Tuesday, April 25, 2017

NEW RELEASE: Checking Yes

Family secrets drove star left-winger Cooper Banks away from the love of his life, but hot off a championship win he’s no longer satisfied with second place. Except, the daddy’s girl he left behind is now a woman no longer impressed by his charming smile. So when Savannah Jane Scott decides to put Cooper in the penalty box, she aims to keep him there…for good this time.
Checking Yes debuted in the Hot on Ice anthology last month, so this is technically a re-release.

BUT.

1) Bonus Chapter!

2) Sneak Peak! In Tell Me No Lies, Cooper's brother Josh heads to Turks & Caicos for a much needed vacation, and the woman of his dreams, quite literally, falls in his lap.

That's right. Extra things.

And because you were awesome enough to open this post, you're getting a look at an excerpt from the bonus chapter...
“If there’s anything I can do to help—”
“We want to do it on our own,” she cut in.
The statement said more than he heard. She didn’t want his help. In fact, she didn’t need it. He respected the hell out of that.
“Then I won’t stand in your way. And when you succeed, whatever the equivalent is to standing on the other side of the glass cheering is, that’ll be me. All the way.”
Savannah twisted all the way around and got to her knees. Cupped his face and kissed him gently. “Cooper Banks, I—”
It was on the tip of her tongue; he could tell. She was going to tell him she loved him, and he was more than ready. That was why he was here.
“You…?”
She released a sigh and sat back on her heels. “Nothing. I just want to thank you. That was sweet of you to say.”
“That’s not what you were going to say,” he said, lips curling upward.
Her beautiful blue eyes shone and narrowed. “Don’t press your luck. We’re having a good afternoon.”
“That we are, which is why I have one important question to ask you.”
Cooper rose and picked up a piece of driftwood. In the sand nearby, he carved out the same question he’d asked her last night. Do you like me? Check Yes or No. He’d made the boxes and everything.
Once complete, he passed her the wood. With one eyebrow cocked, she got to her feet and stared thoughtfully down at the question.
“It’s a serious question,” she noted.
“Absolutely. Practically life or death.”
She nodded, then walked over to the No box and put a big check mark inside. Finished, she tossed the wood and grinned at him.
“Tough crowd,” he said.
Disappointed as he was—her actions haven’t matched her answers in the least—he allowed her smile to keep hope alive.
Savannah walked into his arms and hugged him close. She gazed up into his eyes, biting her lower lip for a moment. “For such a smart man, you ask all the wrong questions.”
“Is that right?”
She nodded. “Ask me if I forgive you.”
She was absolutely right. Above all else, he couldn’t regain her love and trust until he had her forgiveness. It was the only way to move forward.
Heart pounding, he cleared his throat. “Do you forgive me?”
Checking Yes is available now!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Romance: Not for the Faint of Heart

My first go at writing a romance was brutal. 

BRUTAL.

I've been reading romances most of my life. I've spent years surrounded by published romance writers. Attending Maryland Romance Writers meetings every month. And being the sponge I am, I, of course, starting having ideas. I also believed that since I've been writing books for over a decade, that writing a romance would be a piece of cake.

Wrong.

These books may read as a simple slap and tickle, but I assure you, they are not. My first "final" draft of Checking Yes was hammered so hard that I had to re-write 3/4 of it in 3 days. (That'll be the last time I laugh in the face of a deadline.) I'd made classic newbie mistakes and have since learned from them.

How, you ask? 

Easy. I hit the movies. Time is of the essence, and I have another novella to prepare for another anthology. Plus I'm more of a visual learner. (How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days sits at the top of my binge list as THE perfect example for a romance plot, btw. And I binged a ton of movies.) 

What I've learned is that writing romance isn't unlike writing science fiction. The action may be a little less Michael Bay, but that doesn't make it any less serious. The characters have to be real. Their conflicts have to resonate. Their romance has to be felt. And I, the writer, still have to put the effort into making the writing shine. 

