and her bruised ego was way too vulnerable.

“Why?”                                                         

Yes, why indeed. “It’s just time. Been a long day and all that.”

He reached out and stroked the back of her hand that was wrapped around the empty glass. “Going home alone?”

Would you like to come home with me? “Yes, alone.”

“Hmmm. That doesn’t sound like fun at all. Tell ya what. Why don’t you let me buy you another drink and you can fill me in on why it’s been such a long day. I’m a pretty good listener.”

He had a deliciously, well-defined mouth and Elise wanted to let her lips fall down on his. His voice rolled over her like a warm blanket, soft and comfortably deep. “The guy I’d been seeing ended things today. I got the text message at lunch.”

“Text message? You serious? Dumbass man.”

She tried not to smile but couldn’t help it. It was just a small smile, but nonetheless he answered her with one of his own and she swore her pussy melted in her jeans.

“No. I was the dumbass in this one. I really did know better and now, well, hindsight is twenty-twenty.” She shrugged and the bartender chose that moment to set another rum and Coke in front of her. The smell of the alcohol made her feel lightheaded. Whoa. She didn’t need to drink it, she could just inhale it. Instead of calling a cab, she would be sleeping on the floor beneath the stool she sat on.

“What did you know better about?”

“Trust me, you don’t want to know.” She took a small sip of her new drink. The rum burned going down and it felt good. Tattoo man would feel better, but…

“I do.”

“He was married.”

“Oh. Yeah, that’s never good. Are you?”

“Am I what? Good? Yes.”

He grinned at her and heat flooded her cheeks. She had no idea where that teasing, suggestive comment had come from, but she liked it, liked that she made him grin. He was devastating to look at.

“Mmmm. I’ll give you a chance to prove it later. Are you married?”

She shook her head. “No, I’m not.”

“Then why waste your time on a man who is?”

She never would have if she’d known. Where were all the damn warning signs? “I didn’t know he was married. See, that’s me being the dumbass. He gave all his numbers, his address. There were never any restrictions on communication or seeing one another.” And there hadn’t been. She could call him whenever, though she always let him call her. She’d never been one who could chase a man, even one she was dating. She could see him every night, every day. He’d introduced her to people he worked with, friends he hung out with. There had been nothing that she could remember, and she’d been racking her brain all afternoon trying to figure out, trying to jog her memory, trying to find something that would have hinted that there was a Mrs. But there was nothing.

“When did you find out?”

“In his text message. He said he was going back to his wife.” And there it was all over again…the shock, the humiliation at having gotten involved with a married man without having realized it. There hadn’t even been a tan line on his ring finger. She’d looked. Going back obviously meant that he’d been separated from his wife, but still…

She lowered her head and laid her forehead on the bar. That twinge inside her gut, that complete lack of understanding at how her character judgments had become so flawed, gnawed at her. She used to be able to read people, guys especially, mainly because she watched more than she talked. What had happened that she couldn’t choose a guy anymore who was worth anything, who wasn’t a loser? What had happened to her once-upon-a-time, never-let-her-down intuition?

Tattoo Man leaned close, his breath whispered into her ear, fanned across her skin, and she fought not to shiver, fought not to lift her head and turn it just a fraction of an inch to her right. “Let me take care of you.”

And then there was hot and yummy next to her. Her intuition was screaming loud and clear regarding him.

Don’t ask. Don’t ask. Don’t. You. Dare. Ask. “Take care of me how?” Dammit. She couldn’t help but ask though. No man had ever asked her to let him take care of her, to give herself in such a way as to be cared for. It didn’t matter right then what he wanted to do to her, how he wanted to take care of her. All that mattered was that he did.

He smelled of beer, of smoke, of every sinful thought she’d ever had. He asked why she would waste her time on a married man? Had she known Business Suit was married, separated or not, she wouldn’t have wasted the last few months on him, but more than that, men like Tattoo Man never looked at her twice. Normal, work-in-an-office men were the ones who asked her out, were the ones who called, were the ones she thought were what she needed. They were steady, or at least that’s what she told herself, but they often ended up having more issues than she cared to hear about. They were generally all about themselves and getting ahead. Rarely had anyone cared enough to ask her to just let them take care of her.

