So, I’m sitting at my desk… A Balsam & Cedar candle burning, a little 100 year old ceramic Christmas tree lit, and a Hallmark Christmas movie (Two Turtle Doves) on in the background.
And I thought maybe now would be a good time to show y’all the cover for one of the stories I have been chipping away at the last few months.
I don’t know when it’ll be out and I don’t want to speculate. It could be November or December this year, or it could be January. I know I’m supposed to set dates and have goals and to be quite honest, I burned myself out thinking about all of that instead of doing the thing that would really get me anywhere at all and that thing was and is…writing.
The writing doesn’t burn me out.
It’s all the other stuff that comes with the writing as a business that does.
But… That’s not what this post is about. No, this post is about giving us all permission to look at a cute cover, imagine what the story is and who the dapper guy is, and indulge in a little holiday cheer. At least, it’s permission for me to indulge in a little holiday cheer since last year I was moving in December and we didn’t really do any holiday…anything.
I don’t know if I’ll do more than watch a few of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies and drink some hot cocoa or make a gingerbread latte, but sometimes those few comforts are enough.
The latest news to come from Wall Street is that Billionaire Brett Randolph has bought a small town. Not just any small town, though. Nope. He bought his hometown of Gumdrop Valley.
Now, I know many of you have never heard of Gumdrop Valley before and I hadn’t either, but the story goes that in the Spring, the wildflowers that bloom look just like gumdrops and at Christmas when all the houses are decorated and lit, the town looks like one of those quaint holiday villages people set up on every available surface in their homes. So, when the town was facing bankruptcy and businesses were beginning to close, Mr. Randolph stepped in and purchased all the land in the county along with everything in it.
Gumdrop Valley was saved and with the influx of money and the hiring of advertising and marketing firms by Mr. Randolph to help turn things around, his investment looks like it will pay off by the holiday season.
This isn’t the blurb, this is just a little something I wrote at the beginning of the story…
Anyway, I’m going back to my movie and I’m going to find some breakfast.
I’ll talk to y’all soon.
The fourth and what was supposed to be the last of the Simple Need books is out on Amazon and ready for your greedy eyes. I hope you’ll love him. He’s hot. He’s sexy. He’s ooey gooey sweet on the inside.
But, there are some things about the book that you need to know …
First New Book … Mac is the first new book written in the Simple Need world in about 8 years. My writing has changed a lot since 2009-2010. I have a change a lot since then. I had started the book back when Jaz’s book came out with Ellora’s Cave, but things had begun to go downhill with them and I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going with the series with them. Needless to say, once I got all the books back from them after they closed up, I began planning to write Mac and Jackie’s story. While I tried to capture the same tone, I have to acknowledge that it isn’t because I’m not the same writer I was then.
Trevor and Trae … I introduce 2 new characters in the book. Mandi’s brothers, Trevor and Trae. They own a vintage car restoration shop and are mentioned for the first time in Jaz’s book. There’s a possibility they’ll get their own stories, too.
Short … The book is short. Yes, I know. I didn’t intend for it to be as short as it is, but that’s how it turned out. The writing is tighter. There’s not a lot of extraneous information. It tells the story I had planned way back when I started it and it fits the baseline length of the other books in the series.
The Treehouse … I had been looking on Pinterest and all these treehouses showed up in my feed. I couldn’t get them out of my head and well, Mac said he wanted one. He wanted to be different. He wanted to show a different side of himself to Jackie than the one she normally saw.
Jackie and Jaz ... Their friendship is deep and everlasting. They will not allow their friendship to change because they’re in love with others. Jackie has a past and she has protective instincts. Not for herself. She doesn’t care how others see her, but she’s protective over those she loves.
Time Didn’t Jump … The series was started back, as I said in 2009-2010. It’s been almost 10 years. However, I didn’t jump time in Mac. I didn’t jump the years. I didn’t mention time in the book, but I didn’t jump it. It’s still within the same time frame as the other books.
Those are just a few small facts about Mac and Jackie’s story to help you along. To answer some of your questions. Now, maybe answer one of mine …
Simple Need weddings … Would you be interested? Leave a comment below.
Thursday, February 22nd was my 47th birthday. And this year, I felt…different.
On previous birthdays… I’d say at least the last 4 or 5, I’ve been increasingly sad, depressed, wanting to soak every moment out of my birthday while at the same time, wanting to crawl under the blankets and hide from it. But as I said, this year felt different. And here are my 5 reasons/things why I think that is…
Embracing Letting Go … This year I’ve spent a great deal of time working on myself, on figuring out who I am, who I want to be, who I don’t want to be. I’ve been in the doldrums for a long time, in some ways, all my life. And since I started keeping a journal, I’ve been able to work through some of the questions of why I am the way I am and have been able to understand, accept, and let go of a lot of horrible feelings. I used to be somewhat afraid of what letting go of things I’d held onto for so many years (since I was 6 years old, to be honest). If I let go, what would happen to me? Who would I be if I were no longer this negative, dreary, holding onto the hurt and anger and pain and guilt? I’m a happier person, that’s who.
