If you’ve paid any attention to the re-release of Stick Shift this week, you may have noticed it’s not on Barnes and Noble or All Romance eBooks or Smashwords. There’s a reason for that and the title of this post makes that clear.
I’ve enrolled Stick Shift in Amazon Kindle Select. It’s exclusive to Amazon for 3 months. It’s a test, you see. For me. To try something new. To see how things work with Kindle Select. To utilize some of the deals and special things they have in place for authors who give them exclusivity. To see if it would be beneficial for another book down the line. To see how Kindle Unlimited affects things.
I’m not as savvy as some of the more successful self-publishing authors. I don’t know all the algorithms. I don’t know all the tips and tricks. I don’t know all the short cuts or how to play the system to make it work better for me and my books. I don’t have Amazon reps. I can only go off what I see, hear, observe, and by the answers to the questions I ask when I think someone might be willing to share information.
And it’s possible that I’m doing everything wrong, but that’s how we learn most of the time, or at least, that how’s I learn most of the time.
So, over the next couple of months, I’ll be trying these different things out while working on finishing up the second Bad Boys of Racing book and The Sticky Cowgirl.
Y’all have a great weekend. I’ll be writing and watching football.
Oh and if you have read Stick Shift and liked it, please consider leaving a review.
Stick Shift has a new look, a new blurb, a new price, and some new words. I’ve been working for weeks on the revisions and published it through Amazon.
For now, it is only available through Amazon. I am giving their Kindle Select program a try to see how I like it and wanted to do so with a re-release first before trying it with a brand spankin’ new book.
I mentioned that Stick Shift has some new words, and it does. I extended many scenes and left others along. It’s a little naughtier and Cam revealed some things to me that he wanted me to add in, which I did. There’s also an excerpt from the second book in the back which I am nearly finished with, and a molasses cookie recipe. Since Cam makes these cookies for Lily, I thought it was only right that make sure y’all have a chance to try them for yourselves.
If you’ve read Stick Shift before, thank you. If you haven’t, I hope you’ll give it a try.
The new price is $2.99 as opposed to the previous price of $5.99 when it was published through Loose Id. I don’t believe I’e undervalued my book, but I do believe that a re-release shouldn’t be priced anywhere near that high.
Now, how about that cover, huh?
Cam Carter is young, hot, and cocky as hell. He’s loved by some, respected by few, and hated by more. He’ll do anything to win the next race, the championship, or the heart of the girl.
Lily is unlike any other challenge Cam has faced. Quiet, full-figured, and several years older, she’s trying everything she can to resist the pull of this bad boy of racing.
Can they find a way to cross the finish line and take the checkered flag together? Or will obstacles, both inside and out, push against them until they crash and burn?
Oh God. She was really there, staring at him, and he – bless his gorgeous face – if his smile was anything to go by, he looked happy to see her. She suddenly felt out of her element again and not quite up to the dress code in her blue, lacy knee-length skirt and white frilly t-shirt. Her pink painted toes curled under as she shifted her weight nervously from one foot to the other in the cute, sparkly flip-flops Alli had talked her into wearing. Then again, there probably wasn’t a dress code, given that he was in faded, threadbare jeans with holes in the knees and one of the back pockets ripped at the seams. His T-shirt was black with a washed-out logo she couldn’t make out, and his sneakers had seen much better days. Still, she felt uncertain about how she looked standing there while they stared at each other. What was it about him that drew her and scared her all at the same time? Maybe it was his freshness, his youth, his smile that was all too knowing and aimed at her. Maybe it was because she was out of her depths and he was way out of her league.
Things like this just didn’t happen to women like her.
He stopped in front of her. “You’re here.” He sounded pleased and Lily hoped she wasn’t making a terrible mistake.
“I-I hope it’s okay that I just showed up without calling first. My friend drove me here and wouldn’t let me call. She was afraid I’d chicken out.”
“Would you have? Chickened out?”
“I tried several times, but I was already strapped into the seat of her car.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re here. I can stop checking my phone every thirty seconds now.”
Checking his phone? Surely he wasn’t serious. Guys didn’t do that sort of thing. Guys like Cam Carter didn’t do that sort of thing. “I’m sure you probably made plans for tonight. I just wanted to…” She wanted to what? She was stranded. Alli had left almost as soon as Lily’d stepped from the car. She hadn’t wanted to give Lily a chance to escape.
