Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What's Next?

You know you’re an adult when the things you used to enjoy are now a pain. Remember when you loved the snow? Kids love snow because, if they’re lucky, school will be canceled. As an adult, you realize you may still have to go to work. I live in the south so we usually shut everything down when this foreign form of precipitation falls from the sky. But there are times when it’s just enough snow to make the roads safe for sensible drivers and you still have to go to work. Bummer.

This week’s revelation is that I now feel that way about puppies. Puppies, I tell you! No one could be more shocked than me. When I was a kid I remember people being excited when someone had a baby. They’d be talking about going to see the new baby and I thought “Once you’ve seen one baby, you’ve seen them all.” In my defense, most newborn babies look alike—pale and scrunch-faced. But if someone had a new puppy, I was so there. I have fond memories of the last puppies I had years ago. They have since passed on and I haven’t had a dog in years.

I mentioned before that I really wanted a Newfoundland. Maybe I should have gotten an adult dog. I do know that I never want another puppy. While I realize that my puppy could be worse, what I currently have is what I consider one of the most annoying dogs I have ever met. She’s doing well with housebreaking. She has on average about one accident a day. This is after only about a week of training so she’s intelligent. There have been a couple of days when she had no accident at all. But she’s a biter. In the week that she’s been here, we’ve stopped her from biting most of the furniture. She knows when she’s caught that you don’t want her to do it. But she still bites hands and feet. You can’t pet her without her trying to catch your hand. Now, I already have a cat for such crazy behavior. I wasn’t expecting it from my little fur ball as well. She has the most beautiful soft fur that just lures you in only to have her nip at you. I’ve seen puppies with her behavior before and I generally avoid them. I know that she will grow out of it and soon I will love, love, love her. However, at the moment, I am thinking the unthinkable. I will be glad when this cute puppy is all grown up.

So snow is inconvenient. Puppies are annoying. What’s next? Rainbows and candy?! (Actually, I’ve had some dental work done and some candy gives me a toothache.)

For those of you who sat through my puppy rant, you deserve to at least know that I am working really hard on finishing Chaldor’s story. I hate to put out timelines because that’s the moment when life chooses to interfere. But if I keep working at my current pace, I should be done in a week or two. After I finish, I like to go back and read through the story to make sure I don’t contradict myself along the way. Since Whimsy was published through Evernight, more than likely Chaldor’s story will be as well. This is a relief for me in the sense that I don’t have to pick out a cover, decide on a release date, convert the document into different formats, etc. I can just move on to writing my next book. But it also means I won’t know the release date for some time and I don’t get to decide on the pricing. The longer the book, the more it costs. I’m aiming for a medium length—long enough to get the story told without it becoming a tome.

I’m behind schedule on where I wanted to be at this point in the year. After Chaldor’s story, I’m really looking forward to working on something contemporary. I’m not sure what it will be. I might try to get The Deal back out again or turn to something new.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Another Undeniable Excerpt

Undeniable releases this Friday. I'd intended to post this earlier, but even if you had to wait a little while for the excerpt, you won't have to wait much longer for the book. Enjoy!

