Category: The Industry


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And no, this is never a good plan. I am working on the latest Pussycat Death Squad book, Pussycat in Peril. Astaria, whom you might remember from the first Pussycat Death Squad book is in a green card marriage with Kaeden, a Egyptian-American Marine. Kaeden has had feelings for Astaria almost from the beginning, but he doesn’t want her to be with him because she feels beholden, so he’s waiting until she gets citizenship before he speaks up. Then, she returns to her home country to rescue her family and disappears. In the middle of a revolution. A revolution that has cut the entire country off from the rest of the world. And of course, our hero has to go find her. This book is so much fun, especially in light of current events.

The other book I’m working on is Love Me Some Him. This is the long-promised book about Dare from Dark Star. Well, it starts soon after events in the Lion in Russia, so yes, Dare shows up at Tonya and Nate’s wedding with a black eye from being sucker punched by Leo in that story. And well, things go downhill from there. These two have got the Hillbilly Mafia, the Department and at least one prison gang hot on their tail. Chances of survival don’t look good.

Oh, and that big ass gun up there? That’s a British made Lapua Magnum .50 caliber rifle. With a confirmed kill from nearly 3000 yards, it’s favored by snipers everywhere and by Astaria, heroine of Pussycat in Peril and an accomplished sniper in her own right. She’s been known to keep it hidden under her burqa.

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I’m an absolute NPR junkie and listen to it constantly. I’m also obsessed with songwriters and their uncanny ability to compose in four minutes a story that would take me thousands of words to write. The other day I was listening to a story about Allee Willis, who co-wrote “September,” one of my all time favorite songs, by the legendary Earth, Wind and Fire. As the writing process went on, she was concerned about Maurice White’s use of the nonsense phrase, “Ba-dee-ya,” and kept asking him when they were going to replace it with real words.

‘What the f- – – does ‘ba-dee-ya’ mean?’ And he essentially said, ‘Who the f- – – cares?'” she says. “I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him, which was never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.”

I think this is an important lesson for writers in every genre. Years ago when I was working on Let’s Do It Again, I got into a bit of a situation with the editors over the use of the word “slingshot” as a verb. I know slingshot is not typically used as a verb, but in this particular scene where the heroine is flipping mashed potatoes at the hero across the dinner table because he’s kissing up to her mother, the word “slingshot” evokes imagery that the word catapult does not. A slingshot is a child’s toy and I envisioned the heroine as being childish in her aggravation at the hero. Well, after it was pinged for the third time in the edits, I finally told them I was prepared to die on that hill, but slingshot stayed. IMO that is one of my funniest scenes and I’ve gotten more email about it than pretty much any other scene I’ve ever written.

What does ba-dee-ya mean? You can’t use “slingshot” as a verb. Don’t write books with rock star heroes. And the list goes on. There’s always someone who will be bogged down in the minutiae of a story, but never forget that you are the ultimate arbiter of what goes into your books. That doesn’t mean you should throw a hissy fit over the use of basic grammar or reject perfectly reasonable suggestions about continuity and such. But you’re the only person who knows the story. You are the queen of the universe in a world that you’ve created. Never, ever forget that.

This post has nothing to do with Milk & Honey, I just think that cover is delicious.

Try A Little Tenderness Excerpt

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I think i’ve said repeatedly that Try a Little Tenderness is my favorite book. It’s the one book that combines most of my passions, sexy nerd scientist hero and viruses. Lots and lots of virus. In a different world, I would’ve been a scientist, or maybe a history-scientist. I absolutely love history and am fascinated with the impact disease has had on it. Many of the great sociological changes of the 20th century can be directly attributed to disease. Some even speculate that Woodrow Wilson had a mental collapse brought on by the effect of influenza which led to his inability to negotiate at the end of World War I. And, of course, we can all speculate that European expansion and colonialization of the New World wouldn’t have occurred had not disease wiped out 90% of the native population. Right now we are battling ebola and I’m watching closely with some trepidation, because ebola is not particularly “catchy,” yet we’re struggling to contain it. What with climate change we are going to encounter more deadly emerging viruses and our response has got to be more on point. With all that said, when I wrote Try A Little Tenderness six years ago I was hopeful that mankind will overcome as we alway have. I haven’t lost that optimism, but I am concerned. Here is an excerpt from my all time favorite book”