“You just wanted to what?” he prompted for her to continue.
Lily hated that she was stumbling all over her words. The man had her tongue-tied and she wished she hadn’t had that particular thought, because she would love to be tongue-tied, naked, and wrapped around him.
She had to stop thinking like that, too. Instead, if she could just stay focused on how much younger he was than her, how different their lives were, she might actually get out of this awkward mess unscathed.
“I don’t know, but I shouldn’t have shown up out of the blue.”
“I love the surprise. I don’t have plans other than you. If I did, I wouldn’t have told you to meet me. No one needs me until tomorrow, so that means I’m all yours tonight.”
“Oh.” She likely hadn’t hidden the surprise at his choice of words, because he laughed. All hers? Yeah, right. In what universe was a man like Cam Carter ever going to be “all hers”?
“You like that idea.”
He was reading her mind again, just as he’d done at the autograph session. She had to learn not to be so transparent. Alli was forever telling her that everything she thought or felt could be seen in her eyes and in the expressions on her face.
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She could do this. “Well, yes, of course. How could I not?” She’d play along. How often did an average, ordinary music teacher get this kind of opportunity? “I’d be crazy to not want you all to myself.”
“Great. Because that’s how I want you.” He stepped close and traced the outline of her cheekbone with his callused and scratched fingers that melted her even more. “All to myself.”
He was going to kiss her. She knew it because he took off his sunglasses, because the pulse beat in his neck had kicked into high gear, because his lips actually brushed hers. Oh. My. God.
He’s too young. He’s too young. He’s too young.
Her mind rattled off the litany, knowing she needed to remember it, no matter how weak it might be. It would be so easy to get carried away if she spent any kind of time with him. But all of her reminders, all of her good intentions drifted away at the softness of his lips, the insistent tip of his tongue, the feel of his hand sliding into her hair, the pressure and control he exerted in holding her mouth to his.
It was a brief kiss, just a small taste of him, but it was enough to whet her appetite for more. The little devil inside her head laughed. As if she needed her appetite whetted. For days she’d thought of him and little else. She’d never wrestled with anything more.
Should she or shouldn’t she?
More than once, she’d picked up the phone and dialed his number but never let the call go through. What if he hadn’t remembered her by just her name and voice alone? What if he put her off or changed his mind or hadn’t meant for her to take the date and time on the picture seriously? What if it was a bum number?
Lily’d been so uncertain what to do that Alli had forced her into the car and dropped her off at the race shop, exactly as she’d told Cam. As soon as Alli left, Lily entertained the notion of walking to the nearest bus stop, but then Cam stepped outside, and she couldn’t move, could barely breathe. She didn’t want to leave without trying. Trying what, she didn’t know, but there was definitely something in the air between them.
“Just as sweet as I knew you’d be,” he said softly, his lips still grazing hers
Just as hot as I remembered you being. Lily smiled, not trusting her voice to speak just yet.
“My shy little kitten.” He chuckled and shook his head. “What do you want to do? Dinner? A movie? A concert? A club? Whatever you want to do, we will do.”
“Shy, little kitten?” That had cleared the fog enough for her to open her mouth.
“Yes.” He nipped the tip of her nose with his lips. “You’re all shy and timid, like a scared kitten. Relax, beautiful. I won’t hurt you. I just want a date with you.”
His brow wrinkled and his mouth twitched at the corners when she stammered out her question. She wanted to kiss that mouth again and she wanted to brush her fingers against the creases in his forehead. She wanted to touch every inch of him, commit him to memory.
“Yes,” he confirmed. “What did you think this was?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t know you… A date? In public? With me?”
Cam’s smile faltered as he gazed at her curiously. Now he was the one looking uncomfortable. “Was I being presumptuous in thinking that you might like to go out with me?”
“I… No. No, not at all. I definitely would like to go out with you.”
“On a date? In public?” The light returned to his face as he teased her, and it took her breath away. Damn. The effect the man had on her.
She wasn’t strong enough to deny him or herself. He was offering her a chance few women ever got, just as Alli had said. Alli told her to make the most of it and Lily couldn’t think of a reason why she shouldn’t throw caution to the wind just once and do this one thing for herself.
