Music Monday

LissaLogoYellow_reasonably_smallI’ll be working on several WIPs this week. Trying to finish two and working on something new, so sorta new.

I don’t have contracts on books that aren’t written so I tend to work on more than one, trying to get ahead a little bit and ease the time I’ll have to wait for word back from editors. I do have my own deadlines, but I have a very hard time kicking my own ass into keeping them.

And as discussed before, music plays a huge part in my writing and one of the ways I’m able to switch between WIPs like I am, is largely because of the music I listen to for each one and the mood the different genres can put me in.

The books for this week are Slide Down On Me, The Cupcake Cowboy (y’all will be getting more information on him soon), and Wait For Me… Music selections for the really sexed up stories I write are easier sometimes. Hard rockin’, sexed up music is what I go for… There’s also a lot of 80’s glam mixed in with those.

To get me in the mood for writing on The Cupcake Cowboy, I listen to some Kip Moore, first thing…

Slide Down On Me requires a different sound… I know many people don’t like Nickelback but they have incredibly suggestive and not at all subtle lyrics that really work for some of the feelings I’m trying to evoke between my characters…

Wait For Me is coming soon to an e-tailer near your mouse/phone/tablet/e-reader. I, along with the editor, are trying to work out some of the kinks in the storyline. But it has a deeply emotional feel to it and it required something a little different as well, and something darker…

It’s hard for me to embrace some of the newer music though I constantly scour for the feelings I’m looking for, the lyrics I can relate to or that a character I would write could relate to. But I’m always on the look-out… I’m always listening for something that captures me.

What is your go to music for sex? For pain? For happiness?

Have a great Monday!

~lissa

Sunday Speeds – Talladega and Staying Out of the Big One!

SundaySpeedsThe boys are racing in Alabama on the superspeedway of Talladega today. The race is starting a few minutes early due to weather concerns. I’m glad Nascar is finally doing this. Starting early rather than cutting a race short at the end. Believe me, the fans and the rednecks will show up no matter when you start it. But they’ll be some kinda pissed when you force the ending.

Superspeedways like Talladega and Daytona has seen some of the most incredible racing (save for those few a couple of years ago where they just ran around the track in single file) and some of the most heartbreaking.

It’s exciting to see them on the track at those speeds, full throttle, huge packs of cars moving together.

One of the things I’ve learned  watching this sport, is that at the speeds they drive, whether on superspeedways or on smaller tracks, once the driver decides to make a move, in that moment, he can’t second guess himself. He had to keep going in the direction he chose, whether he’s making the move alone or taking other drivers with him. If he second guesses himself, like in yesterday’s Nationwide race when Joey Coulter started to move out of line but then changed his mind at the last minute… He was wrecked. He wasn’t able to communicate his change of heart.

Sometimes life is like that. Sometimes writing is like that. Once you choose a direction, dropping to the inside or going up on the high side, it’s often hard to back out of it because you can be wrecked. Going with your gut, be it right or wrong in someone else’s eyes, or in your own hindsight, is always the best policy in my book. Only, I haven’t been doing that with my writing for a long time time. I second guess every word I write, I do things now I didn’t used to do, I hold back… And it burns me every time. Readers are ‘meh’ about my books, reviewers are even worse than ‘meh’ and I’m left feeling like I shouldn’t even bother, day in and day out.

In racing, when you lose your edge, you should probably get out of the car or you’re going to get run over and put into the wall. You’ll cause more crashes than you’ll stay out of.

In writing, when you lose your edge, for whatever reason, you’ll get passed and eventually no one will remember the books you wrote.

Is there a way to get the edge back? I don’t know. I’ve been trying but I can’t seem to quite do it. In the end, we all have to work on our own cars in the garage and our own manuscripts in the folder, hoping that maybe we’ll find that extra bit of something that will keep us competitive and in the race rather than crashed in the middle of the pack, our day ended early, and that sick feeling in our gut again.

Best of luck to Kyle Busch in the #18 M&M’s Camry today… He’s starting 13th.

 

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Her Man

snippetsaturdaySometimes first impressions are the ones that stick with us. Sometimes our first impressions can change over time based on future actions.

I’m definitely one for first impressions and I admit I can be wrong from time to time as well, but generally, my gut is right.

Of course, there’s always the first impression that has everything to do with looks rather than gut instinct about personality. And a lot of times in romance, that’s what is noticed first. Looks. How he looks in jeans or a suit or uniform. How he looks naked. His eyes. His hair. Whether he has tattoos or not. Clean cut or rugged.

