Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What Rude Waitstaff?

Ok seriously... HUGE pet peeve of mine when I'm reading a book - the rude waitress who completely ignores the heroine, heavily flirts with the hero who (somehow) is completely oblivious, and is occasionally outright nasty to the heroine.


First of all, I've never seen this happen.  Ever.  I spent years working in the restaurant industry.  I have friends who still work in the restaurant industry.  I have never seen / heard of this happening.  I've never talked to anyone to whom this has happened or even seen anything on Facebook about this happening... so why the heck does it happen in like, every other romance novel?  As if this is somehow common?

A server might flirt, if they think that the person they're flirting with is single, but no one is going to jeopardize their tip money just because someone is hot.  Tip money is INCOME.  Servers don't make that much.  Income is important.  Insulting a chick who is out with a hot guy is not as important as rent, food, utilities, etc.  Not even to the younger servers who are still living with their parents or going to school.  They are working for a reason, and it's not just for fun.  Jeopardizing that, especially by being awful enough that a manager should really be called over, is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

Also, as an aside, if you're ever out with someone, and the server DOES completely ignore you and act like a total jerk, and your date "doesn't notice," ditch the date.  Because they should notice if you're being completely ignored or if the server is being rude to you.

But it won't happen.  Because it doesn't happen.

Do you have any idea how many hot men I served every day in the restaurant?  Plenty of whom were single and wanted my number?

Besides which, TIP MONEY.  No one's going to jeopardize their income to flirt with a dude, who will probably then leave a shitty tip because you've been rude to his girlfriend.  Or sister.  Or friend.  Or whatever.

It's one of the stupidest romance tropes and it drives me nuts.

On to my own writing... Bound to the Past is going slowly but surely.  Real life has settled a bit and so I have more time to write.  Yay!  =)  I'm really enjoying Kate and Andrew and getting into both their past and their present.  They're fascinating to me, especially because they really did both get over each other and yet they're still connected and have all this past history, and new feelings for each other.  So much is the same and yet different.

It's fun =)

So that's what's going on with me now... ranting and writing WOOT!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

UGH Stupid Block

I haven't written a blog in a while, but I have writer's block right now so I figured I'd try to break through it on here... ramble a little, see if anything sparks.

Currently working on Bound to the Past, the next book in the Stronghold series, aka Andrew and Kate's story, aka my first ever exes getting back together story.

It's hard.

Not because the characters are hard.  Nope.  They're great.  Love them.  Know exactly what I want to do with them.  Fleshing it out... hard.

The prologue flowed soooooo easily.  I've been waiting so long to write that scene!  Well, series of scenes.  It's a bit difficult because I've dropped so many hints about what went down between them, but my vision of what happened between them has changed drastically since I first started writing the series.

I knew what I didn't want.

I didn't want this to be a "one person is to blame for everything" kind of breakup.  I didn't want there to be any stupid miscommunications or misunderstandings or people not talking to each other because they're too prideful (aka don't actually care enough).  I didn't want this to be a case where someone is clearly in the wrong - even if it appears that way initially.

I didn't want a book where both of them have been in love with each other for years and can't find anyone else.  Nope.  Just a heads up, if you're hoping for a "I've never loved anyone like you and never will again" type of book, this isn't it.  Both of them have moved on and gotten over each other, although Andrew's never quite gotten over his issues surrounding their breakup.  Kate's done a better job with that, but she's still got some baggage too.  This isn't going to be a reconnecting, "we're going to fix things now because we could have never loved anyone but each other."  Mostly because I don't believe in that.  I've been in love with two men in my life, passionately and desperately, fortunately at different times.  One of those relationships worked out, but the first one didn't.  And for a long time, I believed the whole "I'll never love anyone like I loved him" and "you never get over your first love" thing.  I mean, no I won't love anyone like I loved him and thank goodness for that, because it wasn't super healthy and I wouldn't want my relationships to be the same.  Since he was my first love and I am definitely over him (you couldn't pay me to get back together with him, but I do enjoy running into him at mutual friends' gatherings and knowing that he's doing well and is happy), I know that it's possible.