     Kyle turned off his alarm. It was six. He tossed back the covers and rolled to his feet. He peeped out his window at the street below. There was no one about. He knew that most of the businesses in town didn’t open until nine although most of the shop owners would start showing up sporadically.
     When he’d purchased this building, he’d been happy to find out that there were a couple of apartments on the second floor. He’d knocked down the walls and had them converted into one large space. He’d loved the idea of the convenience of being so close to his business.
     He used the bathroom and then dressed quickly pulled on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. He did a few quick stretches in front of his building before jogging toward the center of town. The morning air was cool and refreshing and he ended up running farther than he’d intended. By the time he’d circled back toward home, he saw Anais attempting to unlock her front door while juggling a large box. Seemingly frustrated, she placed the box at her feet and opened her door.
     Without thinking, innate manners had Kyle jogging over and picking up the box for her. “Good morning, Anais.”
     “K-Kyle.” She faltered back a step, her big brown eyes going wide. She pressed one hand to her chest as it rose and fell rapidly. He was incapable of stopping his gaze from dropping there, noting the fullness of her breasts, before he forced himself to focus on her face. It was no easy task as she wore a dark pink top with a deep V that tied with a bow at the side of her slim waist and presented her tits to him like the best Christmas gift ever. “You startled me. Where did you come from?”
     “I was out for a jog.”
     “Oh.” She pushed opened her door and held out her hands. “I can take that now.”
     “I’ll carry it for you,” he volunteered. The box was heavy and clinked gently when he shifted. She moved aside as he walked into her store. He groaned as the smell of sugar, vanilla, and coconut hit him. His empty belly grumbled. “It smells delicious in here.”
     She gave a nervous laugh as she went around flicking on lights revealing shelves and displays filled with jars and tubes, but no food. “It’s the different lotions and body scrubs. There’s no food.”
     “That’s a shame. I’m starving. Where do you want this?”
     “You can put it on the counter next to the cash register.”
     He put it down and turned around in time to catch her giving him a sweeping gaze. He tilted his head to the side as she continued to stare at him. For a moment, he wondered if she liked what she saw or if she were cataloguing his faults. The tattoos on his arms and the side of his thigh were visible. Then her lips parted and her tongue peeked out to wet their lush fullness. Kyle growled at the look of hunger on her face.
     Anais jerked and emitted a frightened squeak. That’s when he remembered. How could he have forgotten that this woman was terrified of him? He knew he had the tendency to be a little intense, but he’d done nothing to frighten her on their date. Hoping to ease her fear, he asked, “So, all these jars and stuff…is it all for women?”
     “Um, no.” She made her way around the counter until it separated the two of them. “I have a few items geared toward men.” She pointed to a section of shelves against the wall. “I have facial scrubs and cleansers that help with razor burn. I have manly body scrubs for teens suffering from acne. I have body washes and moisturizers. And you’ll be happy to know that none of them smell like vanilla.”
     “And you make them all here?”
     She nodded.
     “Then what’s in the box?” He indicated the box he’d carried in and sat on the counter.
     She patted it. “This is my grandmother’s special body cream. I make it at home because the ingredients are a family secret. It’s one of my best sellers. I can barely keep it on the shelf. I’m told it is quite the magical love elixir.”
     He smiled faintly. “You’re told? You’ve never tested it out?”
     Anais stiffened. “It’s serious stuff. You only use it on someone you love.”
     He didn’t have to ask to know that she’d never had anyone to try it on. “So, do you always come to work so early?”
     “No, I’m trying to stock up for the Christmas rush, such as it is in this town.”
     “Not a big rush?” he asked.
     She shook her head, sending her curls bouncing around her cheeks. “Without any of the big chain stores nearby, we’re not exactly a shopping destination. But we will experience an uptick in business.”
     He nodded and began backing toward the door. He needed to shower, eat breakfast, and dress for work. Once he was at a safe distance, her eyes starting wandering again, down his neck, across his shoulders, over his abs and legs. Kyle could feel himself responding to her look. She probably didn’t even realize she was doing it. He figured he’d better leave before he embarrassed himself and scared her even more. Because though she might like the view, she’d be terrified if he acted on the signals she was sending. “I’d better get back. See you around.” She gave him a cute little wave as he pushed out the door, the bell overhead tinkling as he left.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Undeniable Excerpt

I feel like I’ve been particularly neglectful. Moving into a house was more stressful than I had imagined. You never know how much junk you have until you have to pack it all up and move it. I’m consistently fighting the urge to throw everything away. 

If you own your own home, you are probably used to the hundred and one small things that need fixing. Most recently moving from an apartment where everything is repaired for you, it’s overwhelming when you move into a home and start noticing these things. 

All this and at the same time, you’re surrounded by boxes and you don’t know where anything is. 

But enough whining—I do like my house and the additional room to roam around. 

Undeniable is available for pre-order at Amazon and will be released on May 5. I’m trying something different this time. Undeniable is available through the Kindle Unlimited program. This means it will only be available at Amazon. From what I’ve noticed, that’s where most of my books are sold. 

For those of you who have read I Want You Back or the re-release of Deceived, the following excerpt will be familiar. Don’t worry. I’ll post another excerpt soon.  