And yet, the one man who did ask… Damn. Her blood was like lava flowing through her veins, hot and thick just looking at him, just imagining the kinds of things he could do to her with that voice, those hands, that mouth, that long, lean body, that cock that was still hard behind his zipper. Tattoo Man was the kind of hot-blooded bad boy she’d always fantasized about, always dreamed about, but never the kind of man she ended up attracting.

Until now, that is.

He winked and one corner of his mouth tilted up as he sat back again. “You. Me. A bed. Naked. Fucking all thoughts of that loser right out of your pretty head.”

He couldn’t be serious. Could he? The look in his eyes told her that yes, he was indeed very serious. Oh wow. When? Where? For how long? “I don’t think th—”

“No,” he said, shaking his head sharply and reaching for her drink. With his eyes trained on her, he took a swallow that would have choked her going down, but didn’t faze him at all. When he put the glass back down, half the liquid was gone. “This isn’t one of those thinking moments. This is one of those go-for-it ‘doing’ moments. I want you to smile big and bright and I want to see tears in your eyes because you’ve come so much…because you’ve come so hard. I want you to walk funny because you’ve been used for hours on end and want more.”

Simple Need is available at Ellora’s Cave.

Moira Rogers 
Ashley Ladd
Lauren Dane
Leah Braemel
Taige Crenshaw
Shelley Munro
Jody Wallace 
Mari Carr 

Sugar Rush

With the holidays and such, I figured what better time than to break out a cover and blurb for a story with truffles in it. grins… Yes, I know, I can be evil, but, at least I’m not posting a truffle recipe…even though I have some really really good ones that I could tempt you with.

Sugar Rush is my first (is going to be my first) release with Loose Id. It is a contemporary male/female erotic romance. Bored now? Lose interest? There’s no kink, no menage, no paranormal or sci-fi or fantasy, it’s just straight male/female. According to my editor though, it’s an awesome hot book, but I think her opinion might be just a little on the biased side.

Why is it? Why is it that unless there’s some other element, like those I listed above, male/female contemporaries don’t do well, as well, incredibly off the charts well? I mean, Harlequin male/female books still do, but in epublishing, those that you find topping charts all over are the male/male, the bdsm clubs, the menages…add in shifters and sci-fi and you’ve got all slots taken. Of course, this is in general and every now and then there’s a different kind of book that runs up the bestseller lists, but it’s rare.

Don’t get me wrong, I read a lot of most of those types of books, though I’ve begun to back off some of them because they’re all starting to sound the same, follow the same cookie cutter outline. I do read straight contemporary when I can find a good one that tickles my curiosity. There just isn’t as much of it to choose from, though, if it’s a cowboy, or military man, yeah, those are all over the place and a lot of them are so yummy.

In the midst of all this, I’m a picky picky reader and your blurb better pull me in or the book better come highly recommended. I love hot yummy covers, and some authors I’ll buy right at the moment their book hits the shelves not caring what the story is about, but that’s just because they’ve proven themselves to me and are a favorite. I want a story that tugs at my core…

This is just an observation based on what I see at most publishers and distributors. Of course, there are definite exceptions to the rules and one day I hope to have that kind of following, but for now, I have to hope to tempt new and current readers with the fact that the heroine in Sugar Rush, Jane, makes truffles.

Here’s the blurb: (It hasn’t been through the blurb guru at Loose Id yet, so don’t shoot me)

Graham is twenty-six and has a dream job as a travel writer. He’s seen some of the most beautiful areas of the country and Colorado and the Rocky Mountains rank high on the list. With his latest article done and the six-month lease almost up on the small cabin in the valley, taking some personal time until moving on to his next assignment. In a downtown Denver bar, Graham meets Edward and after a short conversation agrees to a blind date with Edward’s business partner, Jane.

It couldn’t hurt anything, right?

Jane is completely oblivious to Edward’s machinations and shows up at Graham’s cabin to deliver a box of their handmade spicy chocolate truffles. She falls head over heels in lust the minute he opens the door. Jane isn’t sure what Cowboy Surfer, as she’s dubbed him, sees in her or why he’s so tenacious in his pursuit, but fails in her attempts to throw him off at every turn.

The inability to say continue saying ‘No’ leads to hot, scorching sex and follow-up phone calls full of suggestion, opening Jane’s eyes to the realization that maybe life doesn’t have to revolve around chocolate truffles, but rather around a delicious younger man.

I’m very proud of this book, even though I told my editor yesterday how much I hate it. It’s that whole editing and editing and editing thing that drives me nuts. Some authors have to do very little in the way of editing their books, and some, like me, have to basically rewrite the whole damn thing all the way through proofs.

