Catch-Up Day

Are you there, readers? It’s me, Lissa. I know some of you are still there because you email me, check in with me, check in on me. Some of you (though I’m not naming names, Lynda) have even threatened to join my Ellora’s Cave editor in kicking my ass if I didn’t get a move on. Y’all should know me well enough by now to know how much I love toughness, roughness, and thinly veiled threats used as motivational tools.

I love y’all. I do. You guys mean the world to me and your unwavering support is truly amazing. There are things about this business that I could have never dreamed possible for myself and the readers that have found my books and really love them are amongst those things…

I am reading a book at the moment, actually, I am reading half a dozen books at the moment, but one of them is titled Bullies, Bastards, and Bitches. It is a non-fiction craft book about the creating of bad guys and gals in fiction. This book has spoken to me and so far I’m only just beyond the preface. It’s the preface though that caught and held me.

The author pinpointed exactly how I have been feeling since early December. “…anemic and wrung dry. …began reading to replenish the words, concepts, and images I needed to write… …a sort of triage for the writer’s soul… The ragged edges of my brain started mending and were replaced by… characters, plots, scenes… And I fell back in love with this part of my life.” (Jessica Page Morrell, Bullies Bastards and Bitches, page 1)

She goes on to talk about vulnerability and how the different things that happen in our lives create this vulnerability, this hurt, this pain, this rock bottom feeling that takes time to heal, that takes time to learn from, that takes time to grow from and to find ourselves again from… And let me tell you, vulnerability sucks, especially when you have no control over how or when or why or what. Words you wish you could forget, deeds you wish could be undone… But, it’s like Spring, as cliche as that sounds. Coming out from the darkness and the cold into the light and warm sunshine, a blooming takes effect. You’ve learned something, you’ve grown, you’ve seen and overcome. You can move on and move forward, embrace the next phase of things… That’s me in a nutshell at this point.

My reader, Lynda, commented in an email the other day that not counting Ink Spots, it’s been way too long since I’ve had a new release. Now, I’m not sure why she’s not counting Ink Spots, but… It’s going to be a few months before there’s a release. You see, one has to have a book finished to turn in and I don’t have that. It was remarked upon that Forever In Blue Jeans was nearly complete according to the sidebar over there, and in some ways it is and in some ways it isn’t. I have roughly 35000 words on it. But not a lick of it makes any sense. It’s been started, restarted, and restarted again. It’s had plot changes galore. So, it’s being re-worked. Again. This time with it’s author, ME, having a clearer less stressed head on her shoulders.

I have also found the hero, Cort…

Or rather, the inspiration for him, something I didn’t have a clear idea on before.

The time away from writing allowed me to not only read more, but also to embrace once again other things I’d missed. Laughing. Playing games with my kids. Cooking. Crocheting. Organizing. Being creative in ways that had nothing to do with writing, but that helped to feed my soul so that one day I could return to writing.

I have undertaken the task of re-organizing and decluttering my house. I’ve enlisted the help of my daughter to paint and add color. I’ve created a new blog with the intention to document and find some accountability to do these projects, to keep my focus in different areas at different times so that I don’t burn out and let the negative get to me so much that I hit rock bottom again with my writing.

The biggest thing so far that I’ve done is created space in my house for me. We’ve transformed the ‘family room’ into a home office/craft space for me. In all the years that I’ve worked from home, which is 11 years, I’ve never had ‘space’ of my own. I’ve always had to make due and while this is still me making due, I’ve put my own personal touches on it, added in things I love, and it’s right here at the kitchen, too, so… I can cook and bake as well. I don’t look on these as chores 99% of the time, so it works. I’ll be documenting this transformation on my new blog as well. I’ll also be talking about it on Eileen Andrews blog this year.

The family room turned office/craft area/business center/home school paperwork place has started the decluttering and organization process as well. I love this kind of stuff. I mean, I truly love it. It gives me energy in a way that a walk around the block never has, though that has it’s place as well. I read books on decluttering and magazine articles, and it’s inspiring, mood lifting, stress relieving. These are all things that I need.

Are y’all bored yet? Grins…

I just wanted to touch base, to let you all know I’m still here, even more here than I’ve been in the last almost two months. And to those of you who have asked, and hoped that I would started writing again, thank you. I have.