I didn't want a book about love lasting over time when there's no connection between the two characters.  Sure, nostalgia lasts, caring lasts, but real love?  With no communication and no longer knowing the person?  Yeah, that's not realistic.  Not when the timeline is years.

I wanted a book about falling in love a second time with the same person.  The same person, but a person who has changed.  Who has grown.  It's not the same relationship.  I wanted roadblocks where there were none before, I wanted struggling to understand the changes their partner has gone through.  New issues, new relationship, same people.

The prologue and the first couple of chapters were so easy.  The just floooowed.  Now I'm to Andrew and Kate trying to scene at Stronghold again and I'm hitting a few roadblocks myself.  Not sure why.  Haven't even gotten them to the private room yet.  But it's like, I write a few paragraphs and then I just... *brain fizzle*

So I'll step away and work on something else for a bit.  Mostly another title for Dark Angel.  But even there, I write maybe 2 or 3 times as much as I do for Andrew and Kate and then... *brain fizzle*

So I'll take a break, start reading something, and then my brain starts working over time and I start figuring out all these things that I'm going to write for Andrew and Kate if I can just get past this ONE DAMN SCENE.


Stupid brain.

Okay, my fingers are feeling a little more interested in working now that I've vented a bit and gotten kind of in the mood for writing.  Let's see if I can't get more than just a couple paragraphs done!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

New Release - Gabrielle's Discipline!

It's up!  It's here!  Enjoy!

To escape the scandal of trying to elope with an unworthy man, Gabrielle finds herself married to the man she loves - a charming rake and her guardian's best friend, Mr. Felix Hood. He's the third son of a Viscount, he's darkly handsome, and he's in love with her stepmother. Or so she thinks. 

Felix Hood had been fighting the urge to be leg shackled ever since he met Gabrielle Astley, but once her honor was at stake, he knew he'd rather die then allow her to marry someone else. He's not a perfect man, and he has no experience with being in a relationship, but he's determined to make his marriage work, even if he has to spank his fiery bride daily to do so. 

They retreat to the countryside immediately following their wedding, where Felix hopes to strengthen their relationship before they return to London for the end of the Season. To his delight, Gabrielle turns out to be everything he'd hoped in private - he's submissive, passionate, and responds beautifully to even his darkest desires. But what will happen when they return to London Society? 

Gabrielle is determined to replace her stepmother in Felix's affections. She's been through a multitude of changes in her life, none of which have ended particularly happily for her, but she has to make one last try - because, after all, she's married to him for better or worse, till death do them part. To her surprise, once they're alone, he seems to return her regard and she blossoms under his discipline and care... but will he still feel the same when he's faced with Cordelia, Gabrielle's stepmother again? 

Step into a world of alpha males, spankings, very steamy situations, and domestic discipline. Gabrielle's Discipline is approximately 90k words and is a standalone within a series, complete with a HEA for the couple. 

Gabrielle and Felix's story began in Philip's Rules and was further explored in Undisciplined, however it is not necessary to read either book to enjoy this one (although it is encouraged for a deeper understanding of the characters).

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pre-Order Now! - Gabrielle's Discipline

Yay!  Gabrielle's Discipline is now available for Pre-order on Amazon =)  It will release on June 25 everywhere.  After release, the price will go up to $3.99.  On Smashwords and Barnes & Noble it will be $2.99 for the first week and then go up after that (since I can't do pre-orders there).  Basically I'm trying to keep the price the same for my loyal fans who follow my social media and so are the first to know when a new book comes out, even though I'm increasing the prices of my books this year.  So pre-order and get a deal!

I'm super excited to finally be able to share this book with you... Gabrielle has been one of the hardest characters to write.  First because she was so mean.  Then because I discovered she was so sad.  And then because she's very moody lol.  I had a lot of fun with her in the end though, and I especially enjoyed Felix becoming exasperated along with me at all her mood swings and antics.  Although, sometimes I felt like kicking him too.  He's possibly one of the most clueless alpha males I've ever had the pleasure of writing, and I do feel like that's a good thing.  He's very real to me, in large part because he struggles with the relationship and Gabrielle.  My alpha males aren't perfect and I love them for that, because they're willing to admit it and keep trying to become better.