Sometimes looks can be deceiving. Sometimes not…

troubleinthemaking200

”Really? You’re not going to turn around and look at me?”

What was she afraid of? She’d done the hard part. Well, not the hard hard part, but she’d asked him to give her a long, fantasy weekend and he’d said yes. He wasn’t nervous, or at least he didn’t appear to be, so what was her issue? It was an easy answer. She was the wallflower. It had been her Achilles’ heel all her life. In the safe haven of her home, of her little neighborhood, she was open and comfortable with her life. He represented the opposite of all that, and though it scared her, when she was with him, she couldn’t help but be drawn to it.

”I get it,” he said, coming to stand beside her now. ”You’re taken aback by my celebrity, aren’t you? It’s finally hit you just how famous I am.” Johnny sighed dramatically and Liz couldn’t stop herself from looking at him. He didn’t turn his head to meet her gaze, but there was a little smirk on his lips that, as she stared at it, started to ease the nervousness coursing through her. ”I knew it would catch up to you sooner or later. I know I’m quite the catch for women. I mean, look at me? I’m the quintessential over-the-hill rock star who still wears leather, has long hair and thinks he’s smokin’ hot. Chicks still dig me, baby.”

Liz laughed and nudged him with her shoulder. The familiarity of their long-standing friendship settled in the small space between them. He was as much a smartass now as he’d ever been.. He knew his celebrity didn’t matter to her. She was proud of him, proud to know him as a person, as an imperfect, but gorgeous man. She was proud to have known him before he’d ever struck it rich with a hit song, and he knew how hard something like this weekend was for someone so quiet, how out of character it was for her to make the first move. Her inability to turn around and face him was not for any reason other than fear, a little anxiety and a whole lot of discomfort with the immediate situation. She didn’t like being this way sometimes, but more often than not, the homebody in her kicked in and she stayed rooted to what she knew. ”Thank you,” she said softly.

”There’s nothing to thank me for.”

”There is. You’re helping an old friend step outside herself for a while.” She’d spent a great deal of time living her personal life vicariously through other people, the characters from her books and, Johnny. He was well traveled and he never failed to entertain and amuse her with some of his stories, the antics of his band, the daring things their fans would do just to be able to touch their coattails.

It was high time she did some real life living of her own.

”True… In a way,” he added softly.

”What do you mean, in a way?” For the moment, she’d forgotten her nervousness. She couldn’t tell if he was still teasing her or if he was just being cryptic and trying to keep her on her toes.

”I don’t have completely selfless motives in having said yes to this.”

Liz scoffed. ”Well, of course you don’t. I’m sure if we actually go through with it that you’ll at least…you know, benefit from it.” She couldn’t make herself say that he’d come, that he’d get sexual pleasure, but he knew that was what she meant. Right?

”Benefit? Really? Is that what they’re calling it these days?”

”Oh shut up.”

Johnny grinned and pinned her with a look for the space of a heartbeat, then lowered his ice-blue eyes. It wasn’t as dark blue a shade as the blue ice found in glaciers, but it was stunning just the same. His gaze roamed her body, from her purple-painted toes to her messy pony-tailed head. ”I like the just-out-of-bed look, Liz.”

She smiled, self consciousness prickling her skin, and she stuffed down hard on the urge to fidget. ”You’ve never seen me just out of bed. For all you know, this could be my everyday look now.”

”True. Though I’ve never seen you like this, I know it’s not how you usually go out in public.” He lowered his head. “Doesn’t mean I haven’t wanted to see your just-out-of-bed look for years.” The words were whispered against the side of her neck and she shivered. The man was hell on her nervous system.

He waggled his eyebrows when she chanced a glance at him and his wicked laugh echoed off the walls of the nearly empty room when he stood straight again. ”I’ll be at the table over there.” He pointed to the farthest corner of the coffee bar. ”Come join me.”

”I really need to get back to my room and…” And what? Doing him was all she had planned.

”C’mon, now. I don’t bite. No need to stay so shy with me.”

She slanted him a look. ”You don’t bite? Really? That’s not the magazines said,” she quipped. “And my shyness is harder to shake than you might think.”

”I know it is. Especially now, but we’re going to work on that.”

”Good luck with that. It’s not as though I go around asking men to meet me for…for… You know.” She dropped her voice to barely a whisper so as not to be overheard, even though there wasn’t anyone within earshot to hear their conversation. The counter was still several feet ahead and given the noise of the espresso machines, they could’ve shouted and it would have been difficult for anyone to catch on to what they were saying.