Oh and for those of you that weren’t with me last year in February, I had a birthday party on my blog where I invited authors to come on and share excerpts and giveaways. I am doing something similar this year, only the ‘presents’ that I’m giving away have grown a little larger. I will be giving you details in the next couple of days as I wrap up the guest list of authors and bloggers that will be participating. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Stay tuned!

~lissa

Birthday Bash Winners!!!! Congrats, All!

Okay y’all! It’s time to announce winners! I have used Random.org to choose who won what.
I want to say a special Thank You to all the authors that participated and offered up gifts. To the Black Raven for contributing an ebook of the winner’s choice, as well. 
And I want say Thank You to the reader. Y’all made this very special and very fun and I was completely humbled by the responses. It was more than I’d even imagined. 
I hope you were introduced to some new to you authors and that you’ll give them all a try as all are very awesome and wonderful. 
Now, on to the winners. If you had not provided your email address in your comments, please comment to this post with that email address so the author can contact you and get your present to you!

Reader’s Choice of one of Lissa’s available titles: Amy, katsrus, Sweet Vernal Zephyr
Reader’s Choice of one of Ava March’s available titles: Joder
Sin on Skin by Mari Freeman: meingee
Love in Exile by Samantha Kane: Tamsyn
Pearl Heartstone by Leila Brown: Anna Shah Hogue
The Wine Tasting by Selena Blake, along with her free read Friday Night Delights, Part One: Maria
Rodeo Heat by Desiree Holt: Andrea
Reader’s Choice of any one of Eliza Gayle’s available titles: Sue A.
The Extremist by Juniper Bell: Stacey
Reader’s Choice of Rain God, Love Thy Neighbor, Masque of Desire, Hard Candy or Fox’s Bride by Amy Ruttan: Flchen
Hawkeye One: Danger Zone by Sierra Cartwright: Cathy
Seducing St. Nic by Emma Petersen: Robin

And the Fantastic blackraven of The Blackraven’s Erotic Cafe will be gifting one reader with an eBook of their choice from any of the excerpts of books that have been posted here: Tracey D.

Totebag and chocolate from Selena Illyria: Nancy G.

Winner of any one eBook from any of Lissa’s publishers (Samhain Publishing, Loose Id, Ellora’s Cave, Phaze, Cobblestone Press): Rachie

The following are the winners of the gift cards and eBook bucks:

Starbucks $15 gift card: Courtney
All Romance eBooks $15 in eBook Bucks: Sherry
Teavana $25 gift card: Joanne
Amazon $25 gift card: Beth

Again, thank you all for participating and for making my birthday this year so very special. I’ll be emailing the authors with the winners’ email addresses so they can get in touch with you, but as I said above, if you didn’t provide your email in any of your comments last week, please comment on this post with it or you can email me privately: lissa at lissamatthews dot com

~lissa

One Final Excerpt – Lissa Matthews – Sugar Rush

Genre: Contemporary BBW
Length: Novel
Available from Loose Id: http://www.loose-id.com/Sugar-Rush.aspx

Blurb:

Graham Hall is twenty-six and has a dream job as a travel writer. He’s come to Colorado for work and a little personal down time. With his article done and the six-month lease up on the small cabin in the valley, he’s stayed around until 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. After all, what could it hurt?

Jane is completely oblivious to the machinations of Edward and Graham and shows up at Graham’s cabin to deliver a box of handmade chocolate truffles. From the minute Graham opens the door, Jane falls head over heels in lust. A plus size, mid-thirties woman, Jane isn’t sure what Cowboy Surfer, as she’s dubbed him, sees in her or why he’s so tenacious in his pursuit and tries throwing him off at every turn.

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

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Dubious consent, voyeurism of male/male sexual interaction.

Excerpt:

“Why are you sitting down? I said you should leave.”

When he looked over at her, she emphasized her words by gesturing to the door with her thumb. His smile both irritated her and made her want to beg him to tie her to the bed and ravish her day in and day out. He was sin in real live breathing color and too freakin’ tempting. He really had to go because she didn’t know how many more times she could say no and mean it.