After all that, I still have to put on my spine and hit "publish." And I have to do that knowing I'm going to take negative dings no matter what. Whether that's a review or on the street when someone asks me what I write. (Try dating & telling a handsome stranger you write science fiction. The responses have yet to be positive.) 

No matter the result, I know how hard I worked. 

No matter the varying opinions, I'm proud of every word I write. 

No matter the pre-conceived notions, I am a romance writer and I am not faint of heart. 


Pre-order your copy of Checking Yes & get a bonus first chapter to the sequel Tell Me No Lies, coming summer 2017.

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Where Art Thou?

Here I am, updating my social media.

For the first time since 2015? April 16, 2015 to be exact. WTF, amirite?

To be fair, I've been through a divorce. A separation from my agent. Started working for a new company. And have had a complete lack of inspiration. All this in the last two years. (Single momming is not for the faint-hearted!)

But I'm back on my feet-- firmly--and apparently with a vengeance. And awesome hair. This year I've finished a new MD Waters novel, my first contemporary romance novella, begun the process of agent hunting, released said novella in a packed hockey romance anthology, and and and...

Become a USA Today Bestselling Author.

Hot On Ice released last week at #105. This collection of hockey romances sold for 99 cents, and we raised over $500 for Homes For Our Troops. The price has gone up a smidge, but 5.99 isn't bad for 18 steamy romances! It'll be available for a little while longer, so get it while you can.

If you miss it, FEAR NOT. I've set a release date for Checking Yes, and as a special bonus, I'm including the first chapter to Tell Me No Lies, book 2 of the Charming Dove Harbor set. This will be available on April 25th and is available now for preorder for 99 cents.

Tell Me No Lies is set to release in another anthology this summer; more details on that at a later date.

That's all for now. Stalk me on Twitter. I'm sure to share some bit of nonsense eventually.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Emma Burke: to Contract, or not to Contract