I'm knee deep in editing right now to get the final draft submitted by the deadline, and really looking forward to this one coming out!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Rolling rolling rolling

keep them doggies rolling...


Yeah, don't know why that's stuck in my head.  Maybe because things are rolling along pretty well here =)

ANYWAY.  Just wanted to do a little update-poo.

I am finally feeling 100% like myself again.  Still missing my grandfather but I'm past the worst of my grief and, well, I never want to stop missing him so that's okay.

I'm hard at work on Gabrielle's Discipline and I'm 90% sure that it will be out for pre-order by the end of May! YAY!  So I'm only going to be about 15 days behind where I wanted to be and that's pretty good.

Gabrielle is... well, let's just say I've never had a character make me cry so much.  I didn't mean for her to be so sad.  I keep having to remind myself that she's also still pretty selfish, not very nice, and doesn't have to act out the way that she does... but at the same time I just want to hug the crap out of her!  I cried all through the scene I wrote on Friday (looking forward to sending that to the beta readers tonight lol).  Of course, I'm a little more emotional lately anyway, but still.

RaineyCloud9 has done a gorgeous promo for me and I should have a cover reveal later this week!

I'm going to try to get another story done for Lit this month.  I'm trying to get at least one done a month.  None of what I'm writing there is going to be very plot heavy for a while though... things are too heavy in book world lol.  I need the Lit stories to be nice and light by contrast so that my brain doesn't explode ;)

And once I'm finally done with Gabrielle's Discipline, I'll be moving back to Stronghold for Andrew and Kate's story in Bound to the Past.  Which... is also going to be kind of emotional.  WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?! lol.  I'm really looking forward to it though.  This will be my first chance at second chance love!  Which, I usually don't enjoy books about second chance love all that much, so this is my challenge... writing one that I like lol.  I'm looking forward to getting back into Stronghold, as much fun as I've had in the Bridal Discipline world for a bit.

For those keeping track at home, Stronghold only has a few more books left!  Bound to the Past, Stripping the Sub, Tempting the Domme, and Hardcore Vanilla ;)  After that, I do have a novella quartet that I want to write in that world, but I don't know if I'm going to jump right into them or not.  As much as I love writing series, it does limit me on what I can write and I'd like to try writing in a different genre for a bit!  Maybe something in space...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Gabrielle's Discipline Teaser

So, I was aiming to get Gabrielle's Discipline completed and up for pre-order by May 15... however, my grandfather passed away last week and I pretty much spent the entire week grieving and with family, doing all the things that are done.  I'm getting back into the swing of writing now, but obviously I'm a week behind where I thought I would be at this point.  I'm still aiming to have it up for pre-order by the end of this month.

In the meantime... enjoy an unedited teaser =)

