Wedding fever is coming to the little town of Marietta, Montana!
I’m so excited to let you know about the Spring Brides series launching in May! It kicks off with The Fairy Tale Bride by Scarlet Wilson. All of the stories will be connected by the celebrity wedding of the century…and the seemingly diva behavior of the bride!
You can find more info about ALL of the stories here:
Scarlet Wilson (May 4th)
Dani Collins (May 11th)
Nicole Helm (May 18thth)
Rachael Johns (June 1st)
Kat Latham (June 8th)
My story, Finally His Bride is closely connected to Nicole Helm’s Bride by Mistake. In her story, good girl Kaitlin Shuller has had enough of behaving. The man she loves is marrying someone else and she’s ready to be bad for once in her life…with her older brother Luke’s best friend, Beckett Larson.
In Finally His Bride Luke Shuller gets his chance at love with his best friend and cake baker extraordinaire, Melanie Richards.
Finally His Bride releases May 25th
And here’s the BCC…
Wedding fever has hit the little town of Marietta…
As the whole town goes crazy over the celebrity wedding event of the century, Melanie Richards decides she’s tired of blending in. It’s time go after what she wants. Her to do list:
1.Get a sexy dress
2.A little liquid courage
3.Lose that pesky virginity
Luke Shuller can’t believe is eyes when he walks into Grey’s and sees his best friend trying to pick up some drunk cowboy. Melanie wants to start hooking up? She can practice on him. At least he’ll keep her safe. And as a bonus, their pretend relationship will help him deal with a family crisis.
But when pretend gets real, Melanie can’t tell where the charade ends and reality begins. When the dust settles, will she get thrown back into the friend zone, or will she finally get the man of her dreams?
Luke Shuller walked into Grey’s craving violence and whiskey, not necessarily in that order.
His knuckle still throbbed from where he’d landed a solid punch to his ex-best friend Beckett Larson’s face, and his cheek still throbbed from where his friend had returned the favor. But neither burned worse than the rage that was still roaring through his veins.
Beckett was just lucky that Luke hadn’t killed him on the spot. Seeing as the other man was about to be a father. Because, he had knocked up Luke’s little sister. Luke had spent his entire life protecting Kaitlin. And in the end it had been a guy who was only around because of Luke who had ruined everything.
Yeah, he really needed that drink. He had gone straight from their fight to pack a bag so that he could head down to Marietta to keep an eye on his sister, to make sure Beckett didn’t do any further damage. He didn’t know what he was going to do, only that he needed to be here.
It was Saturday night so most of the town was hanging out, and most of them had already had a few drinks. Luke could only be envious.
Luke walked up to the bar and slammed his hand down on the wooden surface. “I need some Jack.”
The bartender nodded once and set about pouring the drink, sliding it toward Luke, who in return pushed a few bills in the other man’s direction. He lifted the glass, turning away from the bar, leaning up against it, surveying the room.
He needed something to take the edge off of his rage. Hopefully, the alcohol would dull some of it. Getting laid might help fix the rest. But he was in Marietta, and he didn’t hook up in Marietta. There were too many people here that he knew far too well. Too many people he’d grown up with, who were related to people he’d grown up with, or related to him in some obscure way. It was one reason he liked living in a slightly larger city. Anonymity, he found, was necessary for anonymous hookups.
And here in Marietta, there just wasn’t much in the way of anonymity. Beckett usually preferred anonymous hookups himself. Except in this instance. The bastard. Luke had to wonder if this was retribution for accusing Beckett of theft. But Luke would never have accused Beckett of theft if he weren’t certain that’s what had happened. Beckett was the only one with access to all that stuff in Shuller Automotive. Luke had given him access. Luke had trusted him. More fool him.
He lifted his glass to his lips, relishing the burn of the alcohol as it slid down his throat slowly. He welcomed the pain.
For the same reasons he couldn’t get laid here, he couldn’t really pick a fight here either.
Maybe coming home hadn’t been the best idea after all.
Luke looked across the crowded bar, his eyes drawn to a woman sitting in the corner. He couldn’t see her face, just her long blonde hair and hints of an excellent figure, expertly displayed by the tight black dress she was wearing. A dress that was riding up high on very shapely thighs. Unfortunately, the woman was already talking to a man. A cowboy, already drunk, his hat tipped back on his head, his face red as he leaned in close to whisper what Luke doubted were sweet nothings. More like very sexual somethings.
Of course, the fact that she was with someone didn’t really matter. This was still Marietta. And every woman in this bar was still off limits. Unlike Beckett, Luke had some scruples.