He appeared to contemplate her meaning, but in the end, shook his head. ”No, I don’t think I do know. You’re going to have to be more specific.”

Were her eyes as wide as she thought they must be? Was her mouth hanging open as she feared it likely was? ”You do too know, Johnny.”

”Still… Just to be sure, I think you need to spell it out for me. I don’t want to be here under false pretenses. However, hearing my name on your lips like that might just have been worth the trip.”

”You can’t be serious?” How red were her cheeks? And a glance at his face told her he was completely serious. ”I…I can’t say it. Not here.”

”You can say it anywhere, Liz. Since we’re here, though, it’s as good a place as any. Besides, you said it at dinner the a few weeks ago.”

”That was different,” she hissed. If he was trying to rattle her, he was doing a damn good job of it.

”Nah. It wasn’t. It only took you through the salad course to get the question out, but you know how it is. I’m older now, I’ve been playing music for years at decibels that are off the charts. There’s that man thing too. We don’t listen all that well the first time around.”

”You’re impossible.”

”Oh baby girl, you haven’t seen me naked yet. I promise you, it’s quite possible.” He leaned down close and nipped at her ear with his gorgeous, full and kissable and definitively wicked lips. ”I’ll let you off the hook this one time. All bets are off after this. Get your coffee and come sit with me. That’s not a request or a suggestion.”

He stayed next to her, staring at her until she turned her head and met his gaze. There was no humor or challenge in his eyes. Liz nodded slowly and watched as he stood to his full height. He towered over her. His long blond hair hung loose across his shoulders and back, the scruff of dark-blond beard made him look rough around the edges and the icy blue of his eyes held her frozen in place, melting everything deep down inside her.

”Johnny Trouble,” she breathed. ”You do live up to your name.” She turned away and his low chuckle reverberated down her spine when he disappeared to the table he’d indicated a few minutes ago. She took the steps forward to the counter, resisting the urge to follow him with her eyes. Resistance proved futile. Her attention was riveted to the sway of the hem of his leather duster.

”Ma’am?”

Heat flooded her cheeks as she met the impatient look of the barista. ”S-sorry.”

”What can I get you?”

Liz surveyed the menu again. What was it she’d settled on before? ”Dark-chocolate mocha with caramel drizzle, please.”

”Whip?”

”Yes, please.” She was on vacation. She could splurge on the extra calories for the weekend, especially considering the exercise she was planning to get. The laid kind of exercise. There. She said it. In her head, but it was a start. She was there, in a ritzy hotel, to get laid. By a rock star.

”Would you like an extra shot of espresso?”

”You have no idea how much I’d like one,” she said, a little too enthusiastically to her own ears.

Liz paid the bill, gave her name, and against her better judgment, made her way to Johnny’s table. His smile was gentle,, non-threatening and he motioned for her to sit. If it had been any of his other smiles, she’d have probably turned tail, flipped out of her flops and run away.

The thing about Johnny’s smiles were that as long as you looked at his mouth, they were just smiles. The real meanings behind them were conveyed in the way his eyes would shift and change with his moods and with who happened to be in front of him.

He was always an open book, but there was always more to him when it came to certain people. Some got the friendly smile, some got the tolerant but you’re an asshole one, some got the get-the-hell-away-from-me one

He was an enigma and she’d spent four years in high school watching him, staring at him, studying him, lusting after him. Here, more than twenty years after graduation, she was still just as taken with him.

~

Now, on this chilly (at least here in North Carolina) Saturday morning, grab something warm to drink and visit the following blogs for more snippets…

Myla Jackson
Lauren Dane
Leah Braemel
Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
Jody Wallace
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Felicity Heaton
TJ Michaels

Have a fantastic day!

~lissa

Author Friday – New Release: Trouble In The Making

troubleinthemaking200You’ve probably heard me or a handful of others talk about the fact that I have a new release from Ellora’s Cave today. It’s the first one in over two years, the last one being Ink Spots which was part of the Simple Need collection. And yes, for those waiting, there will be another one coming.

But for right now, I’ve given you Trouble In The Making.

It’s fun. It’s honest. It’s sexy. It’s got coffee. It’s personal. It’s fantasy, and it’s fiction. It is what it is and nothing more.

I approach books that I read on that basis and that basis alone. It’s very simple and keeps me from being pissed or disappointed when I reach the end. Unless there’s a massive cliffhanger and the author doesn’t intend to keep going…then I’m gonna get a little irked. But some books, mine especially, aren’t meant to be more than what they are, more than the title suggests. Maybe it’s part of living in the moment and being happy with what we’ve got. Sure, look forward to the next book or movie or coffee re-fill, but be happy with that moment, those characters, that action, that sip.

