Sunday Speeds – Pace Laps

SundaySpeedsIt’s been a long year and yet the months have flown by so fast that I’m still trying to catch up. A lot has changed in the publishing world over the last few years and I have even fewer answers now than I had when I first started out. I feel like I’m always running under caution laps while most others are running at 200mph…

I’ve been working, trying to learn what many of my peers already know, but it’s a slow process. I’ve had several releases this year already, but my royalties don’t look like it. They are the lowest they’ve ever been and like other authors I know, I’ve had to re-evaluate my books, and my publishers.

There are those of you waiting on the next book following Stick Shift. It’s coming. I promise. The issues at this point is Loose Id, the publisher of the first book. I love them. I have enjoyed working with them and adore my editor. I’ve felt a very strong sense of loyalty to her and to Loose Id, however the money I am *not* making isn’t worth my sending them any other books. At least not at this point. This is a business and I have to look at it that way. I may not be paying my mortgage with what I make off books, but what I do pay is no less important and the $100 or less/month royalty checks, even with new releases, aren’t worth it.

What does this mean? It means that book, Drive Shaft, will be self published next year. But there are other things at play right now and that’s all I can say.

There are those of you waiting for the next Simple Need book. I’ve got it started and I will be sending it to Ellora’s Cave when it’s finished. Ellora’s Cave takes several months to get books out, between the reading, contract process, editing, etc… 6 months, at least. After release, there’s another 2 months before any royalties are seen from it. That’s a long time.

There are those of you waiting for the next book in the Denali Heat series. That book is bound for Samhain Publishing. But, when I submit a book to Samhain, it’s roughly 10-12 months before release.

I can’t make a living like that. I wish I could.

Writing books take a while. We all write at different speeds, we all have different responsibilities above and beyond writing. I used to write a lot and write quickly. I am not in that place anymore. I am writing. I am revising. I am learning. I am progressing. I am changing.

So, how does this affect you, the readers? Books are coming. Maybe not what you want right now. Maybe not what you’re expecting right now either. But books are coming. The following is the schedule I’ve been working on for releases through February and it’s pretty set…

October 22 – Love and Tattoos
November 19 – The Cupcake Cowboy (Lone Star Sweets)
December 31 – Eli’s Promise (The Bar Next Door, Samhain Publishing)
January 21 – The Sticky Cowgirl (Lone Star Sweets)

There’s more, lots more (Exposed (Masked 4), The Tattooed Barista (Lone Star Sweets), In The Corner, Drive Shaft (Stick Shift #2), to name a few, but the dates aren’t set yet), including Slide Down On Me (Ellora’s Cave) but I don’t have a date on that one yet either. I’ll also be revising and re-releasing Arrested Holiday as soon as the book rights revert back to me in December.

You’ll get the books you’re wanting, I just have to be a little smarter in how I approach things. I appreciate each and every one of you. And I am grateful that you’ve stuck with me. I hope you’ll enjoy all that I have planned for your reading pleasure…

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Boys of Summer

snippetsaturdayBoys of Summer. The Don Henley song. I loved that one. You remember it?

“I can see you-

Your brown skin shinin’ in the sun

You got that top pulled down and that radio on, baby

And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong

After the boys of summer have gone

I can see you-

Your brown skin shinin’ in the sun

You got that hair slicked back and those Wayfarers on, baby

I can tell you my love for you will still be strong

After the boys of summer have gone”

Sometimes that’s what Summer is. Long days. Long night. Finding love, losing love… The memories coming back, making you yearn for those carefree days and what slipped away.

And sometimes, there’s a little bit of Summer, all year ’round, found in the most unlikely places…

So, I’ve taken a completely different approach to our theme and am giving you a little something to cool you down from the heat wave many have been experiencing…

LM_ArrestedHoliday_coverin

“You have something warm to wear? Gloves? Heavy shoes?”

“My other shoes are back in my car and so are my gloves. I have some sweaters and such.”

“Long underwear?”

“No. I hate it and didn’t expect I’d need it. Why?”