The woman shifted in her chair slightly, brushing some of her hair away from her face. And just like that interest turned to recognition.
Basically the only friend he had left in all the world, now the Beckett was dead to him. And she had no call to be out here, in a bar, sitting across from some random dude who was clearly drunk off his ass. The guy grabbed hold of Melanie’s hand, lifted it to his lips. Luke saw Mel’s frame stiffen, her entire body going rigid from her head on down. Too bad her buddy didn’t seem to notice. He tugged her forward, pulling her halfway out of her chair and planting a kiss on her lips.
Before he could stop himself, Luke was walking across the room. He’d gotten his drink. He supposed now it might be time for the violence.
He reached down, grabbing the guy’s shirt collar and wrenching him away from his friend’s lips. “I think you’re done here.”
The guy stood up, his expression furious. The fury dampened a bit when he realized that Luke was a good head taller than he was. Good. “We’re on a date,” the other man slurred.
“Not anymore you’re not.”
Melanie scrambled out of her chair, almost knocking it over in her haste. “Luke, what are you doing? What are you doing here?”
“I’m being chivalrous.”
“Why are you being chivalrous here? And at me?”
“You needed chivalry, obviously. And aren’t I allowed to come visit?” He crossed his arms over his chest, keeping his eyes on Melanie’s “date”.
“You’re allowed, but it’s weird. And also, I don’t need your help.”
He whirled around, looking at her fully for the first time. His heart slammed hard against his rib cage, his mouth going dry. He would love to blame the alcohol but it took a lot more than half a drink to make him feel like the floor was tilting beneath his feet. Still, the fact remained the floor had definitely tilted beneath his feet.
He’d just seen Melanie last month at his younger sister Sierra’s wedding, and then again a couple weeks ago when she’d come in to Bozeman to visit her grandmother and stopped by to see him. Both times she had looked very much like he was used to her looking. Blonde hair in a braid or ponytail, maybe a little bit of lip gloss, and some sensible outfit that could most definitely be worn in church.
The dress Melanie was currently wearing would get her sent to confession, along with half the men in the room.
Bless me, father, for impure thoughts abound.
The insubstantial garment clung to her curves like a second skin, molding itself to curves that were a bit more generous than he’d realized. She was wearing mascara too, and some kind of gold eyeshadow that made her eyes look impossibly large and blue. Then he found himself staring at her mouth. It was temptation red if he’d ever seen it. Like a piece of forbidden fruit that obsessed a man with the need to taste it the moment he set eyes on it.
If he didn’t know better he would think she was trying to attract attention. But Mel didn’t do that. So it was impossible.
“You obviously do need my help. Hey buddy,” he said to drunk-ass cowboy, “get out of here.”
“You her husband?”
“Yeah.” Luke crossed his arms over his chest and gave the guy his meanest stare. Which, he had a feeling tonight was pretty damn mean.
“No, he’s not,” Melanie said.
But the other guy had already put his hands up, and was backing away. “Hey, I don’t want to get in the middle of anything.” He mumbled his parting words, then turned and stumbled the other direction.
“What a hero,” Luke muttered. Feeling pretty annoyed that he hadn’t even been able to throw a punch.
Mel stared after the would be Romeo for a moment, before whirling around to face Luke, her expression thunderous. “What. The. Hell.”
“I think the words you’re looking for are thank you.”
“I am not thankful that you got rid of him. I’ve been looking for a guy to take home with me all night. Joel was looking really promising. And you chased him off!”
Now the floor didn’t feel like it was tilting, it was just gone. Like the bar had split open, revealing a cavern beneath that was threatening to swallow Luke whole. “Excuse me?”
“Well, why did you think I was here? It wasn’t to learn how to line dance.”
“I don’t even know what to say to you right now.”
Melanie was… Not this woman. Melanie was fragile. Damaged by a past with her abusive father. Cautious. Melanie was someone he lived to protect. From the moment he’d first seen her at her grandmother’s house, a skinny twelve-year-old with too-serious eyes and bruises on her arms, he’d wanted to shield her from the entire world. Which was why he’d gone straight to her aid when that drunk jackass had grabbed hold of her.
“Why do you sound angry? I didn’t screw up your chances of getting some tonight.”
Molten heat pooled in his gut. “Outside. Now.”
She crossed her arms beneath her breasts, pushing the already accentuated body parts into greater prominence. “No.”
Later, much later, Luke would realize that tonight would be talked about as the night Luke Shuller threw Melanie Richards over his shoulder and carried her out of Gray’s like she was a ten pounds sack of potatoes. But in the moment he wasn’t thinking of notoriety. He wasn’t thinking much at all. So, when he bent down and grabbed ahold of her bare thighs, hefting her over his shoulder, then straightening and heading for the door while she struggled, he didn’t much think about the people around them, or how his actions would spread through the town gossip chain like fire on dry brush.