Lola grinned as she heard Koss’s bellow from down the hall. In fact she had no doubt their neighbors on the first floor had heard him as well. She shook her head. He’d been yelling off and on all morning. Why didn’t the man simply get a graduate assistant to help him with his notes? She’d never met anyone who hated to write as much as he did. Lola put down her textbooks to go find out what had set her cantankerous lover off this time.
“What’s going on?” she asked from the doorway of the study. Koss sat as his desk, staring absently into space. “Need some help?”
Koss looked up. “No, no. I’m just trying to get my notes organized.”
Lola walked over to look over his shoulder at the motley assortment of notes that littered his desk. For such a neat freak, he certainly seemed to take his lab notes on whatever scrap of paper he happened to find. Was that a gum wrapper? Damn! She shook her head as she picked up the sticky notes and at least one dry cleaning ticket. Undoubtedly for his one sport coat which he hadn’t been able to locate for the last faculty tea. And his handwriting. It didn’t look like anything produced by a human hand.
“I hope you have some kind of magic decoder ring for this. What the hell is that, by the way? Sanskrit?” At least now she understood why he hadn’t gotten anyone to help him. No point in driving a poor, unsuspecting graduate student over the edge. The curriculum was bad enough.
Koss picked up a stack of papers and began arranging them into a neater pile. “Are you here just to ride my ass, or did you want something in particular?” he snapped.
“Oh, I’m definitely here to ride your ass, but I think I can help. I’m a pretty good typist, and with a little effort I think I can make out those hieroglyphics you call handwriting.”
“Trust me, by the time you finish grad school, your handwriting will look like crap, too. Do you really think you can help? You’ve got your own classes ”
Lola rolled her eyes. “I’m taking one history class and an English class I should’ve taken years ago. I don’t think I’m in any danger of flunking out anytime soon. It’ll be cool. Your work is so interesting. I wish I’d been there when you were off in the field making these discoveries. It sure beats the hell out of reading some play about a guy who never shows up. Sounds too much like Ginger’s love life.”
Koss seemed to ponder the idea for a moment. “I could certainly use the help. Of course I’ll give you collaboration credit…”
“For what? Doing clerical work? Please! Besides, the last thing we want to do is draw attention to us. You could get into all sorts of trouble.” Lola shook her head vigorously.
“I already told you. I don’t give a damn about that. You’re not my student. And you’re unlikely to be my student for at least another year.”
“Actually, Koss, I could finish up in December. That’s why I’m getting these core classes out of the way. I’ve already applied for the grad program.” She shrugged. “I probably won’t get in, but I’ve applied.”
“You’re kidding? Why didn’t you tell me before?”
Lola bit her lip, uncertain herself why she hadn’t shared the news. “I don’t know. I guess I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it. I didn’t want to let you down. ”
“Lola, you’re not going to mess this up.” He pulled her into his arms. “You’re too smart for that.”
The gentle kisses eased all her fears. Too bad he couldn’t be there to kiss her twenty-four hours a day. She reached over to take his notes. Studying his penmanship ruefully, she shook her head in dismay. Apparently even the most brilliant people had to have some flaws.

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AMAZON

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I’m not sure what the hold up is at Amazon, but it’s available at all the other vendors right now. You can get the mobi format for your Kindle at both ARe and Smashwords.

ARe

Smashwords

B&N

#multicultural romance #interracial romance

Buttercream Has Been Re-Released

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Barnes & Noble

ARe

Smashwords

Amazon

New Cover for Buttercream

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Have you ever seen anything sexier in your life? I think I’m a bad influence on the hubby. Normally I come up with the concept for my book covers, and then we talk back and forth while he works out the deers. Well, he came up with this one all on his own and I couldn’t be more thrilled. The idea I initially had doesn’t even come close. Buttercream is a fun sexy read, and this cover captures it perfectly. 

#interracial romance #bwwm #multicultural #military romance 

The Reed Files

 

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For those of you looking for fabulous multicultural/interracial images for book covers don’t sleep The Reed Files. Taria has great pictures and her prices are totally reasonable. She has some pre-made covers and does custom shoots and design too. 

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But What Does It Mean?

Let’s Do It Again is rapidly becoming one of my most popular books of all time. I can’t thank y’all enough. I’ve always loved that story and am thrilled that you love it too. I think it means that y’all really like stories with older characters. The hubbie, of course, thinks it’s the sexy new cover. Brunch and a lovely bloody mary is riding on this one…is it the grown folk or the sex?

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