Sunday Speeds and a Reader’s Email

SundaySpeedsThe boys of Nascar were in Richmond, Virginia last night well, it didn’t turn out so hot for my driver. He was shuffled back, caught up in a wreck, had loads of damage. I was pissed. I admit it. I’m passionate about my racing as much as I am about my football.

The NFL Draft was held this weekend too and several of my Seminoles were taken. Actually, many of my Seminoles were taken in the draft. Two of my favorites. German born, defensive end Bjoern Werner was drafted into the Colts, and kicker Dustin Hopkins was drafted into Buffalo where he’ll play with Florida State teammate and quarterback, EJ Manuel.

I love the Draft. It’s like re-living college football from last season all over again. And let me tell you, I’m so ready for football season now! Yet, sadly, we have to go through May, June, July, and most of August before we get there…

So, racing was the pits for my driver this weekend, but the draft was good to my boys in garnet and gold.

The second part of this blog is about an email I found this morning in my inbox from a reader. The title of it was More Than This and I couldn’t help but groan as I opened it. I didn’t want to see another email that wasn’t very kind about this book. I loved these characters and  it’s a hard thing for a writer, at least for me as a writer, for so many people to not only not love but not even like these or other characters I’ve written. I think because I put part of me, or part of people I know into what I write that if the reader/reviewer doesn’t like the character then there’s some part of me they don’t like. I know. It’s kinda convoluted, but there it is…

Needless to say, it was not one of those ‘I was really disappointed in this book and couldn’t connect to these characters at all’ emails. In fact, it was quite the opposite and for that I was grateful. As I read on, she mentioned my post from Author Friday and said I sounded down. I apologize for that, to her and to others who read it. It wasn’t meant that way. Oftentimes, I think the reality of a situation, whether it be my perception of reality or someone else’s, can seem like we’re down. There are also those who don’t like reality, don’t like the truth of what is being observed. If anything my post let out some frustration and allowed me to admit, to myself especially some discouragement.

We all want the accolades, the editors begging us for more, the reviewers loving and gushing over us the way they do other authors and books, the multiple contracts, the best sellers lists, the readers who are out telling everyone they know to go buy our books… But, the reality is, we don’t all get that. The vast majority of us don’t. And with the lovely world of social media, it’s in our faces daily, hourly, by the minute and by the second.

It’s the same with incredibly prolific writers. The desire and wish to tap into that ability, but… We’re not all built that way, we don’t all write that way…

Coming to terms with some of this reality isn’t fun or easy or pretty at all. But as long as it doesn’t keep me or anyone else from doing what we love, which is write, then it’s all good in the end.

I write characters I like. It’s hard to not feel responsible while at the same time hard to not say that if you don’t like them then that’s your problem. Same with the actual books. If you don’t like the way I write, then don’t read it. It’s really quite simple. And yet, as writers, we don’t want to alienate anyone. It’s a catch-22. But I’m not down about it. Discouraged sometimes, yes, as we all are, but not down. I still have stories to write, hundreds of them, and that makes me happy.

Emails like the one I received this morning, emails where the only message is one of encouragement and trying to make someone smile… We could all use a few more of those.

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Author’s Choice

snippetsaturdayYay! Author’s Choice. Only, I’m struggling to figure out which new release to choose from. I have three, you see. Keep It Together is the one that just came out. Trouble In The Making comes out next Friday, the 3rd. Batter Up will come out on May 14th. And Wait For Me is targeted for May 31st.

There’s a lot going on in my small corner of the writing world. And I’m very excited for all these releases. But as for today, author’s choice? Let’s go with Batter Up. It’s part of Loose Id’s Spring Fling line and will be available exclusively through Loose Id.

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“And this is police business?”

“If I find someone to arrest, yes.”

“Been there, done that,” she muttered, but loud enough for him to hear, and he laughed.

“Yes you have. So, what’s been going on? I caught some of it on the radio, but when the announcers are biased, it kind of takes some of the fun out of it.”

“Yeah, that’s what takes away the fun. Whatever you have to tell yourself to feel better.”

Her sarcasm wasn’t lost on him, and he nudged her shoulder. “Shut up.”

“Fat chance. As you can see, the Phillies are really what sucks in this town. Third game in the series, and y’all can’t get a batter on base.”

“They were waiting for me to show up. They knew I couldn’t be here for the first two games, and they were waiting for me to be here before they turned it on.” Two could play the smartass game.

“Oh. Well, by all means, work your magic then, Officer, but be forewarned, my Braves are still going to kick your butts all the way back to Pennsylvania.”