Leaving Dunbury house was much harder than Gabrielle had anticipated.  She'd already said farewell to Arabella after the wedding breakfast, hugging her friendly tightly and exchanging promises to write.  Arabella had mourned the loss of Gabrielle at her side for the Season. 
"Now I'll be trapped with all the ninnies who just want to speak with me in hopes of an introduction to him," she pouted, jerking her head at her brother, the Duke.  The Duke just raised an eyebrow at her and turned back to the Marquess and Cordelia to say something.  "Stodgy bore," Arabella muttered.  She pulled Gabrielle in for another tight hug.  "When you get back, you must tell me all about it.  Perhaps you should take notes so that you don't forget anything important."
Trust Arabella to make her laugh, even at a moment such as this!  Gabrielle clung just as tightly to her friend.
"Maybe it won't be very impressive," Gabrielle murmured back, hiding her real fear, which was that Mr. Hood wouldn't be interested in doing it with her.  Although, from what she'd heard, men didn't need to feel any emotion with the woman they did it with.  Otherwise, they wouldn't go through so many mistresses.  And Mr. Hood was a rake.  He must have done it with countless women.
Which just made her feel sick and sad again.  She really must push past these emotions that bubbled up when it came to him.  
Giggling, Arabella whispered back. "Well then you must tell me all about how disappointing it was."
"What are you two talking about?" The Duke of Manchester's voice was full of suspicion - as well it might be - as he loomed over them.  They broke apart, Gabrielle now giggling as well, a nervous burble of laughter that felt perilously close to hysterics.  Arabella's brother was an imposing figure with his meticulously styled dark brown hair and brooding eyes; every inch of him was pressed, starched, and - as Arabella would say - stodgy.  Although he was certainly handsome enough to be a rake, and had the supreme confidence of one, he lacked the air of danger.  There was something very safe about him, as if he exuded honor from his every pore.
It was a sad joke on him that he was responsible for a high-spirited, mischievous, little imp like Arabella.  While they looked very alike in facial features and coloring, they were nothing alike in temperament or spirit.  Arabella had been an eager accomplice to Gabrielle's romantic misadventures since her come-out, just for the delight of making mischief and so that she could badger Gabrielle for the details at a later date.  She was very cynical about her own suitors and their supposed romantic interest in her.  
"I was just wishing Gabrielle well on her journey," Arabella said, batting her eyes up at her brother in a way that she probably thought made her look innocent.  Gabrielle had discovered very early on that Arabella was a terrible liar.  However, she was stubborn enough to just keep silent about a secret once it was told to her, no matter what dire threats her brother might rain down upon her head.  Arabella shook her brown curls at the Duke.  "You have no faith in me, brother."
"I have no reason to, sister," the Duke said dryly.  His gaze moved to Gabrielle's face and his stern countenance softened.  "Do have a good journey though, Mrs. Hood."
Gabrielle jerked, a kind of shock going through her as she was addressed by her new name for the first time.  
"Oh that does sound strange!"  Walter Hood, her new brother-in-law jostled in to give Gabrielle a buss on the cheek.  She smiled at him, although weakly.  She got along quite well with both of her new brothers-in-law; they were just as charming and handsome as he was, although for some reason they'd never made her heart race like her new husband did.  "Mrs. Hood, my sister-in-law.  Who'd have thought Felix would be the first to tie the knot?" 
"Anyone who's met us knows that I'm the mature one," her Mr. Hood said, stepping up beside Gabrielle and putting his arm around her, tugging her against him.  She looked up at him in a kind of shock; the movement had been strangely akin to one she'd seen the Marquess use on Cordelia when one of his friends was flirting with her. 
He was giving his brother a dark glare, the way Arabella often did when challenging her brother.  Gabrielle had watched the way the sibling relationships worked and she could tell when they were teasing each other and when they were in earnest.  This was teasing but... with an edge that wasn't normally present.  
Perhaps now that she was his wife, he felt possessive of her?
It shouldn't make her feel happy, but it did.  Just a little.  At least he wanted her in some way, considered her to be his, and put a small importance on her person.  That was more than she'd expected.
"It's time we were off," he announced, tugging her towards the front door of Dunbury house where the carriage was waiting outside.  Arabella had been her last - and longest - farewell.  "We have a ways to go today, but we can be there before nightfall if we make good time."
"I sent a runner ahead to inform mother that you're coming," the eldest Mr. Hood said with a grin.  He was the most serious of the three brothers, probably because he was the heir to the Viscountcy, so Gabrielle was unsurprised he'd taken responsibility for such an important chore.  "I wish I could be there to see how you're received."
"I'll just bet you do," Mr. Hood muttered as he escorted Gabrielle out of the door.
She almost balked at the precipice, but there was really nothing to do but allow him to lead her to the carriage and help her in.  For all that she'd hated Dunbury House when she'd first arrived, hated how out of place she'd felt, how alone, now all she wanted to do was turn round and barricade herself behind the door. 
Why hadn't she thought through the wider implications of what might happen if her plan failed?  Although, even when her thoughts had touched on it - during those few times she'd allowed herself to think of failure - she had never imagined that Mr. Hood might put himself forward to save her.  At worst, she thought she'd be dismissed to the countryside, to live out her days in seclusion.  It would mean giving up the excitement and events in London, but she'd quickly found that such things didn't mean as much to her as she'd thought they would.
While she'd enjoyed having suitors, loved the flowers and poems showered upon her, especially appreciated her friendship with Arabella, and had even begun to value her relationship with Cordelia and the Marquess, it had all paled when she'd realized that her suitors were probably more interested in her dowry and connections than in her, and that her... attraction to Mr. Hood was not reciprocated.  The situation had become intolerable when she'd realized that his regard was for Cordelia, and that living in Dunbury House meant being forced to watch him fawn over her stepmother constantly.
And now he was her husband.
Gabrielle's pace slowed as they neared the carriage; she felt as though the air was made of molasses.  Of all the changes her life had gone through, this had to be the most frightening.  Her breath caught in her throat as panic welled.  
Her new husband relinquished her hand to wrap his arm around her waist, driving her inexorably forward.