“Hold on. Let me see what I can find for you.”

He winked and moved away from her to rummage through a chest of drawers. He pulled out a few sweats and thick socks and tossed them on the bed. “What are we doing?”

“We’re going outside. You get dressed, and I’ll be right back.”

Holli was still standing there confused when he left the room and then left the apartment. “What the hell?”

Still a little uncertain, she took off the clothes she’d slept in and grabbed the clothes he’d laid out and went into the bathroom. The least she could do with the loaned, too-long-in-the-leg and too-snug-in-the-hips-and-ass, ill-fitting sweats and pair of men’s wooly socks was put on some deodorant. Brushing her teeth, washing her face, and combing her hair couldn’t hurt either. She could make herself a little more presentable.

She was rummaging through her makeup bag for her moisturizer when she heard the door to the apartment shut again. After pulling the ends of the sweats up over her feet and ankles and grabbing the sweatshirt, she went to see where he’d been.

“Boots,” he said, holding up a pair of galoshes. His gaze narrowed on her. “Everything fit okay?”

“Just peachy. It’s snowing, and you want to go outside?”

“Have you ever played in the snow?”

“Not really, not this kind of snow.”

“Well, put these on, and let’s go. You’ve been cooped up inside for days, and some time outside will do you good.”

Holli took the boots from him and sat down to put them on. “It’s cold out.”

“I know.”

“Taking me outside to play in the snow isn’t going to violate my house arrest agreement?” she asked as he was walking into the bedroom and she was tugging the sweatshirt on over her head. Layering clothes had never been her favorite thing about winter, but at least it kept her warm. She reached up inside the arms and pulled the sleeves of the long-sleeved T-shirts down and smoothed everything into place as best she could. Everything she wore was black. She had to look like a charred marshmallow.

“No more than what was going on before in the bed and no more than the attraction between us.”

He was pulling on a sweater over a long-sleeved T-shirt as he walked back into the living room. The sweater being pulled over his head ruffled his hair, and the casual intimacy of the moment struck something deep inside her. Spending time with him alone, playing, laughing, talking as though they were friends, involved…it wasn’t a good idea. She was going to fall for him, and it was going to be more than his good looks and his kindness that wormed its way under her skin. “Maybe you should have taken me to a hotel and had someone else guard me.”

He tweaked her nose as he passed her to get some boots sitting by the door. “No. Trust me; there’s no one better for the job than me.”

“I’m not going to run.”

“That’s not what I mean. C’mon. Put some of that lotion on your face and let’s go.”

He was like a kid, and his excitement was contagious. Holli quickly put the moisturizer on and set the tube on the counter before letting him help her into her jacket. He shoved a baseball cap on her head and ushered her out into the cold hallway. She shivered.

“Oh damn. Here.” He handed her a pair of gloves he pulled from his pants pocket. “I forgot to give these to you. Mrs. Collins said you could hold on to them until you leave.”

“Nice of her.” Holli quickly put them on, and though it wasn’t immediate or scalding warmth, they were wonderful against the bite of the wind as they stepped outside. “These her boots too?”

“Yep.”

The snow was even more blinding outside and even more beautiful. She stood there, looking up, letting it fall on her face. “This is real snow. We don’t get this in Atlanta.”

“What do you get?”

“It’s not powder. It’s wet and icy, but this is…this is delicate, and there are actual snowflakes.”

“We get the icy stuff too, but we’ve gotten a lot more powder this year than normal.”

Holli walked a little farther out into the small backyard but stopped short when a ball of snow hit her square in the chest. “Hey!” Michael’s smile was all innocence. She didn’t buy it for a second. “Weren’t you ever taught not to hit girls?”

“Yes, but snowball fights don’t count.”

“How do they not count?” He was already rolling another ball between his hands, his eyes trained on her. “Oh I see. You’re not gonna play fair.”

“I always play fair.”

“Right.”