Much as he loved his team, she was likely going to be right. “Just watch the game.”

“Oh come on now. You’re not a sore loser, are you?” Her sarcasm was not lost on him, and she knew it.

“You know better than that. You should just keep your eye on the ball. I don’t need any further comments from the peanut gallery.”

“Or what?”

“Or seventh-inning stretch, I’ll give you something to be sore about.”

“Are you threatening me, Officer?”

“Only if you take it that way. I prefer to look at it as more of a promise. Less incriminating that way.”

“Ah.”

She said nothing further, only smiled slightly. They settled in and watched as the Phillies struck out twice, were walked once, and had a ball ground out at second. Michael fought the urge to bury his face in his hand or poke his eyes out.

Holli leaned her head close to his. “So, exactly how sore?”

“What?”

“You said you were going to give me something to be sore about. How sore?”

“Really? My guys are down four nothing heading into the bottom of the sixth, and you want to have a conversation about how sore I can make your behind?” Michael shook his head and smirked. He wasn’t bothered by the conversation or that she talked near constantly during a game. He didn’t mind the running commentary. That he’d found a woman who loved baseball as much as he did thrilled him.

“Well, I wanna know, and it’s not as if us talking is going to change anything happening on the field.”

She was right about that. “Very,” he answered. But he had to have a little hope left. “And you never know. It’s not as if the Braves haven’t been known to give a game away every now and then.”

“But at least we try. How sore is very?”

He pressed his lips to her ear. “It’s you-won’t-be-able-to-sit-still-in-your-seat-if-you-don’t-cut-it-out sore.”

“Oh.”

Batter Up is a short story continuation of my book Arrested Holiday.

Please take some time today and read through the following blogs for their choice of snippets:

Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Lissa Matthews
Myla Jackson
Lauren Dane
Jody Wallace
Leah Braemel
Mandy M. Roth
Felicity Heaton
Mari Carr
Selena Blake

Author Friday – I’m Not Writing Fast Enough

LissaLogoYellow_reasonably_smallI know you’re shocked. Two blog posts in a row. There will be a third tomorrow for Snippet Saturday so… It’s crazy! Kind of like the NFL Draft last night. Three Alabama Crimson Tide players drafted back to back to back. But really, there’s no surprise there. Just look at them… They’re tough. There were also three of my FSU ‘Noles drafted last night, two were back to back. One was a complete shock and surprise and I’m thrilled… I also digress.

The title of this is “I’m not writing fast enough”. It’s true. I’m not. You’ve also heard me say I’m pretty much starting over with this writing gig. It’s harder the second time around to boost the career than it was the first time. Why? Especially if I have some readers already? Because there’s competition. Lots of it. And there always has been, but it’s different now. Every Tom, Dick, Harry, and their sister Sally can self-publish. There’s also the knowledge of what the numbers or lack there of on rankings means. When I first started out, I didn’t know. I just knew I was thrilled when someone talked about my book or mentioned my name. Now, if anyone mentions either one, it’s lost in the sea of other names fifty different people are talking about constantly. There are favorites…among publishers, readers, book bloggers. So, knowledge can work against a writer and ignorance being bliss is sometimes the way to go. Just not paying attention, just burying your head in the books you’re writing. But even that doesn’t work for everyone anymore. Being visible is a key for some and not for others.

I know now what the numbers mean. I know when a book is selling. And when it’s not. But, what’s left to do? What works and what doesn’t in getting the word out so enough people go after it, especially if you’re not writing in a genre that everyone is buying? It’s easy to want to jump on the BDSM, the M/M, the New Adult bandwagon just so you can maybe get a sales boost.

Then of course there is the not writing fast enough. Day jobs. Kids. Home schooling. House cleaning. Exercise. Family. Sleep. Down time. I can comfortably write four thousand words a day. But sometimes that means ignoring everything else, especially if the words are having to be etched in blood with a razor blade. And I don’t have a husband who picks up the slack. Kids help, yes, but it’s still primarily me. Super mom. Super homemaker. Not so Super writing. So no, I’m not writing fast enough. I’m trying to hock my books on the street corners of the internet. But, when I see authors who do write fast enough, who are churning out books left and right, saying they desperately need sales, begging for them, or authors starting fundraisers in order to continue writing a series… This bothers me. Why aren’t these authors selling? What is it readers are looking for that these authors of multiple genres aren’t giving them?