"It's too late to change your mind," he whispered in her ear, his voice harsh.  Gabrielle blinked back tears that threatened, unable to reply, because she knew that if she tried to speak she'd burst into tears and she certainly wasn't willing to let him see her do that.  "Into the carriage."

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy Release Day! - Undisciplined

Hooray!!! So for everyone who wanted to know what was going on between Gabrielle and Felix during Philip's Rules, here is Undisciplined!  You do not need to read the former to enjoy the latter, or to enjoy Gabrielle's Discipline when it comes out.  This is definitely just a bonus book.  But I think it's a fun bonus book and a good one =)  My beta readers enjoyed getting to know Gabrielle better and, seeing things from her side, they all said they felt more sympathetic towards her bad behavior in Philip's Rules.  I had a lot of fun writing it.  I really enjoy Gabrielle and Felix and I'm having a good time writing their story now... I think this little bonus novella adds a lot even if it isn't a necessary read.

I hope everyone enjoys!!! Remember, the nicest thing you can do for an author is to let me know if you enjoyed it by leaving a review! =)

It's currently up on Amazon and Smashwords, and I will let you all know when Barnes & Noble releases as well =)

Gabrielle Astley is quite used to being an afterthought, a burden, a nuisance. As the only child - and a useless female one at that - to a Baron, she was both spoiled materially and neglected emotionally. After her father's death, his third wife and her stepmother is remarried, to the stern and cold Marquess of Dunbury. Since the new Baron wants nothing to do with Gabrielle, the Marquess is her new guardian and Gabrielle finds herself in London, receiving her debut. Despite this turn of events, she can't quite shake her spite of her stepmother, and her attitude lands her into hot water and her first spanking at the hand of her guardian. 

The Marquess seems eager to marry her off, and Gabrielle has no objection to that goal. London has everything she ever wanted - glamour, excitement, and, for some reason, quite a few people actually seem to like and take an interest in her. When the Marquess' best friend, the rakish Felix Hood becomes one of those people, Gabrielle finds herself hoping for more than just a standard ton marriage... until she begins to realize that he's not interested in her for herself, and his interest may actually be in someone close to her. 

Felix Hood had no thoughts of settling down in marriage - as the youngest of three brothers, he should be the last to wed. However, when he meets his best friend Philip's new ward and is tasked with the duty of helping guard her against any unsavory suitors (as well as guarding Philip's new wife from Miss Astley's waspish tongue), he can't help but be entranced by her. She's not the usual milk and water miss that is served up to the gentlemen of the tongue; she's prickly, funny, and has a touch of sadness in her eyes that he longs to discover the cause of so that he may vanquish it. But he's not convinced he's ready for marriage, and his hesitation over formally courting her leads Miss Astley to turn to her other suitors, making him wonder if she's really worth the chase. 

This novella was written at the request of readers who wanted to know what was happening between Felix and Gabrielle during Book 1 of the Bridal Discipline series, however it is not necessary to read Philip's Rules in order to enjoy this novella, nor is it necessary to read this novella in order to enjoy the upcoming Gabrielle's Discipline. It's just a bonus novella for enjoyment and to fulfill reader's curiosity. 

Undisciplined is approximately 30k words and contains hot alpha males, domestic discipline, and steamy sexual situations.