     “Seriously, Anais, you’ve got to let me set you up with someone. After all, you did find Stuart for me.”
     Anais Heart unpacked the last jar of her homemade, all natural hand cream onto the shelf and turned the jars so that their labels faced front. Only then did she direct her attention to her best friend and employee. “I didn’t find Stuart. He just walked into the shop and I introduced you.” He’d been shopping for his mother. Through the course of their conversation he had mentioned that he liked shopping for antiques. Since she knew that antiques were one of Nicole’s favorite topics, she had quickly introduced the two. Personally, she hated antiques. They gave her the creeps. Why would she want someone else’s old crap?
     Nicole and Stuart had hit it off right away. That was six months ago. She sometimes missed her friend, but there was no denying the happy glow dating Stuart had given Nicole. Plus, this meant she no longer had to spend her weekends with Nicole dragging her to yard sales, flea markets, antique shops, and estate sales. 
     “Anais, you can’t tell me you don’t want someone special in your life. I mean, when was the last time you had a date?”
     Anais folded the box she’d used to transport her goods from her home to the store. “Ha, I’ve got you there. It was three weeks ago.”
     Nicole frowned. “What was his name?”
     Anais’s brow furrowed as she struggled to recall his name. She’d met him through an online dating site. They’d met for ice cream at the mall a few towns over. Their date didn’t last long since he’d lied about his age. Instead of being thirty-two as he’d claimed, he was actually fifty-four. He’d used his son’s picture in his profile. Apparently, since he’d dyed his hair black, he thought he could pass for a man twenty years his junior. It was a real shame, too, because he’d seemed like such a gentleman in all the messages they had exchanged. He had been her first and last foray into online dating. None of the other men she’d talked to had even sparked her interest as it was clear that they were only interested in hooking up for sex. “That’s not important. But it was a date.”
     “Couldn’t have been that good if you can’t remember the guy’s name. You should let me find you someone. I know you better than anyone else.”
     Anais flipped the sign on the door to declare that A. Heart Natural Cosmetics was open for the day. She paused in the act of unlocking the door, grinding her teeth and wincing at the noise coming from across the street. “What exactly was the point of going through the process of beautifying the town and then letting that shop open right in the middle of it?” She had tolerated the months of renovation the old building had undergone with the understanding that the noise would stop once the construction was complete. Little did she know they were opening an auto body shop. The noise was fairly loud and pretty consistent. 
     Nicole came to stare out the window though there was little to see. The garage doors were down. “I don’t suppose there is anything they can do about the noise. It’s a small town. Sound carries—especially in the morning. And we’re not in the middle of town. We’re at the end of town.”
     She ignored that bit of logic. “I have half a mind to go over there and-” 
     “Anais, please, don’t. I’m sure there’s nothing they can do about it. We don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with them. The mayor was just over there this weekend for their official ribbon cutting.”
     “How do you know that?”
     “I was driving by. The Chamber of Commerce was giving out hot dogs and all sorts of paraphernalia with their logo and phone number on it.”
     Anais grumbled and unlocked the door. She went behind the checkout counter and Nicole followed her. “I’m telling you, I don’t know how long I can put up with that noise. Maybe I should look into relocating the store.” Her location wasn’t paramount to her business. She did a fair amount of online sales. 
     “Not if you don’t want to have to live through renovations. You know most of the buildings in town are falling in on themselves. That’s why the mayor was so thrilled to have them move in across the street. And I would think you would have enough construction going on at home that you wouldn’t want to have to deal with it at work as well.”
     She sighed. “You’re right.” She’d been bequeathed a Queen Anne style Victorian house by her great aunt. The house was beautiful but unfortunately her aunt had been unable to afford the upkeep and much of it was in a shambles. Despite her dislike of antiques, Anais loved the house and decided to keep it. And it was a gift. It would be poor taste to turn around and sell the home. In the year that she had owned it, she had managed to make it safe. The remaining changes were largely cosmetic. 
     “Now that you’ve managed to change the subject for ten whole minutes, what is your objection to me setting you up? I think I know the perfect guy for you.”
     Anais groaned. She couldn’t come up with a good excuse. It wasn’t that she had given up on dating. She was close to thirty. Twenty-eight to be exact. All of her friends except Nicole were married with kids. And as close and Nicole and Stuart had become, Anais could sense that marriage wasn’t far off. 
     She was looking for something serious. She was tired of wasting her time dating. She wanted to meet someone she could spend her life with. She didn’t even want to think about her ticking biological clock. As an only child, she wanted more than one kid. She didn’t want to panic, but she saw no reason to believe that she would suddenly meet someone special now any more than she had the previous five or so years. Unfortunately, she lived in a small town. She knew most of the eligible African American men already and she couldn’t think of a one with whom she was compatible. “Who is he?”
     Nicole bounced on her toes and clapped her hands. Her thick blonde hair  floating about her face. “He’s new in town. He’s handsome. This is going to be so good.”