“And just so we’re clear, Lily? It’s entirely possible that I’ll want more than one date by the time the evening is over.”
It’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…
I know I know! I’m late again. I spent the morning working on proofs and the afternoon at Charlotte Motorspeedway at the Nascar Nationwide Race. It was hot but it was great fun. And because today is Author’s Choice, I’m going to choose something different and new that I’ve been working on and am close to finished with…
In staying with the racing theme of my weekend, I’m going to take a snippet from the follow up to Stick Shift, titled Drive Shaft…
(it is unedited so just bear with me…)
She turned on her stool to see her ‘date’ making his way back to their table, four beers clutched two by two in each of his hands, three of the bottles she didn’t recognize the labels of. She supposed those three were for him and the Bud was for her. Good. Two was too many. She only wanted one, only needed one. One she could finish rather quickly, but two… She’d have to nurse a second one to not get a light-headed rush. She liked beer and wine well enough, but it didn’t take much to get her a little tipsy.
Tipsy combined with Hot Yummy would be a bad decision. Her parents raised her to know the difference, to weigh the consequences of her choices and her decisions, the good ones against the bad ones and more than one beer with Jason would be one of the monumental bad ones. She wouldn’t be able to control the urges already flowing through her. It’s how she and Grant had ended up in bed that first time. Beers. Three of them to be exact.
“For this place being in the middle of nowhere, it sure is crowded. And it’s only Wednesday,” Jason said as he rounded the table and put the bottles in the center.
Alli reached out and pulled the Corona toward her. “The other half of the crowd will be here after church tonight.”
Jason grinned and took her bottle, placing it out of reach. He shook his head and pushed one of the unknown ones toward her instead. “Try it.”
She eyed it with uncertainty. “What is it?”
“A good ol’ Texas beer.” He lifted his bottle and touched the edge to his lips, tilting it back slightly.
Alli was mesmerized, watching his throat work, completely forgetting her own bottle in front of her. She’d pulled the lime from the opening, intent on sucking on it as she always did but as she stared at him, she inadvertently squeezed it, dripping lime juice on the table and over her fingers.
It startled her out of staring and she looked down, hoping he hadn’t caught the guilty flush. His chuckle said he hadn’t missed it. Dammit all. The man had her flustered and she just didn’t like it. She picked up a napkin to wipe it off because no way in hell was she going to lick the lime juice off with him right there. No Sirree Bob. She wasn’t going to give him any ammunition or reason to… To what she didn’t know, but she wasn’t giving it to him.
He beat her to the napkin, though instead of wiping it across her hand, he swiped his thumb through the juice. He didn’t use the napkin to clean his thumb either. No, he licked it, long and slow and she watched it, rapt and caught.
He locked gazes with her and then offered her the napkin.
“Wha-what’s this for?”
“To wipe the drool off your chin.”
He said it so seriously, with such a straight expression on his face that it took her a few seconds to realize there was a teasing glint in his eyes. And…a few seconds more to realize that she’d unconsciously lifted her hand to wipe her chin.
She narrowed her gaze at him as she felt heat creep up her neck and into her cheeks. She dropped the napkin. “You’re not funny.”
“You’re not cute.”
“I’m damn adorable.”
“You’re not sexy.”
“You haven’t seen me naked.”
“You’re not my type.”
“I’m so you’re type, but more importantly, you’re very much my type.”
He sat back and drained the rest of his beer in one long pull. She continued to watch his throat work as he swallowed, watched his hand as it curled tighter around the bottle. When he put it down, she was mesmerized again by him, stared at him as he licked his tongue across his lips.
“More drool, Alli.”
He reached out and touched the bottom of her chin with his forefinger and dragged upward until he was pressing against her bottom lip. She opened her mouth slowly and bit.
“Son of a bitch!” He yanked his hand away and glared at her. “What the hell was that for?”
“Teasing with me. Toying with me.”
“You deserve a paddling for that.”
She gave a very unladylike snort. “As if you could give me one.”
“More than if you don’t watch it.” He tilted his second beer bottle up and swallowed a healthy bit.
“Oh I’m shaking in my boots.” She followed suit with her beer, though she was still on her first bottle.
“You’re going to be shaking in a whole lot less than your boots when I’m finished.”
“You think you can get me in less than my boots? You think you can get me naked?”