Yoga/Meditation/Talking to the Universe … Last year I challenged myself to walk for 30 minutes for 30 days straight. I wanted to see how I’d feel at the end of it. I wanted to see what changes I encountered about myself, what changes I encountered to my body, if any. In the end, though, the only thing I that I had to show for it was the fact that I’d done it and I was proud that I had. Other than that? Nothing. My joints hurt. My body felt bloated. I had no energy. I tried to start it up again, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to. Yes, exercise is important, but what’s more important than exercise in general, is the specific exercise that speaks to you. And a walk every once in a while is awesome. But that’s not my exercise happy place. That my exercise bliss. Yoga is. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 50 minutes, I feel incredible afterward. I am not focused on losing weight, but feeling good within my body, mind, and soul. I follow an at home practice. Yoga with Adriene. She’s awesome. Bright, open, knowledgeable, energetic and her motto is Find What Feels Good. I have embraced this. Yoga feels good. I’ve been doing it no less than 5 days a week most weeks of 2018 so far. I have noticed changes in my body, in my stress levels. I am kinder to myself. I am full of gratitude toward myself when the practice is over. Yoga helps focus me and calm my mind. I have more positive energy.
Meditation … This is new for me. Or, re-new for me. I’m trying to take at least 5 minutes a day to close my eyes and just breathe. Just exist in the breath, in the moment. It, too, has helped calm and center me. My goal is to work myself up to longer periods of meditation to help reduce stress even more, to silence the noise in my head and connect with the part of me where ideas and creativity and peace reside.
Talking to the Universe … You can say it’s God, or your version of God … I call it the Universe. It’s a free form conversation I have daily. A lot. There’s a lot of gratitude in it, a lot of asking for help in different areas of my life, asking to be of use, to be of service, to be kinder to myself and to others, to be more open to letting go, to receiving, to ideas, to change. This has become a… I don’t even have a word for it. It’s an experience. It’s not inside my head. It’s spoken with my mouth when I’m alone, when I’m in the shower, when I’m doing chores, when I find that my thoughts are not good, are negative, are judgmental of myself or others, when I’m disgruntled with family or friends … This conversation has been altering for me because it never ends. The lines of communication are always open.
Having a Plan … This part goes back to my recent blog posts about my writing and publishing career. Writing is a HUGE part of my life. And I needed a mindset change. We can’t change how we think or feel unless we have the conversations with ourselves and are ready for change. And as y’all know, those conversations with myself and then with you, were not easy, were not pretty, were not fun. They were, however, necessary. And I’m all the more glad for them. My plan for the moment is simple: write and release books. Yes, I need to market. But I’ve spent years dwelling on nothing, on fears, on jealousies, on inferiority, on inconsistency, on not knowing where to start so not starting at all. But now, I have a publishing plan. And starting to look at the marketing side of things, on the branding side of things. Writing, though… Writing gives me joy, fills me with creative energy and this propels me forward, this keeps me moving forward. I’ve defined Lissa Matthews and I’m working on continuing to refine the definition and pick up the momentum. And for the first time in years, I feel hope and happiness as Lissa Matthews.
I am also going to be launching a new name and I’m hopeful that I can launch Ella Claire the right way from the word GO!
Having a plan has been awesome for my mood and dedication to my writing career. I didn’t realize how essential it was to have a plan. Now I do.
Reading … I read a lot now. Over the last year, I’ve begun to read a lot more than I had in the previous few years. I read big books, small books, print books, ebooks. I read YA fiction, crime thrillers, sweet romance, chick lit, some romance, writing craft books, personal development books, entrepreneur mindset books, marketing books. I read. It lets me get out of my head. It lets me escape. It lets me experience other things, other worlds, other imaginations. It opens my mind. It empowers me. It energizes me. It moves me through the whole range of emotions. It prefer reading over television. It keeps my mind, whether business or fantasy, sharp and curious. And curiousness was something missing in my life for a long, long, LONG time. Being curious helps us embrace the child within and this for me was something I’d been missing on a regular basis. Curiosity is one of the things that can help keep us feeling younger, feeling better, feeling more open.