Even if he had realized, he wasn’t sure he would have given a damn.
Just a quick note to let you know that on Tuesday, March 17th, I’ll be sending out my next newsletter. In it, you’ll find a Part Time Cowboy sneak peek and more importantly, a coupon for a dollar off your purchase of the print book.
The coupon is valid in the US and Canada only, and doesn’t work at Barnes and Noble, but it’s accepted everywhere else books are sold! Sign up! Save some coin, read a cowboy!
On the personal front, Mr. Yates and I will have our 10th anniversary this year! This guy. I can’t say enough about him. He’s my biggest supporter and not only that, he’s just a great guy. He shows me what romance is every day. He has a big stake in every story I tell. Ahem. Now I’m done being mushy.
December marked my 5th year as a published author, and what a ride it’s been! I realized today that (including shorts and novellas) I am starting my 50th book! Crazy! Time flies when you’re having fun, and writing happily ever afters.
On the book front, 2014 was a really busy and epic, which means 2015 has a lot of books headed your way!
I’m definitely most excited about my Copper Ridge series, which launches March 1st with my novella, Shoulda Been a Cowboy, with the first full length book, Part Time Cowboy coming March 31st (for more info, check out the Copper Ridge page). I had SO MUCH FUN writing these books. I had a moment of serious zen when another writer asked me a few months ago: If you could write anything in the world, what would you write? And my answer was: Copper Ridge.
That said, I think having these longer small town books reinvigorates my enthusiasm for Presents every time I come back to them. I have quite a few Presents coming at you in 2015, including His Diamond of Convenience. Now, I’m not 100% sure this is the first tattooed hero on a Presents cover, but my contacts at Harlequin, and I, are ‘reasonably certain’ that this is the first ink to grace a Presents cover. I was possibly over-excited by that. I love a forearm tattoo. *wiggles brows*
In Summer, the multi author series I’m part of with Megan Crane, Rachael Johns and Jackie Ashenden launches. The Deacons of Bourbon Street is a bit of a departure from what I usually do. It’s a bit hotter and a bit rougher, but it’ll have the same banter and of course, HEA, that you expect from me.
The follow up trilogy to 5th Avenue is in the offing too, and I’m excited for you all the find out the ultimate fate of everyone caught up in the Wild World of Treffen.
As always, I feel like I owe you all a huge thank you. Thank you for reading my stories. I’m not here without you, my readers, that’s the honest truth, and I’m so thankful for every one of you. So thankful that I’ve spent another year being able to write the books I love.
I’m going to be writing at least as many books this year as I did last year. I have some seriously fun Presents on the horizon that I can’t WAIT to dive into. One thing I love about Presents is that I feel like each one can be so wildly different from another one. (I know a lot of people don’t see category that way, but I think I get to do the most interesting and different things in category books) and I’m hoping for some fun stuff yet to be announced.
*raises glass* Here to 2015! May it be a great one.
I’m so excited! I get to share my very first HQN covers…and they are fantastic in my opinion. Perfect for the books! My editor, Margo, puts so much thought into things and I really appreciated the great discussions we had about what sort of look and feel we wanted for the series…and I’m even happier that the art department and marketing took that and ran with it to a place that is so much better than I could have imagined. (This is why they’re the art department. And I am not!)
Without further ado…here they are:
I could go on and ON about how much I love them, and how perfect they are for the books. I have. I think my family is tired of me.
Part Time Cowboy is out March 31st, and Brokedown Cowboy is out May 26th. For more info check out the Copper Ridge page and click on the book covers!
Fifth Avenue has been given a digital makeover…and it is HOT!! To go along with it, for a limited time it has a HOT price as well!
From Sept 8th-14th Avenge Me is .99
Through December, Scandalize Me is $4.99
And so is Expose Me!
(Please don’t drool on Alex…)
Find out more, and get excerpts and buy links here.
I’m hardly a seasoned pro in this business, though, after nearly five years it’s easy to feel like one. Publishing is a demanding and crazy ride. A day is as a thousand years, etc. But I’ve learned a some things over the past few years, and one thing has been on my mind recently: There is a lot of power in saying yes.
This is going to get feelsy and hippie dippy and possibly cliche really quickly. Hang on tight.
I’ve been in a season of saying yes in my life.
I’ve spent a lot of time being nervous about things. I’m a control freak, and I tend to overthink. I also have my share of anxieties and fears. As we all do.
