Thursdays with TED

I’ve talked about how I want to work smarter, not harder, this year. I love writing. I love what I do. But, I don’t want to work 16-20 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don’t want to sacrifice my family, my sanity, my health, or me. And I’m still trying to figure out how to do that. I can master one concept of it, or another, but not all of it at the same time. That’s the goal this year, though. All of it, at the same time. All of it working seamlessly at the same time.

I know, I know. Go ahead and laugh. I’ll wait…

Feel better?

All I’m looking for is the balance.

I admire so many authors who put everything into their work… Every breathing, waking moment. They put out a lot of great books, are beloved by readers and admired by others like myself. They are wanted by this editor and that publisher. Some have families, some have day jobs, some have all sorts of other obligations, and some just have their writing. Some have spouses who handle the family and house. Some have great health and some don’t.

I don’t.

And I also don’t want to feel guilt for choosing work over kids over work over exercise over work over family over work… Guilt causes stress. I have enough that I don’t need to pile it on in other ways… I don’t want my kids to remember that all I did was work. Sometimes sitting and watching the game is enough. It’s why I unplug a lot more now on the weekends. It’s why the notebooks come out a lot more too.

So, I’ve watched some videos during my treadmill moments about work and happiness and life balance, looking for some thing I can try to implement into my life… Some things I keep, some I toss…

This is one of those videos…

How do you balance work and family and keeping your sanity?

~lissa
 

Tattoos and Bad Boys

First of all, I have another of those books coming out soon. Slide Down On Me. Oh yes, the hero is a bad boy and he’s all tattoos and piercings and naughtiness. You’ll adore him!

The release date for Slide Down On Me is February 12th. Mark your calendars. You can see it on the Ellora’s Cave Coming Soon page, here. I’ll be updating my website page for it soon.

simpleneed_msr200Ever since writing Simple Need and the unbelievable response to it and to Vinter, I have loved, hear me, LOVED writing these tattooed, pierced, very dirty heros. They’ve got sex on their minds and curvy women in their arms. They’re the bad boys every woman dreams of, at least once in her life, and they’re looking to corrupt the good girl.

Grease is a good example. Danny and Sandy.

Dirty Dancing is another one. Johnny and Frances ‘Baby’.

Billy Joel sang about it in Only The Good Die Young and Uptown Girls.

There are other, more recent examples, but…why look away from the classics? Elvis swung and gyrated his hips and all the girlsinkspots_msr200 swooned.

The bad boys are who we desire, even as we date the suits. (Though, don’t get me wrong, a man in a suit is delicious all on his own).

I love writing about the bad boys like Vinter, Jaz, Dallon (poor man just gets no love), Brax, and now, Travis. I always have a bad boy in my pocket, ready to come out and play with my readers.

There’s something about their rough-edged ways, their scratchy hands, their wicked smiles, their ink, their language, their Come Play With Me winks… They have stories to tell and soft hearts to give to that special girl. They don’t want the one who’s been around the block, they want the one who needs what only they have to offer. They’ll heal a broken heart, they’ll leave a woman satisfied and wanting more, they’ll fight for what they want but they won’t beg.

I love these men that I’ve created and it makes me grin that you love them too.

I have a plan for a new self-published series about the tattooed bad boys and as soon as it’s more developed, I’ll let you in on it. I’m planning a free read that will go into my Newsletter for those who want to know what happens once Joe gets back to Love and Tattoos and finds Brax and Annie.

And, I know y’all are waiting for more Simple Need books and the plan had been to finish Mac and Jackie’s story and turn it in, however, due to some issues that I am not at liberty to discuss, that plan is on hold, indefinitely. If you wish to email me to express your disgruntlement about this development, I’ll understand. Believe me, I am not happy with it either, but it is the right thing at this time.