Mindset … I know I talked about this last week, but it bears repeating, at least for me, that a shift, a change in mindset has allowed me to become and embrace more of me, more of the me I want to be, more of the me that’s been wandering lost for years.It’s one of those things that when it comes, if you paddle and stand up to ride that wave, it’ll take you somewhere you have been trying to find, but that’s been right there all along. It’s not easy to change a lifetime of negative thought, of hate speech toward yourself, of ugly words about your appearance, of judgmental thoughts and words for things that happened to you that you had no control over. If you’re down and negative, you attract down and negative. I never bought into that until this year. But it’s true. So is the opposite. If you’re up and positive, you begin to attract up and positive. If you let go, you begin to receive because you’ve opened up. If you smile, smiles will come back to you. What you allow in is what you end up showing the world. I didn’t believe any of it. Until this year. Until I was ready. Until I stood up to ride the wave.
A year or two or five ago, I dreaded every birthday. I wanted it and at the same time, I didn’t. I didn’t want to get older. I saw older as the end coming that much closer. I saw it as wrinkles and my mind beginning to shut down, my body breaking down. I greeted each birthday with fear and a desire to go back. To be 20 again, to be 16, 14, 10 again… To go back and make different choices, different decisions. To go back and live again. But that’s not possible. We can’t go back. We can only go forward. We can do so in stagnant waters, or we can do so in an inner tube floating along in crystal clear spring waters, riding the ebbs and flows and engaging with ourselves at each interval. This is what I’ve begun to do. I am open to the Universe, to finding what feels good, to smiling at myself, to being kind and generous with myself, to being open and receptive, to being grateful and accepting of challenges, to putting myself out there and learning new things, to having goals and higher standards for myself. I have gray hairs and I’m finding I like them. I’ve lived 47 years in a bit of darkness. The gray hairs I have are more white than gray and they’re part of the brightness in my life now. I’m embracing color and sparkles and things that bring me happiness.
I’m 47 years old now and I feel as though I’ve just started my life …
… that you may or may not have already known.
I am re-releasing a lot of older titles this year (following 7 re-releases last year through Entangled Publishing) that I have the publishing rights back to. So, in light of this, I thought I would share a bit of information with you so you’ll know what to expect, especially if you’re a more recent reader or not a reader yet.
1. I started publishing in 2008. I had a lot of books come out with 4 different publishers in a relatively short time frame. mostly 2009 and 2010. The books I’m re-releasing this year and some that I have already re-released were published around that same time. (Stick Shift, Arresting Holli, Melting Jane)
2. I wrote about small towns and a few big towns. Blue collar, hard working, tattooed, pierced men. Full figured, small business/boutique business owners, independent, submissive, sometimes shy, sometimes kinky women. I wrote the every day character. They cooked, they slept, they had sex with whomever they wanted to have sex with. They weren’t polished or posh characters. They were real.
3. I wrote fun books, sexy books. There wasn’t a lot of drama. There was snark. There was a lot of sassiness. Most of my characters were Southern. They were overcoming an issue, not trying to save anyone else or save the world. They wanted happiness and fulfillment and someone who cared enough to try.
4. I wrote back then, as I do now, primarily novellas. That means between 18,000 words and 40,000 words. Many of these hovering around the 20,000 to 32,000 word range. They’re not long books. They’re short. They’re to the point. They can be read in a weekend, in one night. They’re happy for now and happily ever after.
5. I’m re-releasing the books because I loved them and I was and am still proud of them. They were what got me into this business and they are how I’m going to find my way back. For the time they were originally published, they were hot and erotic. I don’t know, given some of what is on the erotic contemporary lists now, if mine would still qualify as such, but they are still sexy and graphic.
****Bonus**** Some of the characters are based on real people I know or have known personally. There’s light bdsm, but in general, it’s kink and hot sex. I touch on issues in the books, but I don’t delve deep. There was a reason for that. I wanted to write so that, for a night, a weekend, a couple of lunch breaks, someone could pick up one of my books and escape. They could just enjoy a light, sexy romance. I wasn’t trying to write the great American novel. I was trying to provide escape and happiness to people who liked to read.
All of the titles being re-released are revised and some are heavily re-edited. Price points have changed on them, as well. They are lower in price than what they were through their respective publishers to be more affordable.
In addition to the re-releases, there are a lot of new titles coming as well, starting March15th.
Dallon: A Simple Need Story
What started out as a pretty typical day, quickly spiraled when Dallon saw her. Buttoned up, full of curves, with a voice smooth as honey and eyes so innocent the flames of Hell warned him to keep on moving.
But then she walked into his bar, out of place and full of determination, and asked him to teach her all the things a downy, pure girl like her didn’t need to know.
What’s a guy like him supposed to do when temptation herself exits the Heavenly Highway straight onto Sin Street? He does the only thing he can do …
Warning: What’s done with a beer bottle in this little story may be illegal in forty-eight out of fifty states…and at least two territories. But they won’t tell, if you don’t.
Author’s Note: This novella was previously published by Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc. It has been lightly revised and edited from it’s original version.