***

     Kyle Gray couldn’t believe he’d agreed to this shit. How had he let Stuart talk him into this? Oh, that’s right. He owed his cousin a favor for letting him know about the grants available for renovating buildings in town. He’d needed the opportunity since his life seemed to be going nowhere up north. He’d been working at the same place for almost ten years and he’d known he would be working there forever without ever advancing if he didn’t make a change. The only other thing holding him there had been his mother and they weren’t close. 
     He smoothed a hand over his head. He’d gotten a buzz cut recently because it was low maintenance. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and checked the text from his cousin again. The lady’s name was Anais and she would be wearing an eggplant dress. Kyle almost shook his head at his cousin’s attention to detail. Why couldn’t the man just say purple?
     They were meeting at the town’s one and only bar/restaurant. It didn’t exactly qualify as fine dining, but the only other options were fast food and a family restaurant. The idea was to keep it casual and share a drink.
     Kyle supposed he had no true objections to the set up. Since turning thirty-two last year he’d begun to think seriously of getting married and starting a family. Unfortunately, women took one look at him and assumed he wanted nothing but sex. That might have been true when he was younger, but he was tired of casual hook ups. 
     The timing was a bit difficult for him. He was still settling into a new place and opening his own business. For the moment, making his business a success had to be his top priority. He’d sunk all of his savings into the endeavor and he had no room for failure. 
     Kyle scanned the barstools in search of a woman in eggplant. He was causing a bit of a stir. He’d met quite a few of these people already. He returned nods of welcome and a spattering of hellos. He walked deeper into the bar and spotted a flash of purple in one of the padded booths at the back. 
     The first thing he noticed about Anais was her curly hair. It fell in shining, riotous spirals over her neck and shoulders. She had lovely brown sugar skin and a nice rack that made his breath hitch and his palms curl in anticipation. He tamped down on the sudden surge of lust, reminding himself that this was something that could lead to more. He’d let his dick lead way too often. He needed to get to know her. Then he could fuck her. 
     Besides, he still hadn’t seen her face. She had her head tilted down, her thick curls blocking her features as her finger skimmed over the touchscreen of her phone. He cleared his throat. “Anais?”
     She stopped and looked up at him, her dark brown eyes meeting his for a moment before they scanned him from head to toe and then back up again, her lovely plump lips opening more and more as though she could not believe what she was seeing. Her shocked reaction reminded him of something that he’d forgotten. He didn’t exactly blend in with the small town look.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Coming May 5....



Undeniable

     Anais Heart and Kyle Gray agree that their blind date is a bust. His eyes are ice cold. He speaks in grunts and he's covered in tattoos. Convinced he's a criminal, Anais never wants to see him again. And she's...well, she's hot, but she's far too superficial as far as Kyle is concerned. Besides, he just started a business in a new town--he doesn't have time for women.

     But it's hard to avoid people in a small town. The two keep running into each other. Pretty soon the chemistry between Anais and Kyle explodes into a passion that she wants to ignore and that he finds undeniable.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Excuses Blog

This is where I explain why I’ve accomplished very little in the last few months. The holidays, which are delightful but disruptive, happen to be very close to other events such as my birthday, my daughter’s birthday, and my wedding anniversary. This year we began house hunting in January. It’s like the live version of HGTV. My husband liked a couple of townhouses but unfortunately, things didn’t work out in either case. We finally decided on another house that we’d initially ruled out. Since then we’ve been going through the process of being approved for a loan. I never knew that so many questions, many of which seemed inconsequential, would come up. If all goes well, we’ll be signing the final paperwork very soon. We’re all very excited and making plans that it will no doubt take us years to enact. I’ve been researching dogs (I very badly want a Newfoundland) while my husband makes plans for the yard he wouldn’t have had if we’d gotten the townhouse.

As for writing, I have made some plans even if my fingers have been slow to follow. I'm glad to have gotten Deceived back out there. Undeniable will be out sometime in May. It’s finished and I’ve recently completed my final read through. It’s in editing now and soon I will have a cover made.

My hope is to finish Chaldor’s book this year. I’ll probably finish something else as well. I don’t have a particular book in mind, but that seems to be the way it usually happens. Ideas start flying and I just write them down.

I also want to re-release The Deal this year. I’m not sure exactly when that will happen. Unlike my previous releases, after much consideration, I’ve decided make changes to it. I haven’t started work on it yet so I don’t know what those changes will be. Since I don’t think it’s fair to ask someone to repurchase a book whether it has been revised or not, I’ll be selling it for 99 cent.

So that’s my year, all mapped out and full of uncertainty, but I’m really looking forward to moving into our new house. And getting that dog....

Friday, February 17, 2017

Deceived



love my new cover for Deceived. It's been unavailable for a year but I re-released it today. If you've bought it before, it's the same book--just a different cover. Deceived is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.