I haven’t jumped on the street team bandwagon either. I’m not much of a bandwagon jumper anyway, but… Are the street teams worth it? Do they help boost sales? A writer can only write as fast as she or he can write and still write a good book. When readers are reading 3-4 books a day… Maybe this world of Buy Now With 1-Click is killing us… ( I know it kills my bank account)

It’s always been a crap shoot. If a writer is trying to make a living at this, they write. A lot. They publish. And they talk about their book constantly, but when the sales never take off, when the book sits stagnant, what’s a writer to do? Write something else. So they do and still the book sits, stagnant. They advertise, blog, beg for reviews, have giveaways, get swag printed up, and still… Nothing helps, nothing changes.

Some publishers have much better sales than others. But their wait times are a year or more for publication. Is it worth it? I don’t know. I’ve been pondering that question for months as I write. What I turn in this year to one of my publishers, won’t see the light of day until Spring of 2014 and on into 2015. Hard to make a living that way.

Some can make a living self-publishing. Some can’t.

And writing to make money is always the biggest crap shoot of all. When there are words that need to be written, not because readers are (hopefully) waiting, not because you need money to pay the rent or insurance (these are important no doubt), but just because the words need to get outside your head and on to the paper (or screen)… Writing is not a get rich quick thing for most writers. Most of us never see rich or even making ends meet.

So, is it that we don’t write fast enough? Is it that we don’t write the right thing? I write. I put out books. I doubt every word. But I keep at it. I don’t get the multiple contracts or the offers to submit on proposal, but I still keep at it. There’s a lot of what I don’t get. There’s a lot of what I don’t understand. There’s a lot that frustrates me. There’s a lot of second guessing and trying something new. There’s a lot of envy, some jealousy, some plain ‘ol dislike at the unfairness of things and the favoritism and the preferential treatment. In the end though, there’s a lot of writing. A LOT OF WRITING. A lot of putting words down. It might be in a blurb, a synopsis, but it’s getting the words down in order to get the book out. It’s writing and though I want to make money at it, though I want to sell thousands of copies, though I want to make it to a best seller list, though I want, I want, I want… What I need, what I started out to do five years ago, is write. And it might not be fast enough for readers or publishers, but I write. I might get distracted by what I don’t have, but I write. I might get bad reviews and swear I’m never going to write another word, I still write.

This is my job. It pays for the plumber, the transmission, the races, the concerts, the brakes, the tires, the cats, the birthdays, the holidays, the vacations I don’t get to take, the conventions, the promo, the groceries in the house, the gas, the golf lessons for my son, the porch railing, the cell phones, the coffee, the desperately needed night at the movies, etc… But even without a dime, I still need to write. I’ve been doing it since I was a child. It’s a compulsion, it’s an addiction. Just like coffee. Just like reading.

Maybe I don’t write fast enough. Maybe I don’t write what someone else wants me to write. Maybe I don’t write what everyone else is writing. Maybe I’m not writing to suit the reader’s preferences. But, I’m still writing.

And speaking of which…

~lissa

 

 

In The Kitchen With…Lissa

InTheKitchenMe.

It’s been a long time, huh? I know. I feel it too. I need to get back to talking to y’all. It’s not that I don’t love ya anymore, only that I’m trying to get books written for y’all to read.

I’ve been cooking a lot lately too. I actually cook every day so… In my house we’ve gone with theme nights. At least that’s what I call them.

Monday: Comfort Food
Tuesday: Italian
Wednesday: Crock-pot
Thursday: Finger Foods (Pizza, Burgers, BBQ Nachos, etc…)
Friday: Mexican
Saturday: Salads and Leftovers
Sunday: Breakfast

This has helped me a great deal in dinner preparation. It breaks down things enough that I can try different things without having to rack my brain going through every food category on the planet. If I already have an idea in my head, it makes my life that much easier. It’s not as tedious as meal planning, because I still like the open-ended creativity without the planning, but it narrows things down for me. It helps my family too with making requests/suggestions…

Do you do meal planning to any degree? If so, what is your process?

Something else I’ve started doing lately is taking some of my herbal and flavored teas from Teavana and making quarts of iced tea. It’s finally starting to get warm out and while my typical beverage menu (for myself) includes coffee and water, I do love iced tea. I am a Southern girl, after all. This week I’ve made Watermelon Mint Chiller and Blackberry Mojito. I made a simple syrup (2 parts water to 1 part sugar for a slightly thinner syrup) to sweeten them with, and it’s been a very nice deviation from the norm. (I think I’m trying to channel Chrissie from Keep It Together with her iced tea)

I’m going to get back to writing now, but we’ll get together again soon to talk about what I’m cooking up or baking…

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Try A Little Tenderness

snippetsaturdayAfter the events this week in both Boston and Texas, we all need a little tenderness. With the events in the world in general, tenderness is something every man, woman, child, and animal could use. A hug, a kind word, a smile… It’s not too much and it’s not hard.