But last year my mom got sick (she’s doing well now) and I think the experience lit a fire in me. To ask myself why fear gets to dictate my circumstances, to get out there and try new things.
This year for our 9th anniversary my husband and I went to Skamania Lodge in Washington. It’s so incredibly beautiful there. And we had the most amazing day of walking through every metaphorical open door we could.
We went hiking at Multnomah Falls and took in the views, then we drove 45 minutes south to Portland. We parked in the first lot we saw, and walked into the first restaurant we saw and had the most amazing Lebanese food in the most beautiful atmosphere. From there we walked to an ice cream shop – 11 blocks away. And on the way we passed the soccer stadium. There was a game on in a couple of hours but we thought there would be no way to get in.
So went on and got our ice cream (and a hat! it’s a great hat) and after were done, we walked back. And decided to walk up to the stadium. It turns out tickets were very reasonable, and we got incredible seats just as the game started.
I’ve also been saying yes in my professional life. And I have been amazed at how fun/rewarding/awesome it as been.
Now, publishing is a business. Writing is a business, at least it is for me. And there is a tendency to keep our eyes on that immediate bottom line. But I’ve had some experiences in the past two years or so that have underscored the fact that, for me, the immediate bottom line is not the one true king.
I’ve written books for charity that ultimately resulted in contracts. Accepted offers that were not, at least in my mind, ideal that opened doors that led to bigger, better and more ideal circumstances. I’ve worked on projects that introduced me to amazing people and amazing editors even when the specific projects didn’t add to my bank account directly.
I am business minded. Writing is a necessity for my survival. But even with that I have to say…the journey matters too. Connections forged matter. Taking risks and exploring new opportunities can lead to big and incredible things. Or they can crash and burn, but if you never try, you never know.
The most shining example of this in my writing life was when I wrote Imagine Me and You, in the Animal Attraction anthology. This was the charity book I mentioned above. The proceeds of this novella go to benefit a no-kill animal shelter. I was happy to be involved in the cause, and am so grateful I had the chance.
But from that experience came opportunities I couldn’t have foreseen. It led to both a contract with HQN and a RITA nomination, and it was absolutely one of the most joyous writing experiences I’ve ever had. Any one of those things would have been HUGE on their own!
But it’s an example of what taking various opportunities have done in my career, even when there was no immediate monetary reward.
Another example comes straight out of New Orleans. Time spent there at RT this year inspired the germ of an idea (as did this lovely lady!) and resulted in a multi-author series with myself, Megan Crane, Rachael Johns and Jackie Ashenden, which will be out next year with Loveswept.
I wish I could outline all the little things that came together to make it possible. It’s friendships, connections that started five years ago. A casual comment that turned into something concrete. A seed of an idea that grew into…bikers. Like it does.
These are just examples from my experiences over the past year. Over and over again with publishing friends I’ve watched opportunities that seemed small grow into amazing trees of awesome. There is definite power in saying yes.
I know for me it has led to some wonderful, scary, exhilarating, fabulous, unfabulous-but-hey-I-tried, things.
Oh yes, oh yes, there is power in saying yes.
There’s power in saying no too, but that’s another blog post.
For now I’m going to leave you will all the cliches:
Walk through the door
Take the meeting
Enjoy your journey
Buy tickets to a soccer game and maybe go ziplining.
As many of you know since I’ve been talking about this on twitter I recently started using Dragon Dictate version 4 on my Mac. I wrote a lot of books last year and in February of this year I hit send out my latest single title and promptly wanted to cut my hands off.
I took a couple weeks off because fortunately this coincided with my trip to England, but when I got back the pain started right back up again. Everything was starting to feel like a burden, from blog posts to deadlines.
I had a lot of anxiety over this because I had tried speech recognition software before and felt like it was impossible. I have said more than once that my words come out of my fingers, and there’s no way I could say them because that just isn’t the way the process works.
But, dealing with pain and staring down multiple deadlines meant I didn’t have the luxury of being stubborn. Not anymore. The pain wasn’t excruciating, but persistent and present even when I wasn’t working. So the idea of turning around another book quickly was just not at all appealing. I love to write, and my body was making me love it less.
So, I took the plunge and bought the latest version of Dragon when it came out. (Note: as mentioned above I am using Dragon on the Mac and there are some uniquely buggy things that happen on the Mac version, I’m okay with it but there are definitely issues. More on that later)
I want to impress upon you just how much I didn’t want to use speech recognition software. I want to impress upon you just how skeptical I was. But, when I saw that Vivian Arend was experimenting with Dragon and upon interrogating her on twitter got some information about how it was going for her, I knew I had to try it.