None and never.

“You see, I don’t give up like that. You can’t tell me to go and expect me to do so when I know that’s not what you want me to do at all.”

Figured, but then, she already knew that, didn’t she? The man was damn persistent, and it secretly made her smile. Blind date or not, he was charming. Full of himself but charming. “Well, since you know so much, tell me then, what do I want?”
  
“I answered that already. Come here, Jane, and stop trying to get rid of me. On the other hand, if you’d rather, I can come over there and get you. I won’t bite hard, and you’ll be glad you gave in.”

She crossed her arms over her chest and leaned against the edge of the open door. “Let’s say, for argument’s sake, you’re right. Let’s say I do want you.”

“I am, and you do.”

“Uh-huh. I know Edward told you why I’ve been a pill for the last few months and maybe it doesn’t make sense to you but, romantically, I’ve never been really successful. I have dated, but there’s never been a lot of real interest, on either side. And when Phillip dumped me… I don’t want to go through that kind of thing again. It was awful. I thought I’d found someone special, someone that I could maybe spend my life with, but I was just a stop along the way.”

“I understand. I really do, but hiding away from your feelings and your desires isn’t going to make the first step any easier no matter how long you wait, Jane. There’s always going to be an excuse not to move forward. You’re too damneddamn beautiful and sexy to just sit and let life pass you by.”

“You make me sound like an immature teenager that’s still holding out hope her first crush will realize his mistake in letting me go.”

“No. You’re just caught in a place between not wanting to be hurt again and let’s get it on. I’ve dated women your age, my age, and younger, and no one is immune to hurt. We all just process it differently.”

“Wow. You’re wise for twenty-six. Far more than I am at the ripe old age of thirty-six.”

“I told you I write for other publications. Well, one of the things I write about is relationships, usually from a romantic getaway perspective, but relationships just the same. Kind of like how to revive the spark stuff. I have a degree in creative writing and a minor in psychology.”

Jane was stunned. Really and truly stunned. So not only was Cowboy Surfer hot as hell, he was also a deep thinker, a pseudoexpert in relationships and travel. While she was just a candy maker sans formal college education. At the same time, she loved the company she and Edward had created for themselves. She might not have the degree, but she had solid business sense, creativity, and the ability to make decadent truffles that melted on the tongue. She truly loved her work. How many people could say that?

However, this between them had disaster written all over it.

He was right about one thing. No matter how long she waited to discover herself post-Phillip and let go of the past, it wasn’t going to be an easy step. Phillip hadn’t been the love of her life, but he had been special to her. If she were honest with herself, she’d admit that it had been more of a comfort thing with him. At first, at least. Toward the end, he’d begun to pressure her to lose weight, to change the way she dressed, to move the business out of the loft. It was then she’d begun to doubt herself. And now that she thought about it in those terms…

“I’m not leaving, and you have until the count of five to come over here, or I’m coming to get you. Naked. One.”

Those words brought her out of her little reverie. “What? Wait a second. You can’t be serious.” But even as she said the words, he started pulling off his boots and socks. He then stood and reached into his back pocket, took out a condom packet, and laid it on the table beside the chair. She inhaled sharply, and he looked up, smiling.

“You might want to close the door. You don’t want any of your neighbors to happen by and get an eyeful. Two.”

His hands grasped the bottom of his sweater and pulled it up, giving her a glimpse of his tanned abs. She slammed the door the second his head was free and swallowed once then swallowed again. There was a smattering of chest hair and a flat, rock-hard stomach. There was the trail of dark hair that disappeared inside the waist of his jeans…Oh God.

“Jane? You okay, darlin’?”

She shook her head but never took her eyes off him. She was definitely not okay. He was perfect and beautiful and sexy as all get out. She took an unconscious step toward him.

“That’s it. Come on. Three.”