“No doubt in my mind.”
“You’ve got a damn fine one.”
So did he but she wasn’t about to tell him that, wasn’t about to admit anything at all to him like that. He’d caught her staring more than once and she wasn’t going to give him any more ammunition, at least not with words. Words she couldn’t take back. Looks she could deny all she wanted and he had no proof but once the words were out there she’d never be able to lie and say she hadn’t said them.
She polished off the rest of her beer and sat back in her seat. “Who are you? Really, I mean.”
“Jake is my older brother.”
Alli knew her eyes had grown wide. “I didn’t know Jake had a brother.”
“Yeah, neither did he, until recently. He’s my half brother.”
“Same mother or father?”
“Father. After his mom passed summer of last year, he came looking for dad in the off season.”
“Wow. I don’t know what to say. That had to have been hard on both of you.”
“It was. Of course, dad knew who Jake was, had followed Jake’s career, but he’d never tried to capitalize on Jake’s name. He’d given up his parental rights to Jake a long time ago.”
Alli just nodded and kept quiet. She’d grown up in a fully functioning family. Her parents hadn’t divorced until she was grown and gone and she was still close with both of them. She didn’t know what it would be like to grow up knowing you had a parent out there that willingly gave up all rights to you.
But then she asked, “Did your dad put you in racing?”
“No. That was all my doing. I mean, I used to sit and watch races with him but I asked about getting into it. I wanted to do it. I thought it looked cool going two hundred miles an hour in a car.”
As he talked and shared more about himself and his life, Alli found herself increasingly curious about and interested in him. She didn’t want that. She had enough to concentrate and focus on. She didn’t need the distraction of a guy, especially one like him. Young, hot, cowboy race car driver. Damn, she didn’t think it could get any better than that.
“What are you thinking?”
“Huh?” Alli shook her head and picked up her other beer. This was definitely gonna be a two beer night. And likely more than two, but not before she had it out with Grant about why setting her up with Jason was such a bad idea. “What? Nothing why?”
Jason smirked and shook his head. “You don’t lie very well.”
“I’m not lying about anything.”
“Then tell me what you were thinking.”
“Why do you care?”
“I can’t get to know you unless I know what’s going on in that pretty head of yours. I’m a lot of things, but a mind reader isn’t one of them.”
“It’s not as if we’re getting involved. This is just one date.”
“Oh we’re getting involved all right. This isn’t just one date. This is the first date.”
Jason grinned and took a swallow of his beer. “Confident. We’ve been over these traits.”
“We haven’t been over the trait of asshole.”
“No, because I’m not one.” He put his bottle down. “What are you studying?”
“I’m taking some marketing and business classes.”
“For your new business?”
“What is it?”
“I’d rather not say.”
“I’d rather you did say. Look, Alli I really do want to know about you. I liked you even before we met and really like you now that we have. I want to know about you from you. Grant has told me all this, but I really would like to hear it from you. Please.”
“Just the first date?”
“Yes. I’d like to see you again.”
“Neither one of us has the time.”
“There’s always time.”
“You’re too young to be that wise.”
“It’s not wise. It’s…determination. If somethin’s worth it, you make the time. I’ll make the time for you.”
She considered him as she toyed with the bottle in front of her. She picked at the yellow label and turned the bottle around. Shiner Bock. She’d never heard of it before. She wasn’t even sure she’d tasted it as it went down. It had been smooth, heady, much more so than the normal, everyday beers she drank.
As she got a corner of the label between her fingernails, lowered her gaze as she peeled the paper from the dark brown bottle. He was watching her, waiting for an answer. He wanted to date her. They’d just met. It was crazy. They didn’t know one another. How could he want to date her? How could she want to crawl up his body and ride him until they were both so worn out…? How could he offer her a spanking? How could she not give him a chance?
“Am I gonna start seein’ smoke comin’ out your ears? You’re thinkin’ real hard, Alli.”
She peeked at him. Wasn’t he too young for her to take seriously? Wasn’t he too young to be talking so much older and wiser than his years? And what in the hell was she thinking? The drivers and crew members liked to have just as much fun as the next person, but they also had a maturity that men twice their age sometimes didn’t have. They’d have to though. They had a dangerous job. A cool job, but dangerous. It was part of the reason she was drawn to the sport, but also why she kept things cool and casual.