My first experience with Dragon was using it for twitter, email, and a set of fairly heavy revisions that required certain scenes to be rewritten. This was a good way to start, because I didn’t expect speed. The revisions were tricky, and I had a lot to wrap my head around. That helped make me less conscious of the learning curve. I didn’t expect these particular revisions to be fast, so I didn’t feel quite as interrupted by the whole process.
One thing I think it’s very important to be aware of is that there is a learning curve. the first time I tried speech recognition software I expected it to feel somewhat intuitive. It wasn’t. Forcing my mouth to say the words didn’t feel natural. And because I spent a couple of hours struggling with it I assumed it simply wasn’t for me. This was a couple of years ago. I kind of fiddled with it, then never went back.
But this time I went into it feeling like I had to make it work. Pain is a really great motivator. The prospect of not having pain is an even better one.
I’ve been using Dragon for about three weeks now and I feel like it’s really working for me. I would absolutely recommend it, even though it’s imperfect. Frankly, I’m an imperfect typist, and the issues with Dragon outweigh chronic pain.
So here is my quick Dragon question-and-answer list. If there are questions I don’t answer that you would like answered, feel free to ask me in the comments.
Do you have to speak punctuation? Yes, you do have to speak punctuation. This was one of the things that daunted me about starting the program. I couldn’t imagine getting to a point where that would feel remotely intuitive. Honestly? I don’t even notice it now. It’s much easier to pick up than you might think. You just have to persist. (Though, I occasionally find myself tempted to start inserting punctuation into daily conversation.)
Is listening to the sound of your own voice terrible? At first, yes it was. So, I employed a little trick that was inspired by the movie the King’s Speech. I put in ear beds, and listened to music. This helped on a couple of levels. I always listen to music when I write and I have established playlists for my books. So this helped me feel like there was an element of the familiar because I had my music. And the bonus was I couldn’t hear myself talking. This made me less self-conscious. After just a few weeks I don’t need the music. I feel much more comfortable with the process, and am no longer cringing over the fact that I’m saying all these words out loud.
Did the words flow at first? No, not really. But it was amazing how quickly they began to. I would say that within a couple of days of using Dragon for almost everything I found my flow. Now, having done an entire manuscript I find that I get in the flow of speaking much the same way I do with typing. I barely stop for a breath. And if I’m in the zone enough that I don’t really have to think.
Is it accurate? Yes, I think it’s impressively accurate. But, when it gets things wrong it gets things really wrong, and I have had some pretty hysterical typos. Part of the reason it can go so badly is the Dragon tries to guess the context of your words. So if one word is wrong, the surrounding words might end up wrong too. Yes, this is annoying. But, I’m a fast but sloppy typist so I’m basically trading a set of common mistakes for another set of mistakes. I have to remind myself that I don’t type every sentence perfectly.
Some of using Dragon effectively has to do with the change of mindset. Certain things take longer with dictation than typing, and I find other things are much faster. I need to proofread a bit more carefully with Dragon, but it gets words down faster. it’s basically a system of trade-offs.
Is it easy to train in new vocabulary words? Yes, it is easy. The book that I just wrote was a sheikh book, complete with made-up country. That meant I had to teach Dragon a lot of names, and place names that don’t really exist. It was a pretty simple process.
Another thing that helps is to run your existing documents through Dragon. It will pick up words you use, and the frequency with which you use them. And if it doesn’t recognize words it puts them on a list and you can go through and train Dragon to understand them.
Would you use it for revisions? I probably wouldn’t use it for revisions that required tweaks. You can edit with Dragon but that is kind of a slow process. First things that needed to be rewritten, yes, I would use it. But not for tweaking a specific thread or making minor changes.
Were you worried it would change your voice? Do you think it did? I was paralyzed with fear about this. I dictated a bit and sent it on to my critique partner with much worry over it not sounding right. She assured me it was fine, so I pressed on.
It was an interesting experience reading over the manuscript I just finished. I was very pleasantly surprised with how ME it sounded. And I’m feeling much more confident in the fact that my voice is my voice, and I’m not going to upset the apple cart that easily.
How about those errors? Well, I’m still working in Pages on the Mac. There are a few funny things Dragon does. One of the errors I’ve had is that it will occasionally generate a random letter, and put it at the end of a sentence. This one letter will stay behind the cursor, and will largely not interfere with what you’re doing. And when I’m done I just delete it. Restarting the program will solve the issue. It’s annoying, but not detrimental.