In my contemporary erotic romance, Keep It Together, our hero Colt, offers tender concern for Chrissie after she’s been left at the altar…

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The sunshine streaming in through the windows seemed a little out of place to Chrissie’s way of thinking. It should be dark and overcast with thunder rumbling in the distance. That would fit her mood better than birds chirping and clear skies and bright sunlight.

There shouldn’t be someone knocking on the door either. It was only fuck-you-o’clock in the morning. Didn’t whoever it was know she’d been jilted at the altar? ’Cause her whole damn hometown of Pembroke, Georgia, a mere thirty miles to the west of Savannah, had been invited and had been there to witness her humiliation when her groom decided not to show up.

She fumbled with the locks, and for good scare-the-shit-out-of-her-unwanted-guest measure, grabbed up her brand-new rifle, and threw open the front door. She barely stopped it from banging against the wall and shattering the leaded glass front. “Damn it’s cold out here,” she muttered, shielding her eyes from the early morning light.

“Good morning, Chrissie.”

Her visitor was in shadow, and she had to move to the left a little to get a better look at him, though she’d have known that voice anywhere. It was deep and warm, smooth like molasses. The first time she heard it, and each time after, her brain had latched on and committed it to memory. It flowed and caressed and wrapped her in comfort.

Colt Fisher was the last person she’d expected to show up at her door. And that little thrill spreading through her at the fact that he was there? It was inappropriate, and for the moment, she was going to chalk it up to the whiskey still affecting her. “Colt? Do you know what time it is? What the hell are you doing here? How’d you know where to find me? I’m mad at you.”

He nodded. There wasn’t a hint of his usual easy smile on his way-too-perfect lips, and she felt bad about her outburst. She— Wait. Too perfect lips? Why was she looking at his lips anyway? That little thrill was growing.

“Yeah. I do know what time it is, and I apologize for waking you so early. I‘m on my way to the airport and… Well, I was concerned for you. I dropped by your parents’ house in Pembroke last night to talk to you, and they said you’d come back here to Savannah. I didn’t even know you lived here. It was important to me to see you and make sure you were all right. When you left the church yesterday, you looked…I don’t know, brittle I guess. And yes, I know you’re mad at me. You have every right to be.”

What the hell was she supposed to say to that? “My place is a bit far from the airport,” she remarked, touched that he would go out of his way like that for her. They had almost been family, and standing there on her porch, she realized they hadn’t known each other as well as they should have for the commitment she’d almost made to his brother.

And now Colt was being agreeable and kind and sweet and she was being a pill. She lowered the rifle to rest against her hip, and smiled a little at the way his gaze followed the move. “Don’t worry. I’m not planning to shoot you.”

Colt nodded and his blue eyes once again met hers. “I suppose you were thinking I might be Russ.”

“I won’t say it didn’t cross my mind.”

He nodded again. “When Russ didn’t show up at my hotel Friday night for the bachelor party and didn’t return my calls…” He shook his head and turned the cowboy hat he held by the brim in a circle between his fingers. “I honestly thought he was just out with guys from his law firm and blowing off what he thought would have been a boring way to spend his last night as a single man. I figured he’d show up yesterday morning at his place with a hangover, and that’d be it. I never imagined he wouldn’t show up at all. I am so sorry.”

Chrissie was stunned at the apology. Colt was a nice man and obviously cared deeply for the people in his life, even those on the edges and those he never need see again. “Crap,” she groaned and stomped her foot. “How am I supposed to stay mad at you now? You just ruined it with kindness.” She sneered for a split second and gave a huge sigh. “Apology accepted, but honestly, it’s not your place to apologize for your brother.” She didn’t like seeing him feeling bad for something that was not at all his fault.

“All part of my charm, I suppose. If it’s all the same to you though, I’d rather you not be mad at me because Russ was stupid.”

end Snippet

I don’t generally add buy links to snippets, but with this being a new release and all… It is available at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Loose Id

Now, after you procure yourself a copy of the book 😉 please take a few minutes and read through the following blogs for more tenderness snippets:

Shelli Stevens
Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
TJ Michaels
Lissa Matthews
Myla Jackson
Lauren Dane
Jody Wallace
Leah Braemel
Mandy M. Roth
Felicity Heaton

~lissa

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