The Marvelous Michelle Polaris

I don’t know Michelle all that well, yet, but I have a feeling we’re all gonna get to know her a lot through her books. What I do know so far is she’s a bit of a mystery, very sweet, has interesting taste in erotic jewelry and writes HOT! The title is Bound Odyessy after all! grins…

Genre: BDSM Menage (Fem Dom)
Length: Super Plus Novel
Available from Ellora’s Cave: http://www.jasminejade.com/pm-7702-598-bound-odyssey.aspx
Author Website: www.MichellePolaris.com

Blurb:

The year is 2067 and Earth is self-destructing from environmental cataclysms. A portal to a new world is ripped open and refuge there is Earth’s only hope. Enter Jace, cowboy diplomat, who is preparing for the negotiation of a lifetime. A sexually conflicted alpha male, he hates everything with a cock, especially himself. The last thing Jace expects is to fall in love with both a woman and a man.
His dark history presents the ultimate challenge to Mira and Roman, the sexual Dominant team hired to prepare Jace for the female-dominant culture of the new world. Tragedy has made Mira distrust her Mistress abilities. Survival is her priority, and she resists her deep attraction to Jace’s haunted eyes and sculpted body.
Roman, however, falls hard and fast for Mira and Jace, ready to honor Mira as his Mistress and force Jace to recognize him as Master. Bound in one another’s chains and pushed to the limits of arousal and pain, they must outrun sabotage and conspiracy to find salvation for their bodies, souls and hearts.
Excerpt:

October 4, 2067 New Denver Post web service. President Corrigan reflected on the seventeen-year anniversary of the cataclysmic gravity well explosions that changed our world during today’s ceremony, opening temporary housing units. The units are designed to address crowding in New Denver. In a solemn voice, he reiterated that this was a time when we must come together to face the greatest adversity and triumph over it.
* * * * *
Mira leaned into the precious man, the restraints attaching him to the St. Andrew’s cross squeezing his toned muscle and pale skin. Allowing little movement. She visually checked the buckles holding his body, making sure none damaged him as he struggled. His breath came in heaving gulps. Sweat and tears ran down his face, neck and chest in streams to glisten in the ginger hair nesting his genitals. The musk of the male animal, pushed to the point of exhaustion, smelled pungent in the room.
Mira pressed the stem of her crop into the red stripes covering his ass, eliciting another gasp. Her nipples tightened, the pulse of her pussy and the contractions popping inside her a constant reminder of how aroused the work left her. But today was about Eric, not her satisfaction. She was angry with him, true. But he’d wanted this from her. And she was worried about his recent behavior. As she released the buckle of his cock harness, she feathered a light breath against his ear, pressed her mouth flush to his lobe. Even over his groan of agony, she knew he heard her. “Come for me, Eric. Now!”
His body jerked, spasming under her grip on his cock. As he released, a long spewing of ejaculate made longer by the denial she’d forced on him, he cried out. “Mistress,” the plea and prayer as much a sweet song to her as the symphony of his contorted features lost in that high of sub space, that transcendent bliss that blew away all of the barriers of his soul. His eyes fluttered back in his head as his limbs lost all coordination in the little movement the bindings allowed. Finally, as his cock twitched with the final drops of semen, now dripping off his belly, he slumped into the straps securing him to the cross.
Mira kissed the wet bend of skin behind his neck, smiled up at him as she stroked his cheek. “Good boy, Eric. I’ll release you and that fine body of yours will rest.”
She undid the restraints, assisting him off the device as he leaned against her. Her strength allowed her to support his weight although he stood inches taller and weighed more. Mira gently wiped his body with a cloth dipped into the basin beside her four-poster bed. She feathered another kiss on his cheek and tucked him beneath her patchwork quilt. She’d sat for hours sewing together those squares, one designed by every client she’d allowed into her life since moving to New Denver. A labor of love. Now Eric strained to sit up from under it, grabbed her hand as she adjusted the covers.
“Mistress, forgive me?”
“You are forgiven, dear one. But if you ever go outside without your breather again, I’ll cane that ass of yours so hard and fuck it with a dildo so large you won’t be sitting for weeks. The hours I worked you today will seem like nothing.”
He smiled up at her in relief and she faked her own smile in return. Damn it, but why’d he taken such a stupid risk? She suspected she knew. A call for her attention after months of distancing herself from him and every other sub client she saw at The Marked Tree. He knew she’d be forced to punish him. He’d approached her today, craving it. Not once used his safe word to stay her hand. She hated the part of her that drew away from her subs. The last thing Mira wanted to do was hurt any of those under her care. They trusted her, and she betrayed their trust each and every day her bruised heart kept her from giving them her all. And time only made it worse.
At a tap on her door, Mira left Eric drifting off to sleep in her bed and she escaped into the hallway, grabbing her black silk robe and tying the sash around her waist to cover her corset. The light cream leather molded against her body, well broken in from years of wear.
Joanne faced her in the hall, creases marring her usually placid expression. “Moore is here,” she said.
“He’s early. Tell him to wait.” Irritation tightened Mira’s nerves.
Joanne had pleaded with her to talk to this man, one Randolph Moore, some stick-up-his-derriere government official from Joanne’s description. Ten years of working in this private D/s house, and not once was anyone allowed to meet here for business. That is, other than the business of gratifying the soul’s need for honest sexual expression. But this guy held enough clout to have Joanne shaking in her sleek, thigh-hugging boots. Seeing fear in her boss-cum-friend’s usually hard-edged eyes pissed Mira off. She protected her friends, no matter what.
“You said you’d do this,” Joanne answered with a spark of annoyance. Did she think Mira was backing out? “This house stood by you for years. We’ve made it through a lot. You owe me.”
Mira did owe Joanne. Guilt weighed down her shoulders like lead. Mira had backed out of her promise to take over The Marked Tree with little explanation.
“Fine. Give me ten minutes to change my clothes and get Eric settled in a free room. I wrung him dry and he needs recovery time.”
Joanne’s trademark grin was back. It relaxed Mira’s shoulders to see it. “Thank you. I’ll show him up after ten.”
Now Mira only had to keep her mouth shut and listen to this Moore before biting his head off whole.
* * * * *