Another issue I have, in Pages only, is the Dragon occasionally doesn’t automatically capitalize the word the beginning of a sentence. This is also just a minor annoyance in an easy fix.
Dragon also crashes occasionally. But it is never caused my word processor to crash and restarting it only takes a couple of seconds. I’ve never lost work as a result of a crash, just faced a little bit of interruption time. This is also something I can live with.
Most of these errors, as I understand it, are not present on the PC’s version. Now, the PC might have its own errors, but I’m not sure what they are.
What about microphones? I’m still on the hunt for a permanent microphone. I prefer a headset because it allows me to be hands-free and it keeps the microphone at the proper distance from my mouth. It also allows me to stand up and stretch while continuing to work. Right now I’m borrowing my dads microphone and eventually I will have to get my own. I can’t mooch forever. But I’m being indecisive.
The microphone you use does matter though, as it affects your accuracy. And strong accuracy is certainly key to feeling satisfied with Dragon. What you want is a noise canceling microphone, and these come in a variety of price ranges. Honestly, in my experience there isn’t a major difference in the accuracy of a cheap headset mic and an expensive one.
Yeah, but how fast is it? Okay, this is where I have to confess I was extremely skeptical of Dragon being faster than typing. As I mentioned above I’m a very fast typist. And when I started, I simply didn’t have the same flow. My brain had to process the words before my mouth could speak them, so there was a bit of a delay in getting it down, whereas when I type I don’t have the same issue.
But, I was wrong. It is faster. For a variety of reasons, on this particular draft I just finished Dragon far surpassed what I could’ve done typing.
First of all, I’m not experiencing the same brain delay that I was dealing with for the first couple of weeks. Now, speaking is almost as instantaneous as typing was. It’s something that requires patience, but it did come.
The other thing is that with Dragon I am not limited by physical pain. In the past I’ve often had very high word count days, but over the past few months that’s been impossible because of wrist pain. My brain is willing but my flesh is weak. With Dragon I’m back at the top of my game. I’m able to write the amount that I used to in a sitting, and not suffer for it after. Moreover, I find I’m able to repeat it the next day because I’m not sore.
That alone is going to make a draft go faster. To be able to put in a heavy word count and not be forced to take the next day off, or not be forced to take it easy is a pretty powerful thing.
And I will confess, I even used it in the car the other day. I opened up Dragon’s word processor and put it out of my view, committing to correcting the errors later, and dictated the final scene of my book during my commute to a writer’s meeting. That’s something that obviously is impossible when you’re typing.
These things contribute to the speed Dragon afforded me. I wrote my latest Presents in about half the time it would normally take me. I even took the weekend off. No one is more shocked than I am.
What are some of the differences? Anything challenging? Do you miss typing? Sometimes I find I have a hard time remembering details in a book. But because I have to read it back over so carefully for the typos that kind of helps compensate for that.
One of my favorite things about dictating (something I hadn’t even considered!) is that I can stand, put my feet up, pace, lay on the bed… this actually helps with a lot of things I didn’t even think about. Back pain, sore muscles, sore knees. I love the freedom that it provides.
Yes, sometimes I miss the typing. It’s quiet and it’s its own kind of therapy. But, when I do it a little twinge of pain reminds me why I can’t do it very often. And that, yet again, offsets the learning curve and issues of Dragon. At least for me.
Did you end up dictating the love scenes? Yes, yes I did. And by the time I got to them, it didn’t even bother me.
As a recap, learning to use Dragon is a process. It’s something that might feel frustrating at first, and probably won’t seem intuitive right out of the gate. But that’s okay. The only way you can get past that point is by doing it. Because of the place I was at with my pain it was an easy concession to make, whereas in the past I think I would’ve been frustrated with it.
It’s imperfect, but I found my previous system was imperfect.
One thing I’ve learned over and over in this business is that being flexible, and changeable, is important. Over the years I’ve had to train myself to be able to write in the morning when I used to feel most creative at night. I’ve had to learn to type with things going on around me when I would’ve preferred quiet.
And now, I’m learning to dictate when I didn’t think I could.
I think it’s an empowering thing to understand that processes can be changed, and we can learn to do old things in a new way. My own stubbornness and fear of failure almost prevented me from trying this, and if I hadn’t I would still be wearing wrist braces, using ice packs, and I would probably still be working on the book I turned in last night.
So, would I recommend Dragon? Absolutely. You definitely need privacy and as much quiet as you can get (though, often my children are in the house when I write. But I have an office that has a door. And it stays firmly closed and locked.) And that’s going to be more difficult for some than others. But, the car does work. And since you don’t have to sit in any one position a bedroom without a desk works as well, as long as you have a laptop.