Trouble In The Making is about two friends, old friends, high school friends who’ve moved on, lived life, fulfilled dreams, had jobs, failed marriages, but who after a reunion and a reconnection, find there’s more they want and the first one to make the move, surprisingly, is Liz.

She begins to grow in this book. And the title, Trouble IN THE Making is about that. Her growing, her becoming… Her taking that step toward him and what she’s always fantasized about… Johnny Trouble.

I did some growing as I wrote this. I took a similar path as Liz in that I had to come out of my shell to do some things that were scary for me. She examines herself and Johnny tries to make her see herself as he’s seen her for years. Most times, dear reader, that is the hardest thing for any of us… Too see ourselves as others see us when they see amazing, beautiful, sexy, talented, etc…

Blurb:

Johnny Trouble. He’s a commanding presence in leather and tattoos, both on stage and off. He’s had more than his fair share of groupies and lovers, but it’s time for a change and he reconnects with the one woman whose memory has driven him crazy since high school. Liz.

She’s a quiet, shy romance author who likes her comfort zones. But when Johnny comes back into her life after years of living in the spotlight, Liz’s private fantasies shift into overdrive and she nervously asks him to fulfill them.

Just one weekend is all she proposes, but the sparks flying between them when Johnny touches her aren’t temporary. She’s the particular brand of trouble he wants in his bed, bent over, or crawling all over him. Forever.

He just has to convince her by any means necessary…

This title is available at Ellora’s Cave and will soon be available on Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Barnes and Noble.

Read an excerpt

And don’t forget that I’m giving away a copy of either Keep It Together or Trouble In The Making to one of the commentors from Monday’s Music Monday post…

Enjoy your weekend and read something HOT!

~lissa

 

Music Monday

LissaLogoYellow_reasonably_smallYeah, I know. Pick your jaw up off the floor. This is the 4th day in a row for me blogging? I know I’m just as surprised as you, but hey, I’m trying.

So yeah, let’s talk music. I’m all over the place. Classical to screamin’ metal. I’m very particular and yet I’m not. I like the familiar, but I’ll try something new on and every now and then I’ll find something that doesn’t give me a headache.

I started going to live concerts when I was…young. 10 years old or so… I was hooked. I’ve been to every kind of show you could imagine. I’ve seen world renowned classical and jazz and gospel stars to the baddest bad boys of 80’s glam rock and everything in between. Some I’ve seen more than once, some I’d kill to see again.

Music plays a huge part in my writing, too. Both have been a part of me since I was a kid. I didn’t attend a normal high school but rather an arts high school and in the midst of us were the guys in local bands…long hair, smoking, leather, guitars, gravel laden voices, bad reputations. Oh. My. God. Though that was more than 20 years ago, I’m still obsessed with the bad ones, the naughty ones, the nothing but trouble on their minds ones.

And I saw enough concerts when RATT, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Poison, Cinderella, Kiss, Def Leppard, Aerosmith, Guns ‘N Roses, Skid Row, etc… from the ages of 14 to 18 that… Yeah, I my head was filled with naughty, sex, hard rockin’ tattooed guys that… I never quite got over it.

So when I write, the music has to be there. And I’ve written books listening to different types of music. Usually one type or one particular artist or one particular album/song plays over and over until the book is finished. Music is also how I can write on multiple books at a time. Different genres of music put different ideas in my head and make me feel different emotions. I hope, when the books are done, that those pieces and parts have come together well.

For these latest releases, the most recent to the one coming at the end of the week, different music was listened to during the writing of…

Keep It Together was written with the help of the music by Miranda Lambert, primarily her latest album, Four the Record and the song, Mama’s Broken Heart…

And Trouble In The Making was helped along by Nickelback’s Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good…

I don’t have a choice but to write with music. It fuels the story. It fuels my thoughts and ideas and emotions. It sparks something that doesn’t let go until the last words are written. The books and scenes in my head are extensions of me and the music that I listen to, that I grew up with resonates in a way that is impossible for me to ignore. It goes much deeper than simply needing something to inspire. It flows through my veins like nothing else.

When the music is gone, it’s likely the stories will be too… Let’s hope that doesn’t happen anytime soon.

Do you have a favorite band of all time? What was our first concert? I’d love to know… And in exchange, I’ll be giving away a copy of Keep It Together or Trouble In The Making on Saturday to one of the commentors.

~lissa

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