“Unless…”

He drew back his arm, his fingers… Wait. Were those his knuckles on top of the snowball? She squinted and tried her best to focus, to see clearly. Was he going to…? Oh hell no. He was going to send a knuckleball her way? Two could play that game. One of the greatest knuckleball pitchers of all time played for the Atlanta Braves, and Officer “Pretty Boy” Hunky wasn’t about to show her up. “Unless what?”

Holli dropped down, shed her gloves for the time it took to mold the snow into the right size ball. Her fingers were so numb and cold she could hardly feel what she was doing, but it was going to be well worth it. She pinched off little bits of snow until she had the perfect size pile of powder sitting in her palm. “Unless what, Hunky?”

Carefully she laid the mock baseball down, then picked up the gloves again, making sure to pick a few pieces of fuzz off. After slipping her fingers back inside the blessed semiwarmth, she scooped up the snow baseball, packed the fuzz from the gloves into it so that it could be seen clearly, and took her stance.

“Unless it’s something I really want.”

He looked for all the world like he was waiting patiently, but she knew better. He was in competition mode, just like she was, and there was no patiently waiting about either of them.

“And then?”

“And then I stop at nothing until I get it.”

He let his snowball fly the second she drew her arm back, then shot it forward to let hers go. She moved as soon as it was out of her hand, narrowly missing getting tagged dead center of her chest. Officer Hunky wasn’t quite so fortunate.

He placed a hand over his heart. “Where’d you learn to throw like that?”

“My family, namely my grandpa and my dad, watch baseball religiously. I watch too. It’s what we do in our house every summer. Hot dogs, chips, sodas, baseball. If we aren’t at the games, we’re planted in front of the television watching them.”

“But that was a knuckleball.”

Holli grinned. “It was,” she said proudly. “How could you tell?”

“I saw the dark speck of something coming right at me.”

Her grin grew bigger. “My dad was a big Phil Neikro fan, and when he left the Braves,  dad kind of broke tradition and would watch Phil play wherever he was and when I was old enough, he taught me how to throw one. I can throw all kinds of pitches. My aim is generally way off, but well, you’re a pretty good-sized target.”

As she’d been talking, she’d been kneeling down in an ever-growing pile of snow, making snowballs. She kept her eyes on him for the most part, making sure she didn’t look like a threat, making it appear she was just playing in the snow.

“I’m a baseball fan too.”

“I didn’t see anything in your apartment for a team.”

“I’m a Phillies fan. And you’re wearing my Phillies hat.”

She yanked the hat off her head. Sure enough she was. She hadn’t noticed what was on the cap when he’d stuffed it on her. “Yuck.” She tossed it at him, then made a sour face and stuck her tongue out as though she were spitting something out. “Terrible taste. I can’t believe I had that on. If my family ever finds out, they’ll skin me alive.”

“Terrible?”

He looked so affronted she forgot her own distress, genuine though it was, and had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing out loud. “Yes, terrible. A Braves fan does not wear a Phillies hat, no matter the circumstances.”

“You’re just jealous.”

“Oh yeah, that’s exactly it.” Sarcasm dripped from her tongue and another snowball hit him square upside the head.

“Now you’re playing dirty. I wasn’t looking.”

“Me? Play dirty? No.” She shook her head. “I wouldn’t do that.” Two more snowballs flew at him, small ones that, when held together, were about the size of a regulation softball. Her aim had been his stomach but went a little south. “Oh God.”

She ran toward him as fast as the cockamamy outfit and boots would let her. The piling snow didn’t help either. He dropped to his knees and fell over, clutching his crotch. She dropped down beside him, wanting to touch him but afraid of hurting him. “Oh God, Michael. I am so sorry.” And she was. She’d been hoping to play with that part of his anatomy later, and now she’d just drilled him with hard-packed snow. “How bad are you hurt? Do you need to go to the hospital? Talk to me, say something.”

“You play dirty snowball fight,” he croaked out. He followed that with a great deal of whimpering and rolling around.

“Michael?” When he didn’t answer her and just kept mewling like a wounded animal… “Well, I guess there’s nothing else to do but hide your body.”

Holli scooped up an armful of snow and dropped it over his hips and groin area.