Edit: Yesterday, I forgot to include this great bit of advice from Vivian Arend. ( I’m paraphrasing, she probably worded it better.) “No one sits down at a computer and immediately knows how to type perfectly. We had to learn how to type. Using Dragon isn’t just talking, it’s learning to dictate. You aren’t going to sit down and do it perfectly right away.”
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask them in the comments, and I will answer them as soon as possible.
As you can see my website is rocking a brand-new look! I’m very excited about the new design. I think it says Oregon, and goes nicely with both my Silver Creek books and the upcoming Copper Ridge series. And, since I am an Oregon girl, it reflects me nicely too. (I especially like the coffee cup at the bottom of the page)
it’s been a while since I blogged, (obviously) due in part to the fact that I have been having a lot of tendon issues. That makes it difficult to think of doing too much extra typing that isn’t strictly book related. But, I just started using Dragon Dictate and it’s making a world of difference for me, and my poor wrists. So hopefully updates will be less sporadic for me in the future.
On to the next bit of exciting news… Yesterday, I found out that my novella Imagine Me and You which was in the Animal Attraction anthology, is a finalist in the the RITA® awards! For those of you who don’t know, the RITAs are sort of the romance community’s Oscars. I’m thrilled to have Jace and Sam’s book in the finals. It was a story I really love writing, about friendship, love, and a big hairy dog. And of course, Jace, the superhot cowboy.
Other exciting thing, Harlequin is doing a giveaway for my May release Avenge Me. Fifty people have a chance to win a copy! So you should totally enter. More details about Avenge Me, will be forthcoming, around the beginning of April. Let’s just say, I’m very excited for this book and the series.
Hopefully, some time next week I’ll have digital files of my April 15 digital first releases. At that time I hope to run a giveaway here on the blog. Stay tuned In the meantime, feel free to poke around the website. Because I think it’s pretty awesome!
My website is somewhat behind the times right now. I’m waiting on a redesign that I hope will be complete in 2-4 weeks. (I’m so TIRED of how hard it is to update! This is going to fix all the horrible coding…the horrible coding that is my fault)
In the mean time…You guys, there are so many books. And this is the post of ALL the books. With my release dates, blurbs, and MAISEY BLURBS for your enjoyment.
February is an array of ME and I want you to be able to choose which ME you want. (Or all of me…*shimmies shoulders*)
I’ll also add links to excerpts because this is sort of an ‘assorted’ box of chocolates and reading the excerpt is like cutting said chocolates in half. Make sure one isn’t coconut to you and all that.
Backtracking…Untouched is OUT!
Official Blurb:In the Silver Creek romance Unexpected, Cole Mitchell found love in the last place he ever thought to look. Now, in USA Today bestselling author Maisey Yates’ newest novel, Cole’s little sister Lark is determined to have her turn…
Having never left the family ranch, Lark Mitchell needs a little adventure—or at least a romance that isn’t confined to the internet. Her older brothers Cole and Cade have always been too good at protecting her innocence, but even they can’t stop her from taking a second job—where her boss just so happens to be the kind of bad boy she craves. Too bad he’s also the one guy in Silver Creek she should never touch…
When Quinn Parker introduces himself, Lark tries to quit on the spot. Everyone knows Quinn was behind the accident that ended Cade’s rodeo career. But when he holds her to her contract, she can’t help wanting to get even closer. As she begins to see the man behind the gossip, she sees that not all of the things people say about him are true…even if there’s plenty about this bad boy she has yet to discover.
Maisey Blurb: Badass cowboy meets Geek girl. Forbidden desire, conversations about honey badgers and phone sex ensues.
Then on February 3rd I have TWO backlist Presents never before released in the states, coming to feed your digital reader! (And the redesigned covers are GORGEOUS, aren’t they??)
He must speak now…
Eduardo Vega once had the world at his feet, with trophy wife to match! Then a cruel accident left him with only fragments of memory—costing him everything. Now the time has come to track down his runaway wife and finally put the missing pieces of his puzzle back together…
Or for ever hold his peace!
Having tried her best to patch up the wounds of her first marriage, a couture-clad Hannah Weston is about to marry a much safer option. But moments before she says I doshe’s confronted by a perilously tempting memory from her past…
Maisey Blurb: Bad girl heroine who changed her name, falsified school records, married a man for money and is about to marry another one for the same reason. Hero with a traumatic brain injury and hecka bad migraines. Also he kinda kidnaps her a little. (she’s not that nice. I don’t feel sorry for her)
DANTE ROMANI’S SHOCK ENGAGEMENT TO EMPLOYEE!