She wasn’t sure cool and casual would fit in with Jason’s ideas of dating. “How do you know I’m worth it?”
He laughed. “Need compliments that bad?” He shook his head and took the beer bottle from her, sliding her beloved Corona in front of her. She grabbed at it like it was a life jacket. “I don’t know it, but I’m willing to try anyway. You have some good people in your corner. I tend to trust their judgment and they say you’re worth it.”
And they should know, she thought. They’d been around her long enough to see her good and bad sides. “Casual?”
“As casual as you want?” he offered.
His eyes widened and she had to admit to a feeling of pride at having caught him off guard with that question. He’d kept her on her toes for the last hour or so. It was time for the tables to turn just a bit.
“If you want.”
He spoke around the mouth of the bottle before tilting enough for the amber colored liquid to flow between his lips. She didn’t know who she was kidding with the sex talk. She’d do him right there on the floor if she could get away with it.
“I might not.” She was full of crap. She only hoped he couldn’t see through her to know that.
I’m sure you’ve already read snippets from the other participating authors, but just in case…
Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Mandy M Roth
Have a wonderful holiday weekend! I’ll be racin’ it tomorrow again with the Nascar Coca-Cola 600.
And by the way, Say Anything is one of my favorite movies. Ever. Lloyd Dobler Rules!
Hey y’all! Grab a seat and let’s talk…cookies. Yeah, I know. It’s a little odd to have a character such as Cam Carter from Stick Shift know how to make cookies. Molasses cookies at that, but he does. See, his mama thought it would something good for him to know, something good for him to be able to sneak out of his back pocket when he was trying to impress a girl. And impress, it does. I don’t care who you are, most of us, like and or wish a man we loved/lusted after knew his way around the kitchen with either sweets or coffee.
I know I would have appreciated it. However, DH does know how to load a dishwasher much better than I ever could have managed, so maybe we’re even…sorta. But, I still love the idea of a man cooking, baking even… At least making me coffee. There’s something inherently wonderful about being woo’ed that way, being taken care of in that basic way. It’s intimate.
Cam uses his way with cookies as a way to mend the bridge between himself and Lily, as a way to soften her heart toward him, as a way to, as his mother had once said, impress the girl.
Now, really… who wouldn’t melt at a bad boy race car driver bringing you cookies that he’d made himself? I know I damn sure would…
Do you have a man who cooks for you? Cooks with you? If so, can I come for a visit? 😉
Just Like Starbucks Molasses Cookies (borrowed from Kate at Stolen Moments Cooking)
- 3/4 c. butter or margarine
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/3 c. blackstrap molasses (or 1/2 c. plain molasses)
- 2 1/2 c. flour (You can use any combination white/whole wheat flour)
- 2 t. baking soda
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. nutmeg
- 1/2 t. ginger
- For rolling dough – 1/2 c. white sugar
1. Cream the butter or margarine and brown sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat for an additional minute.
2. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Sift or stir with a fork or whisk for 30 seconds.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Cover dough and refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours, until firm.
4. Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into a ball, then roll through white sugar. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
I love Molasses Cookies. They are my favorite, especially if iced, but I’ll take them sugared as well.
An orchestra musician, a private music teacher, and a homebody, Lily’s a full-figured, quiet woman who lives a fairly simple and solitary life. Aside from music, she has one big passion: stock car racing. She’s been a fan for as long as she can remember and makes the yearly pilgrimage to Daytona as often as she can. When she’s offered a chance to get away to North Carolina and attend two weeks of races, she jumps at it. Little does she know what that chance has in store for her…
Cam Carter is one of the most successful young drivers in the top tier of the stock car racing circuit. All over the country, he’s well known to racing fans, loved by some, respected by a few, and hated by others. He’s arrogant, strong willed, and a consistent winner. What he doesn’t have is balance…until he meets a pretty, very curvaceous, and unassuming fan named Lily.
Lily fears the difference in lifestyles, ages, and personalities while Cam in turn, embraces them. Can they find a way to cross the finish line and take the checkered flag together or will the obstacles push against them until they crash and burn?
Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse.
Available as an ebook from Loose-id, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks, Sony Reader
Hopefully next time, Cam will be able to take time out of his busy racing schedule to join us 😉