The new series that I am planning will hopefully make up for any lack that you feel. Again, when I have more details, they will be given to you, i.e. cover, title, blurb, release date, etc…

These types of books are my favorite to write (especially if I can add some food into them) and I just adore these heros. Not to say I don’t love writing my cowboys and the shifters that I’m working on as well, because well, let’s just say, there’s nothing wrong with any of them… They’re all hot and bothered and delicious. carnalecstasy_msr200

Being that Slide Down On Me is coming out later than expected, it will push the release of The Sticky Cowgirl back a couple of weeks to the end of February/early March. I am trying not to group releases too close together for both my sanity and your wallet, but mainly my sanity. And, yeah, your wallet. While I want to flood you with books to read, a little time to breathe between hot men is a good thing. I don’t want y’all needing oxygen tanks. Or…maybe I do…

slidedownonme_msr

 

Small-town mechanic and tattooed bad boy Travis keeps his profile low, his needs satisfied outside the city limits, and his business running smoothly. He doesn’t cause trouble and he certainly doesn’t want any. Trouble finds himone scorching afternoon, however, in the form of the equally scorching Arabella Drake. The former heiress owes Travis for car repairs, money she can’t readily pay.

Their situation requires a creative solution, and while most of the town rejects Bella, Travis wants to ravish her. He offers a proposal, one that will soften the repair costs—and satisfy Travis’ longstanding wish to have Bella Drake naked, writhing and sliding down on every inch of him.

 

~lissa

Temptation Tuesday – Runaway Groom

I have a friend. Her name is Virginia Nelson. And her first Samhain book is out today. It’s called, Runaway Groom.

And it’s a hoot! Pick up a copy today!

He’s ready and waiting. She’s wanting…but wary.

RunawayGroom-R(1)Runaway Groom

Watkin’s Pond, Book 1

Links
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

 

The groom is back in town.

Abigail lost her best friend years ago when he ditched her at the altar like a loaf of stale bread. Now he’s back and determined to do whatever he has to—even lie, apparently—to get under her skin. Although he makes her hormones rev to life in a way that no one has since he left, she is equally determined not to fall for his boy-next-door charm.

His bride-to-be is somewhat reluctant.

Braxton Dean was too young and stupid to know better when he walked away. Years of trying to fill the Abby-shaped hole in his heart have left him empty, and now he’s going to win back his girl—or get over her. But first he needs answers. Particularly why she never responded to any of his letters.

It might take a whole town to make this wedding happen.

With the help of their friends, the two battle it out. The army? An entire town of busybodies. The prize? Happily ever after.

Warning: Contains indignant old ladies, steamy sex (but not with indignant old ladies), seduction cake, and condom bouquets. Yes, we went there.

 Enjoy the following excerpt for Runaway Groom:

July 7, 2005

Abby,

I’m sitting in a diner in the desert. The sun peeking over the mountain lights up everything in these reds so bright they almost hurt the eyes. You’ve never felt a hot like this, all dry, nothing like the days that we went swimming over at Watkin’s pond…

I don’t really know why I’m writing you. I don’t have answers and right now you probably want them. I just know I couldn’t do it.

I miss you though.

Love, B

Knuckles white, Abigail put her beat-up Ford Focus in Park, and glanced at her best friend. “I can’t do this.”

“Pussy.” Applying a coat of lipstick to her lush red lips in the mirror, Carnie shot her a glance. “You can do this. It isn’t like you’re about to face a firing squad. It’s just a bonfire.”

Shoving her hand through her short, pixie-cut brown hair, Abigail blew out a frustrated breath. “I would rather face a firing squad. If you ditch me to go running off with the new boyfriend…”

Carnie gave her a dirty look, tucking her red hair behind her shoulder. “I would never do that. I know how bent out of shape you get every time we go anywhere that Braxton might be. Really, though, it will be fine. The crap happened a thousand years ago. You’re adults now.”

Abigail didn’t feel like an adult. She felt like the rejected teenager even thinking of Braxton Dean.

It didn’t help that he’d become sexier with age. Heartbreakingly handsome, Braxton made her thighs clench with just a glance. She needed to remember the pain and humiliation rather than how it felt to be pushed into a bed by him. Better to remember the chest-constricting, blinding terror when he’d ditched her and vanished rather than remember his face a mask of unleashed passion and his green eyes wild with need. The former would keep her knees together.

The terror of that time—it wasn’t something she shared with anyone, not even Carnie.