This is my second longest book and for that reason alone I am proud of it. No, it’s not even 40K, but it is longer than 10K, 20K and that is an accomplishment for me. My next book with Loose Id, of which you will be hearing about in the next week or so for a naming contest I intend to have for it, is almost 50K. I have learned a lot writing these longer books. One, it takes longer, and two, it takes a lot more out of me and I end up putting a lot more of me into the books, and three, I am OCD. grins… I am perfection incarnate. Yes, they might take forever to edit, but, even that is less because of my editor and more because of my need for it to be perfect and whole.

Sugar Rush will *hopefully* release in late January 2010 and I’ll soon post an excerpt for you to read. Have a great Tuesday! Got all your shopping done? grins…

~lissa

On Editors…

Editors are incredibly important. They are valuable, indispensable assets to authors and we should treat them with the utmost respect. At the same time, they are not always right either. They are human, just as the writers are human. But, to make the book better, that we need to find common ground and work from it. That is what we should look to in our editors…knowing that they want our book to be the best that it possibly can.

Writers are not the easiest lot to get along with. We can be fiesty, insecure, pains in the ass, disagreeable, stubborn. We, or rather, I, like to believe I am right, 100% correct. I don’t like to think that my book can use improving, but honestly, once I think about it some, all my books can be. We should not be afraid to speak up, to ask questions, to seek guidance, to need brainstorming help from our editors. They are the one person we have to connect with, the one person we have to go through to get another book accepted. They are the one person that is going to have to go through that book as much as we the author did writing it, so they should want to help us. They also are overworked and often underpaid for the incredible task they take on. Editing is not easy. It is not a walk in the park. It is not something one can do willy-nilly. It takes a good deal of understanding, of desire. We have to know what the editors are thinking, what they are trying to say if we are confused by their words and they have to know what we are trying to convey in the story we are telling. They are the champions of our books and I for one and grateful to all of mine, past and present.

I learn a lot through each round of editing. I need to learn a lot. I need to become a better, stronger writer. I learn a lot through revising and rewriting. I learn a lot through the questions my editors ask throughout the story, even though from time to time I’m not sure why they’re asking me if I meant to say something. Of course I meant to say it, otherwise, I wouldn’t have put it on the page. But, learning is part of growth and growth is something I am very interested in in all areas of life, most especially though in this career I have chosen to pursue.

This week my editor at Ellora’s Cave announced to us, her authors, that she was leaving. This was devastating to me. I am a new author at EC and this news has scared me. She understood my writing in a way that I felt at home with. It took me a few days to be able to write to her and tell her how I was feeling, to give her my unfailing support in the new paths she has chosen, to share with her how much I learned from her during the very brief period of time I knew her. I did cry as I wrote to her and I did cry when she replied. It is like losing a friend.

It is a business. Editors come and go. It doesn’t mean we, as authors, have to like it. We simply have to accept it and keep writing, keep doing what we do through the fear, the uncertainty of what’s going to happen now. What if the next editor and I don’t get along? What if we don’t connect on that level that editors and authors have to connect on? What if the new one doesn’t like my writing, my voice? What if I never sell another book to them?

I feel some of these things even with editors that haven’t left.

I try to let my editors know that I am thankful for all that they go through for my books when I know they have many other books to get through, too. I try to take on a good deal of the work myself and not have to have them hold my hand through the editing processes.

I do ask a lot of questions though.

I am very fond of my editors. I would be devastated to lose any of them, even if it were my choice.

Suz from Ellora’s Cave.
Jana from Loose Id.
Bethany from Samhain.
Tera from Samhain.
Shell from Phaze.
Leanne from Cobblestone.

These women, all of them, have shown me things in my writing that I didn’t know what there. I have received good reviews and very bad reviews, great sales and poor poor sales and while the bad and poor ones sting, there are things to take away from them all. It’s important to remember that someone out there believed in the work, someone picked it out of a pile and said ‘I want to edit this, I want to work with this person.’ If we can remember that, well, then we’ve learned something about ourselves as authors, as people.

The editors are a piece of the publishing puzzle that we can’t do without. I am humbled and touched that I have been able to work with some fantastic ones. They are part of the reason I love writing so much. So, thank you, Suz, Jana, Bethany, Tera, Shell, and Leanne.

~lissa

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