Ummm…I think I might just have to read some more…

The Sensational Samantha Kane

And she is Sensational! She’s insightful, supportive, the life of the party (or so I’m told), and has excellent taste in espresso machines! She’s been a good friend and has always been ready with thoughts, advice, and helping me to get the word out about myself and my books. 
Sam has an amazing…AMAZING series at Ellora’s Cave called Brothers In Arms! Menage. Historical. Delicious! If you haven’t checked out this series before, you need to get started on it! You’ll love it, I promise!

Genre: GLBT Menage
Length: Novel
Available from Ellora’s Cave: http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-7822-151-love-in-exile.aspx
Author Website: www.SamanthaKane.us

Blurb:

Brothers in Arms, Book Six

Gregory Anderson has reluctantly returned to England in 1817 after more than seven years sailing the world. Half Polynesian, Gregory is caught between two worlds. He isn’t looking for love. He’s only looking for a warm body with a modicum of wit and reasonable intelligence to help him get through the few short months he’ll be in England.

Nat and Alecia Digby’s marriage, arranged when they were young and foolish, was almost ruined before it began when they both took lovers. They don’t want to give up the erotic games they learned to play and enjoy, but they won’t risk their marriage again by falling in love with someone else.

When the three meet, they think it will be nothing more than a night or two of shared pleasure and erotic thrills. But the unthinkable happens, because love refuses to be forced into exile.

Excerpt:

Nat stood frozen. Palu had elaborate drawings covering his upper right arm and shoulder. It was a complicated design of black swirls and patterns of dots and lines with a heavy black band perhaps two inches thick drawn around his biceps. As he watched Palu flexed his arm and the muscle bulged, tightening the band and giving the illusion that the swirls moved along his arm. The upper portion of the design ran over his shoulder onto his chest. Suddenly Nat knew what it was.

“I’ve read about this,” he said in wonder, reaching out to Palu’s arm. He hesitated and Palu moved his arm, indicating that Nat could touch it. When he did he expected to be able to feel the design, but he couldn’t. The skin was as smooth and hot as the rest of Palu. “It’s tatau.”

“Yes,” Palu said, and Nat sensed rather than heard his wariness. “It is /tatatau/ in my mother’s world, /moko/ to others.”

Alecia was running her hands over Palu’s arm, her delight evident. “It’s beautiful, Palu,” she exclaimed. “Is it a drawing?”

“Yes and no,” Palu said, relaxing under Alecia’s hands. “It is native ink made in the islands just for this purpose. They cut the skin with a small comb or chisel and rub the ink into it to make a permanent mark.”