Remembering gave her the strength she needed to peel her fingers from the wheel. “You’re right, of course. I can do this. No big deal. We’re both more mature now. He probably won’t even say a word to me.” The last came out a bit hopeful, even to her own ears.

“Yeah, at his birthday bonfire, he isn’t going to say a word to the woman he dated for years and ditched at the altar like a loaf of stale bread. Really, Abs, you need to get pissed off rather than feeling pissed on. You’re totally the injured party here.”

“He had his reasons. I’m sure he did.” Why was she defending his dumb ass?

“What reason could be good enough for that grand act of douchebaggery?” Carnie raised one well-plucked brow at her. “Besides, these are our friends. You need to remember why we’re here. He took off. He stayed gone. This is our town. You’re going to walk in there and show him what he is missing. Rub in his face what he can’t have.”

“I don’t know. He really wasn’t a jerk…not most of the time.”

“Let’s just go find Mike and the crew, and have a good time. All of our friends from high school are here and it’ll be good to catch up with them.”

Nodding, stomach still a bit of a knot, Abigail opened her door and stepped out into the muggy Ohio night. Stars hung like tiny lanterns above the recently mowed field and the sound of laughter carried on the breeze. The bonfire, a huge conflagration, was surrounded by what looked like hundreds of folding chairs, coolers and other party miscellany that beckoned Abigail onwards. Who knew? Maybe she would meet someone new and end up being really happy she wasted the extra five minutes to make sure everything was shaved and neat?

Carnie strode with her usual impulsive bravery into the melee. Abigail stuffed her hands in her jeans and resisted casting her head down to avoid any stares that might be coming her way. Instead she held her head high, but refused to meet anyone’s eyes. In small-town Ohio, everyone knew she hadn’t seen Braxton since that fateful day when he left her standing, flowers in hand, waiting for a runaway groom. Everyone knew that instead of marrying her, Braxton—golden boy and football hero—ran off to parts unknown, and she’d neither heard from him nor caught a glimpse of him when he’d come to town until a few weeks ago. He only returned home now to help his father with his tool store after his father’s stroke made it hard for the old man to get around like he used to.

Everyone watched to see how she’d handle it.

She wouldn’t give them a show to chew over for the next decade. She’d act like it was ancient history, like she hadn’t spent years wondering how a man could go from saying he loves her to leaving her to stand alone against a whole swarm of gossips with nothing better to do than tear her to shreds for being moronic enough to think he would stay.

She concentrated so hard on what she wouldn’t do, she slammed to an abrupt halt against a firm chest. His firm chest. Braxton. He smelled the same, damn him.

Even over the scent of wood burning, the ripeness of summer and the bitter tang of someone’s spilled beer, she inhaled his soap, familiar cologne and under it all, simply Braxton.

Her stomach clenched. Part of her wanted to smack him and demand answers. Part of her wanted to run away. Part of her wanted to pull his face down and kiss him because she’d missed him so much.

Instead she hid behind an armor of polite civility and gave a short, sharp nod. “Braxton.”

“Abby.” The word came out almost a plea. His eyes held a sad look she quickly identified. He pitied her.

Double damn him. “Happy birthday.”

And even though she promised herself she wasn’t going to give everyone a show, promised herself she wouldn’t feed the rumor mills…

The sound of her slap rang out across the field. Even in the flickering light from the bonfire, her handprint marked his strong jaw and she couldn’t ignore the pleasure it gave her. Silence seemed to spread across the night as he touched his cheek. Her mouth hung open, shock rippling through her as his gaze locked on hers.

“I deserved that.” The timbre of his voice seemed to stroke across her skin, stirring up a potent cocktail of emotions—lust, love, fury and pain. The worst part was disgust at herself for feeling anything.

“You deserve worse.”

