Do you see all those words there? They suck. They suck ass. And every last one of them are real. I know because I have first hand experience with each and every one.
Why is the title of this post ‘Under Caution’? Because that’s how I’ve been proceeding the last 7 years. Under. Caution. No green flag. Not even a red flag. Just the yellow one. The one that keeps you in place. The one that keeps you from moving forward or backward. Just going…nowhere.
The words over there <—-, I have been NONE of those. Part of that is because I’ve been holding on to Lissa Matthews for too long, the Lissa Matthews I started out as way back when. I’ve been holding onto her for so damn long and it’s not done me or you, the reader, any good.
The Lissa Matthews who wrote Pink Buttercream Frosting, Simple Needs, Sweet Caroline, Cracklin’ Rosie… She’s gone, y’all. She’s been gone since 2010.
A personal experience. A loss. A sadness. A weakness. All of those things took hold and never let go. I never let them go. I didn’t know how. (Let me tell you, this honesty stuff is HARD) But she’s not coming back.
So many readers have been waiting, hoping for her to come back and she’s not going to. She’s gone. That voice. That writing. That feeling. It’s all GONE! We all have to let her go. I’ve tried so hard to find her. To emulate her. To get her to show up, even for just a moment, and she’s gone. It’s hard to admit. It’s hard to tell y’all that. But it’s time. It’s been time.
So, if you’re waiting for her to come back, stop. Because she’s gone. Like the Hall and Oates song said, we better learn how to face it.
I know what went wrong, but I haven’t known how to fix it. And I’m still not 100% sure how, but it comes down to embracing the loss of that Lissa and embracing the Lissa who’s left.
I have to stop being scared. And I’m scared shitless. The voices I still hear. The words I still see. The disappointment I still feel. The time I’ve wasted and the uncertainty where I fit. The publishing world has changed while I’ve been riding around under caution. The expectations of readers have changed.
Every. Fucking. Thing. Has. Changed. And I know I can’t keep up, not going at the pace and direction I’ve been going in.
So, this is where we need to be. Where I need to be…
Facing my fears. Never giving up. Finding motivation. Excelling. Knowing where I’m going and why.
I don’t know how to get out from under caution, but I’m going to get the green flag. Lissa Matthews will still be writing. She, I, have too many projects and readers depending on me. I may try a new pen name, though. I may not. I may continue to write everything under Lissa Matthews. While I’m supposed to be concerned with my brand and making sure everything fits with everything else and who else reads me while they read others because that’s how some of the algorithms work with Amazon, I’m more concerned with finding myself and putting out books that we all love. You, the readers, and Me, the author.
I used to believe I could make it in this business. I haven’t believed that in longer than I care to admit or think about. But it’s time… Again… And if you’re one of the readers who’ve been waiting for the Lissa Matthews of Pink Buttercream Frosting and Simple Need to resurface, I’m sorry. She’s gone, her voice, her emotion, her naivete. It’s gone. I’m different. Lissa Matthews is different. It was never meant to be that way. It was never meant to happen. But it did. It’s time to move on and learn from the past and change and grow.
Eli’s Promise is the second book in The Bar Next Door series. It follows part-owner and bartender Eli as he struggles with his feelings for the young, hot buck Asa as well as his feelings about letting go of his lover Thad who’d passed away several years ago.
Eli is rough. He’s scared to let go and he’s scared to take a chance. This book is about the deathbed promise he made and the steps he takes or doesn’t take to fulfill it.
It’s also full of sass and vinegar. Malachi and Danny make appearances and all in all it was a fun book to write, hard at times, emotional, but fun.
Here’s a little (unedited still) taste…
Asa. God. How did the boy do that? How was he able to sneak up on Eli like that all the fucking time? “This has got to stop.”
Malachi laughed. “You’ve been off your game and out of the game for a while now.” He clapped a hand on Eli’s shoulder and headed out of the office. “I think it’s time you get back in it.”
Eli nodded and waited until Malachi was gone before he turned to face the man he wanted more than he wanted his the next breath. He held that air captive as he got a look at Asa.