Alecia gasped. “But that must have been incredibly painful! It is beautiful, but it sounds so dangerous, Palu.”

Palu laughed and Nat felt a catch in his stomach that he decided to ignore. He was allowed to like Palu, to find him irresistible. It didn’t mean he was going to fall in love. Even if the tataus were the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

“They were incredibly painful, pretty Alecia. But they are important in the Pacific, among my mother’s people in The Friendly Islands. They prove that you are a man, that you can take the pain. If I had not gotten them, I would have been considered a coward.”

Nat couldn’t resist any longer. He leaned down and licked a path along one of the complicated swirls of the tatau.

“You like them?” Palu asked in a husky voice. It was Nat’s turn to laugh. “Like them? I plan to lick every inch of them.”

Palu grinned down at him. “Good. Because there are more.”

Alecia was shocked. She admitted it. She had never seen anything like it. Palu had the tatau on his arse. They’d stripped his pants off in record time when he told them he had more of the beautiful designs. But they hadn’t expected this.

“It looks like you’re wearing short pants,” she said in wonder. The tatau on his behind actually covered him all over from his waist to above his knees. The design was similar to the one on his arm, although it was heavier here, covering nearly every inch of skin.

“This is the traditional male tatatau in parts of the South Seas,” Palu explained. “I was afraid at first, and so got the one on my arm. But after surviving that, I decided to get this. I wasn’t accepted until I did.”

Alecia fell to her knees behind him to get a better look, and Nat joined her. Together they ran their hands over the beautiful black ink designs. Giant black swirls covered the cheeks of his buttocks and then ran up to his lower back and down onto his legs. Without any hesitation Alecia shoved at a leg, forcing Palu to widen his stance.

“They’re on the inside, too,” she gasped. She grasped his thigh in both hands, and then ran one up onto his firm, muscular bottom.

“That feels good,” Palu moaned.

Alecia looked over to see Nat licking a path across Palu’s other cheek, following a swirl. The sight was so arousing Alecia actually felt the moisture rush from her sex.

“Nat,” she whispered, mesmerized. Nat opened his eyes to look at her and then softly bit Palu’s cheek.

“Damn, yes,” Palu groaned.

Nat grinned and licked the place he had bitten, making Palu moan again.

“He’s rather noisy, isn’t he?” Nat asked Alecia, and there was something in his voice she’d rarely heard before when they were with someone else, something hot and intimate that they only shared with one another. Yet Alecia couldn’t mind it. She wanted to share that with Palu, too.

Alecia moved to Palu’s front, still on her knees. The tatau was on his stomach and hips and legs, and Alecia moaned when she saw that it covered his cock as well. And it was a fat, beautiful, full cock. His brown skin and the tatau made it appear purple with arousal, and Alecia could see a heavy vein pulsing along the underside. The head was as thick as the staff, weeping with desire, and suddenly all Alecia wanted to do in this life was take that cock in her mouth and taste it.

“His cock has it, too,” she told Nat in a trembling voice.

“Bloody fucking hell,” Nat groaned, and he crawled around to kneel next to Alecia. “Now that had to hurt,” Nat commented breathlessly.

Palu chuckled and he sounded as breathless as she and Nat. “Yes.” He reached down and gently tugged at Alecia’s hair, forcing her to look up at him. His dark eyes shone brightly, his cheeks were flushed, and he had a dimple in his cheek as he smiled sweetly at her. A dimple. Oh God, she was lost. “I want you to kiss it, pretty Alecia,” he whispered roughly. He closed his fist slowly in her hair and pulled her forward and up. With a glad cry, Alecia let him.

“Yes, Palu,” she agreed, trembling with anticipation. “Yes, I want to do that, too.”


The woman just writes HOT! 

Samantha wanted me to mention to all of you that the first seven books in the Cougar Challenge series also from Ellora’s Cave is being featured next week. Samantha’s book, Play It Again, Sam will be the feature on Sunday, February 28th and she will be giving away a copy of it. Mari Freeman and her book Sin on Skin will be featured on Saturday, February 27th and giving away a copy of it. Click here for more info!