Instead of arguing with her, which almost would have made her feel better, like it meant something to him, he simply nodded. “Wanna go somewhere to talk?”

authorheadshotAbout the Author

Virginia Nelson believed them when they said, “Write what you know.” Small town girl writing small town romance, her characters are as full of flaws, misunderstandings, and flat out mistakes as Virginia herself. When she’s is not writing or plotting to take over the world, she likes to hang out with the greatest kids in history, play in the mud, drive far too fast, and scream at inanimate objects. Virginia likes knights in rusted and dinged up armor, heroes that snarl instead of croon, and heroines who can’t remember to say the right thing even with an author writing their dialogue. Her books are full of snark, sex, and random acts of ineptitude—not always in that order.

Links

Website | Blog | Facebook | FB Author | Amazon | Pinterest | Tumblr

 

 

 

Passionate Sprinkles Books

PinkButtercream200I was told yesterday and have been told many times since Pink Buttercream Frosting that when people thing of me as a writer the things that come to mind have been cupcakes, BDSM, and emotion. It’s only been recently that the BDSM was dropped and honestly, that’s fine with me. I used to want to be an author of erotic BDSM romance, but that was dashed on the rocks by several scathing, mean, less than constructive reviews. My books are not the only ones to have received them and haven’t been the last.

And yes, that was years ago.

And yes, as an author, I’m supposed to look beyond that and keep plugging along. But I was new to all this. My publisher, Samhain Publishing knew what they were doing. Why would they publish a book that was so wrong? My writing of BDSM came from a base of knowledge and personal research that other writers of BDSM do not and will never have. It is more than the act and it is more than the command of a voice. To me. That’s the important part to remember. To. Me.

So, after Pink Buttercream Frosting and after Sweet Caroline and Cracklin’ Rosie, I changed. My writing SweetCarolinewebcoverchanged. I was told ‘you don’t write that the way they want it’, ‘but that’s not what you write’, ‘you shouldn’t try to write that’…

Now, when people think about my writing, it is cupcakes still, thank you, and emotion. I can write emotion. I have felt every inch of emotional range since I began in this business from despair to elation and everything in between. I have made friends and lost them. I have had some wonderful editors and some…not. I have cried and laughed and if I can say anything at all about the experiences, I can say that I have grown a lot.

You must be wondering what all this has to do with Passionate Sprinkles Books, huh? In a long-winded, round about way, it has a lot to do with it. Just bare with me…

I had to come up with an imprint name for my self-published print books when I started the print process on The Cupcake Cowboy. I wanted something that I would use more than once, and I didn’t want to have to go back and use something different later. Many self-published authors have created imprint names and publisher names for their titles and I’ve been wracking my brain for about a year for something that fit me.

CupcakeCowboy200x300Whey my friend mentioned yesterday that when she thinks of me, she thinks cupcakes and emotion, I thought about all the times people have said that to me in the last few years, and I started toying and playing with words to see what I could come up with.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Passionate means: having, showing, or expressing strong emotions or beliefs; expressing or relating to strong sexual or romantic feelings

 Sprinkles…well, who doesn’t like sprinkles on their cupcakes, right? Or on top of a mound of whipped cream with a long-stemmed cherry? Rainbow Nonpareils (the small, sugar pellets), chocolate or rainbow jimmie sprinkles… There are even sprinkles of cinnamon on my lattes. I could coarsely grind coffee beans and use them as sprinkles (with a little coarse sugar, too). Sprinkles are sweet, decorative, pretty… Sprinkles are the extra measure…

Books would be self-explanatory 😉

What was come up with, and what I’ve passed by several other friends, was Passionate Sprinkles Books. They’ve loved it. So, this is going to be on the print books that I self-publish. It’s not sexy, but, it’s reflective.

And I know there are some readers who want to know if I will ever write in the same vein as Pink Buttercream Frosting again and all I can say is, Maybe.

~lissa

 

Thursday’s with TED Talks

Have y’all ever been on the TED website? Ever watched any of their videos? They’re called TED Talks and I love them. I find them informative, inspirational, and educational. I see different points of view on all sorts of subjects. I like that. A 20 minute video while I’m on the treadmill and I’m good…and I’m often left thinking, my brain moving.

So, I thought I’d post some of my favorites on Thursdays.

This one is Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. It’s about muses and genius and since I blogged about my Last Minute Muse yesterday, I thought it was worth watching again, and this time, sharing.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

~lissa

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