Sweat dripped from his brow and the T-shirt he wore was plastered to his tan skin. Jeans hung low and his scuffed boots were crossed at his ankles. He could see the tail end of a red and white bandana hanging from a ripped back pocket and when Eli finished his perusal and met the bright green eyes again, a knowing smirk crossed Asa’s full lips.
“I don’t think you’ve been quite so frank in looking at me before. I think I kinda like it.”
“Yeah well, don’t let it go to your head.”
“Which head would that be?”
Eli chose to ignore the bait. He didn’t want to but it was best for the time being that he do so. “What are you doing here?”
“Unloading the beer.”
“Malachi said it wouldn’t be here for a couple hours.”
“Seems like it. He’s been helping you out, you realize that, right?”
“I do. It wasn’t a subtle helping out. He seemed to know when you needed the extra shove or push.”
The next words were going to be hard for him to part with… “I’m glad he has.” And then it was his turn to smile when Asa’s eyes widened. He moved toward the desk and leaned back against the solid wood surface. “This isn’t easy for me, Asa.” He tried for a casual stance, but found his hands tightly gripping the edges.
“I know. I mean, I don’t know, but, I know something isn’t easy for you.”
Eli nodded. Here goes nothing. “His name was Thad…” And down the road he went, sharing with Asa the details about the only man he’d ever loved, and at the time, the only man he could ever see himself loving and living life with. He kept his eyes on Asa, unwilling to break the contact, unwilling to forget who he was talking to, unwilling to get lost in the memories. It wasn’t easy and through some parts—he was close to breaking down—but he got it all out.
“How did he die?”
“Motorcycle accident. Car came out of nowhere. Thad was always trying something new and he’d always wanted to get a bike. They said the helmet was what kept him alive for the few days he lived afterward, but really, in the end it didn’t matter.”
The voice was soft, tender and nearly his undoing. “Thank you.” He found he meant it too. He wasn’t sure he felt that way in the past when people said those words, but he did with Asa.
“I don’t want to take his place,” Asa said, coming to stand in between Eli’s parted thighs.
“I know you don’t. I—”
“I just want you to give me a chance. You said he was my age when he died. I’m not him though, Eli. I’m me and I’m here, alive, and I want you.”
“I…” He tried to muster some objections, his tried and true lines of defense, but nothing came out. When he closed his mouth, Asa kissed him—sweet. It was so different than their other encounters and Eli savored the mere feel of Asa’s lips touching his.
“You’ve been through so much and you’re pretty young, too, to have gone through it. And look. You’re alive too.”
Eli just nodded. He didn’t have any words to add. Asa was right. He’d buried his lover and his hopes and dreams all at the same time before he was twenty-five. He’d had to grow up in a short span because the days were going to go by no matter what he wanted, even if that included dying too.
Thad woulda been so pissed had Eli taken his own life. “He made me promise that I’d find someone new one day.”
Eli smiled. It was bittersweet, but it was the first smile he’d been able to offer when speaking of those last moments. “Yeah. He said he w-wouldn’t let go of the pain until I promised him that I’d find someone someday and let them love me.” As he spoke, Asa pried his fingers free of the desk and looped them through his belt loops. Eli gripped the thin pieces of denim as though they were the only things keeping him there.
“Hold onto me now. You can do the same thing. You can let go of the pain and hold on to me.”
The words, so kind and genuine, broke him. The kiss that followed made him hungry. The tears he didn’t even realize were falling were wiped away by rough, workman’s hands.
He pulled Asa closer, deep into the opening of his legs. They were both hard and warmth spread through his chest, his belly and he tangled his tongue with the younger man’s. Asa gave as good as he got and met each thrust with a parry of his own.
“Do you remember what I promised you?” Asa urged the question out through barely moving lips. He hadn’t lifted his head by much and Eli could see brown and copper flecks in the irises of Asa’s eyes.
“I do.” At the suggestion, his cock pulsed behind the placket of his jeans.
“Good.” Asa nudged himself at Eli. “See? This is what you do to me. Only you, Eli.”
“Asa, I…” But his words died when Asa dropped to his knees in front of the desk. His mouth dried up like a desert and he couldn’t do more than helplessly watch. He braced his hands again as Asa pulled at the button and let the zipper down.
This book has a release date of December 10th.
Y’all have a great day!