ARCHETYPE PB"Voices articulate words—No, we don’t need her anymore; put her with the others—and I struggle to make sense of them to no avail. I know what they say is important. So important. Vital. Yet all meaning flashes through the vast darkness of my mind, fleeting streaks of lightning. Alluring, coaxing, but gone before I can decipher patterns in the chaos."
If there's one common theme to most of the reviews and blog posts out there for ARCHETYPE & PROTOTYPE, it's that Emma doesn't use contractions. 
Don't be alarmed, but... I'm not a fan of this either. For completely different reasons. One being...I've used six contracted words in this post already, and we've (7) only just begun. Writing two entire novels without contractions (the exception being the dialogue for all other characters) was insanely hard. Unless you've tried this and know, you have no idea. Try guessing, then increase that by a million. 
I'd go through and answer every question posed about this, but then you'd probably catch on to the fact that I'm a total stalker. No, not really. Only sometimes. Just a little.
What? I get bored.
So here's WHY I chose to go contraction-less. I listened to the voice in my head. It's as simple as that. I like to think all my characters have their own distinct voice, and Emma's just one example of how different they sound in my head. Emma is soft spoken, very sweet sounding actually, and speaks carefully. Slowly. 
“You are my wife,” he tells me.
I study his lips while they frame the words. He has a lovely mouth and I reach out to touch it often, but he never lets me. He says I must focus on one thing at a time.
“I am your wife,” I say carefully, and the words sound right, so I smile.
In the beginning, the voice came to me this way, and it was natural. I didn't think about it at all for pages and pages. I remember getting to a point and sitting bolt upright with the realization that I hadn't used a single contracted word for Emma's voice. And I loved it. I thought, "Man, that's pretty darn clever, Misty!" I'm all "It's a clue!" and it sort of is. But really it's because she woke up and literally had to relearn to speak.
(What's the age a child finally learns to use contractions? Anyone? My kid is four, and still doesn't contract. I'm sure it's different for every kid, but... I'm just saying. A&P spans two years.)
I struggled after that with when to have Emma start contracting. First, it was going to be a quarter of the way through. Then it was the halfway mark. Then I actually did write the entire last quarter with contractions. Want to know what happened?
Her voice changed.
I panicked at that point, because she wasn't the same character anymore. She was "Emma 1.0" through and through, and I didn't want that. The plan was never to have her revert back to her previous self. To do that, she'd have to unlearn everything she'd just gone through, and wouldn't her months spent in ARCHETYPE have redefined her in some way? For me, the answer was obvious. YES. They absolutely had.
Then PROTOTYPE came along, and of course I'm struggling with the same question. To contract, or not to contract? A few pages in, I was all over those contractions. I'm telling myself that a year and a half has passed, so of course Emma's learned to use them by now. Except the woman in my head--that already wasn't coming to me as easily as she had in ARCHETYPE--spoke hard and fast. She didn't sound sweet, she sounded bitter. She was thoughtless.
(I like to call her my "go-to" voice when the characters aren't talking to me. Explaining that would take a whole other blog post.) 
That's how Emma ended up contraction-free in PROTOTYPE. It wasn't a product of "bad writing" or "lazy writing" (<--that one makes me laugh right out loud) or to annoy everyone. The logical writer in me knew going in that I could possibly be sacrificing readers, and she was right. But sacrificing that voice would have killed the story I was trying to tell, and it was an essential brush stroke to this entire canvas. 
“No, Emma.”
He lifts his head, and eyes the color of seawater stare back at me. I know this color because it is in a large photograph in my room. They tell me the photograph is of the sea before, but they do not tell me before what.
“I do not understand,” I say.
He leans back in his chair and combs hair away from his face with long, slender fingers. The dark strands slick back and hold in their usual style. “You’re repeating my words only to please me.”
He turns his head and squints into the sun shining through the windows. With an elbow propped on the chair’s arm, he raises a hand to his chin and massages his jaw.
Leaning forward, I attempt to catch his gaze with my own. “This is what you wanted,” I whisper.
Those beautiful eyes turn my way and he stops rubbing his chin, still saying nothing. He only watches me in agonizing silence. Then, abruptly, he stands and buttons the front of his suit jacket. It is dark blue today. I like this color on him.
Bending over me, he presses a whisper-soft kiss to my temple. “One day you will say it and believe it.”
He leaves the room and now I understand. I must learn about this word “wife.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

5 Signs that your #Writer might be Schizophrenic

Schizophrenic-Woman--71349

We joke about it all the time. Writers, that is. But let's look at Schizophrenia seriously for a moment. 

Behavioral Signs:

1 - Disorganized Behavior. Have you seen a writer's des—? OH, shiny! Where was I? Oh, right. Tweeting. Oh crap, I should finish that chapter first. When was the last time I ate?

2 - Social Isolation. I recently heard a writer friend refer to herself as a "violent introvert." Socializing makes me extremely nervous, and if I could isolate myself from the entire world... Put a bunch of writers in a room, and we'll spend hours discussing how this is our greatest wish. Then we'll talk about our schizophrenia. Then we'll run out of things to talk about, smile politely while looking for a way to flee the room for that aforementioned isolation. Go ahead. Tell me I'm wrong.

3 - Hostility. DID YOU JUST ASK ME TO MAKE DINNER?! I'M IN THE MIDDLE OF A SENTENCE! I WILL RIP YOUR INSIDES OUT THROUGH YOUR THROAT. GO. AWAY.

4 - Hyperactivity. OhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGod. I had the best story idea today. OhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGod.

5 - Nonsense word repetition. Oh look. I just used that...and just...10 times in that paragraph. Maybe I should do a search for my other repeaters, like blinkedand gritted, and furrowed, and...and...and... There has to be another way to describe a turning stomach. I mean, seriously.

Don't even get me started on the voices. There be all the voices.