“What the –”

She followed that with an armful dumped on his chest and then one over his face.

“Holli.”

“Yes?”

“What the hell are you doing?”

“Burying you.” She pushed snow up against his body and packed it in tight. “You’re evidently on death’s door, what with all the dramatics. Your body should keep for a few months as long as the temperature stays around freezing. In the spring they’ll find you, and I’ll be long gone.”

He blew snow out of his mouth and shook his head against the ground to dislodge even more from his face. “You’re a coldhearted woman, Holli. I was trying to show you a good time, and you insult my choice of baseball team and then fire shots below my belt. That’s just wrong.”

“And has the snow reduced the swelling and the pain?”

He laughed, low and dark. The sound made her shiver, and for once since she’d been in the north, she welcomed it.

“No. In fact, it’s even more swollen now, and the pain is excruciating.”

Holli clucked her tongue and shook her head sadly. “I guess the only decent thing for me to do then is to put you out of your misery.”

“Definitely. I think that’s your only recourse.”

Next thing she knew, she was flat on her back in the snow, and he was braced on his arms above her. They stared at one another for a few excruciatingly long seconds before his mouth was on hers, his tongue in her mouth, his body heating hers from the inside out.

He tasted like chocolate, like a fantasy, and she kissed him with an urgency she absolutely felt. She only had him for a couple of days, just a small moment in time before life would return to normal again.

If you have some time today, take some of it and read through snippets on the following blogs:

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

Have a great weekend!

~lissa

Hot Summer Romance Giveaway Hop

Has it been a hot Summer for you? Temperatures rising? Air conditioning not working hard enough to cool you off? Ice cream melting before you can get home from the store down the street? Sweat dripping the second you step outside?

Or…

Has it been a HOT Summer? Sexy bodies on beaches? Tans and tan lines? Tropical drinks during sunsets? Skinny dippin’?

There are many ways to enjoy Summer. Sometimes it’s all about fun. Sometimes there’s the fun of Summer romance… Have you ever have one? Three months of unbridled, uninhibited sex?

I haven’t. Not in years. But it’s fun to read, fun to write about, fun to let yourself go and just live in the moment, and have fun…

Do you have any Summer romances, beach reads that you just love to get lost in? Repeat reads or brand new?

So, now that we’re all thinking about romance, let’s talk about this fabulous hop you’re here to participate in.

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We have a couple of amazing grand prizes:

1. Kindle Fire

2. $50 Amazon Gift Card

The way to be considered for one of these prizes is to leave a comment and the big hosts have asked that you leave your email address so that if you’re chosen as a winner, they can contact you.

I will also be giving a prize away. Three actually. Ebooks for that Kindle Fire or for whatever eReader you have…

Arrested Holiday… it’s a cool, snowed in kinda erotic romance with a little kinky play.

Batter Up… a short story with the same characters in Arrested Holiday having some summertime fun at a baseball game.

Keep It Together… bride gets left at the altar, wayward groom’s brother comes and sweeps her off her feet.

LS_BatterUp_coverlg

To be considered for these books… you have several options…

You can sign up for my Newsletter which comes out whenever I have a new release or when there’s some news to share. The form is at the top of the sidebar.

You can give my Facebook Fan Page a Like. It hasn’t been very active recently, but we’re looking to change that in the next few months.

You can follow me on Twitter, or follow my Blog.

All my Links are on the sidebar where the coffee cups are. Just give a click on any one of them and you’ll be all set. After that, just let me know in the comments.

Oh, and tell me what romances you’re escaping with this Summer…

I hope y’all have a great time on the hop. I know there are some awesome prizes being given away and there are going to be some really lucky winners. For the complete hop list, please click on the Blog Hop button above…

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Belong To The City

snippetsaturdayI’m back y’all! Did ya miss me? 😉 I’m sure ya did.

Today’s snippet is about the big city. I don’t write much about the big city. Most of my books take place in small towns but I have a few that feature bigger places.

I’ll think I’ll use something newer… There’s talk of the city if not the city featured itself…

Batter Up

Middle of the fifth inning and his Phillies were down. Michael smacked at the steering wheel and let a string of curses fly from betweenLS_BatterUp_coverlg clenched teeth. She was going to be impossible if the Braves won this game. They’d already won the first two in the series this week, but if they won this last one? “Fuck.”

He pulled into a parking spot. The walk to Turner Field would take him to at least the end of the inning, but he would be there, with her. Living down south with the woman he’d arrested on a clerical error, the woman who, even though she was a lifelong Braves fan, had turned out to be the love of his life…

Atlanta was so different than his small Pennsylvania hometown. Okay so maybe different wasn’t exactly the right word. It was a whole other universe. From the sheer number of events, crowds of people, lines of traffic, and crime. It was a wonder he could find his way from home to work and back again as it was. And the food? He couldn’t even wrap his head around the food. A heart attack couldn’t be too far away given the sauced and cheesed and smothered southern dishes his girlfriend’s mother was fond of making for them every Sunday.

He wouldn’t trade any of it, though. The few days he and Holli had spent holed up in his apartment that Christmas a couple of years ago had been eye-opening for him. The connection, the ease, the sex. He smiled. The sex with Holli had been anything but boring that week. He liked hard, fun, even kinky sex, and Holli was definitely his match in that.

At the gate of the stadium he handed his ticket over. He made his way down the steps from the pavilion and saw the back of her head. Well, the back of her ball cap. Her brown waves were pulled back in a ponytail. Even without seeing more than her head and the top of her shoulders, he knew she’d be decked out all the way down to her toes in Braves gear.

He looked down at himself and grimaced. No wonder the Phillies were losing. He didn’t have a stitch of supportive clothing on. Midstep he turned and headed to the nearest gift shop. They didn’t have a big selection of anything Phillies, but there were a few caps to choose from. He plucked one from the hook and at the register found a small bat that brought a smile to his face and dirty thoughts to his mind. It was roughly twelve inches, and maybe the circumference of a quarter at the end.

Without a second of hesitation, he grabbed the bat by the grip and laid it down with his hat. The cashier smirked, and Michael grinned. “Mixed relationship,” he offered.

“I hope she’s not the Phillies fan.”

“Why’s that?”

“With as bad as they’ve been playing this series, if she’s the fan, you’re gonna be in the dog house until they win a game.”

Michael laughed. “You’ve got a point. Good thing I’m the Philly.” He paid for his items, ripped the tag off the cap and tossed it in the trash, then fit the cap on his head.

He jogged back down the steps, then slid into the seat next to Holli. She didn’t look at him, just took his hand and smiled with a small tilt of the corner of her mouth. “You really think that hat is gonna help?”

Michael squeezed her fingers. “It can’t hurt.”

“This is why when you get dressed on game-day morning, you put on your gear.”

“I know.” It was a superstition she had. If she wasn’t dressed in a Braves shirt, Braves socks, and Braves cap the day of a game, no matter where they were playing, they had a better than average chance of losing than if she was wearing it all.

He couldn’t fault her thinking. After all, he hadn’t worn any Phillies stuff since they’d come to town to play this three-game series, and they’d lost every game and not gracefully. “Maybe I should ask Santa for some Phillies boxers or something this year. At least I can wear them to work and not be mobbed. I can’t walk into the station with a Phillies tie or shirt visible to all.”

“You could always switch teams.”

“I’m going to ignore you said that.”

“Just a suggestion.” She lifted their joined hands and kissed the back of his. “I wasn’t sure you were going to make it.”

Michael shifted to get comfortable in the small confines of the stadium seats and glanced out over the field. Middle of the top of the sixth, the Phillies were up to bat and centerfield was so close, Michael felt as though he could reach out and run his fingers through the grass. He couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Thursday night. “Traffic sucks here. Even with the light flashing on the dashboard.”

“You put the light on?”

“Of course. The Phillies are in town.”

“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.”

Buy Link: Loose Id

For more Big City snippets, visit the following blogs:

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

Have a great weekend, y’all!

~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.

LS_BatterUp_coverlg

“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