Paige Harper can’t believe her little white lie has made the headlines. The only way to secure the adoption of her best-friend’s daughter was to fake an engagement with her boss. Now she can hear him marching down the corridor to fire her!
The press have spent years cultivating Dante’s devilish persona, but now he wonders if this ‘engagement’ could be an opportunity to change that. Paige will wish he had fired her when she hears his terms: if she wants his ring she’ll have to play the part of devoted wife in public and in private…
Maisey Blurb: Flailbag self-harming hero with a dark and tortured past and the glitter fairy heroine who gets all up in his space, messes up his house and ruining his life and making his peen hard. (He really would rather if she didn’t. Thanks)
How to Land the Hot Guy 1.0
A multimillionaire by the age of 27, app developer Evie James is clueless when it comes to hooking up. So she does what any self-respecting geek-girl looking to get laid would do: she programs her own app for landing a hot guy. After a few failed attempts at making contact, beta testing leads her to Caleb Anderson.
Caleb is used to female attention, but finds himself attracted to Evie because of her unique brand of awkward. A master of one-night stands, he’s more than happy to show her what she’s been missing in the bedroom. But he quickly discovers that one night with a woman like Evie will never be enough for him…
Also REMEMBER dear readers, Xander (Pretender to the Throne) returns to Kyonos in just a few weeks. By that I mean he’ll be in stores. He’s available on Harlequin or M&B’s websites NOW and will be on general readers March 1st. (He’s practically a birthday gift for me!)
AND ALSO *tease tease tease* some very exciting things are in the offing. (I’ve been teasing forever, I know, but things are getting closer) so watch this space!
As 2013 draws to a close I’ve been reflecting as one is wont to do. Personally, we’ve had an intense year with parental health issues, but fortunately, right now everyone is sitting in great health and things are going out much better than they came in.
Professionally? I think I’ve had the most incredible, new, exciting year I’ve had since that first book sold back in 2009. I’m going to throw in the more reader pertinent things here at the beginning, the writer stuff is on the end. And if you’re interested in both yay *confetti*
As many (most…all) of you know I started out writing Harlequin Presents which are still my first love. Because sheikhs, dude. And emotional angst and sexy alpha heroes and as you all know, I’m contracted to keep writing Presents for…*counts on fingers* a lot more books. So while things are changing, and growing, I’m still sticking to my roots.
In the New Year I have a sheikh and his kidnapped, forbidden American heiress (Forged in the Desert Heat, January) we have Xander…(Pretender to the Throne, March) Alexios and Rachel (One Night to Risk it All, May) and there will probably be another sheikh thrown into the mix. Watch this space.
But in diversifying news…I also have two Cosmo Red Hot Reads coming this year! Crazy, Stupid Sex and one with the working title Urban Cowboy. They’re funny and sexy and very different to my single titles and my series books. And I’ve had a blast working on them!
I’m also wrapping up a series (for now, you never know what will happen in the future!) my last Silver Creek books are coming out this year. Two novellas, and two single titles, the last of which will be in print this summer. And I’m starting a NEW series (which won’t release in 2014, but I’ll be working on it through the year!) Pine Ridge Falls, which is releasing in print and e with HQN.
And then I have that Secret Project which is slowly leaking onto the interwebs. (don’t look on Amazon. You might SEE things.) It’s also quite different to my other stuff. Very dark. Very twisted and very fun.
It’s a LOT of things. And to be honest, while some of it I was working toward, some of it came out of the blue. Or rather, it seemed like it did. But looking back it’s amazing how things all worked together.
I yammer on a LOT about the importance of keeping your eyes on your own path, because no two writer’s paths are the same. And there have been a lot of opportunities that came up last year, or in previous years that I know were the seeds for the wonderful things to come this year.
There were a lot opportunities that seemed small, that became the first step into some of the things I’m most excited about.
I think it’s easy to look at other people (especially on the internet!) and think that things simple COME to them. That their success is instant, or easy. And sometimes…for some people…that is true. But usually there are a lot of other things going on behind the scenes that we never see. And whether or not you’re on a slow crawl to ‘success’ (in quotes because success can be defined in many different ways) or you shoot there on the tail of a comet, hard work is always the bottom line.
I also think it’s easy to become so consumed with what OTHER people are doing, or what THEY might do in a certain situation, that you miss the unique opportunities that are in front of you.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a contract that isn’t your ‘dream’ contract. It’s not a failure. Sometimes it’s a step.
Someone asked on twitter a while ago: Is it better to have bad tomatoes, or no tomatoes. And most people said no tomatoes. But someone said: Bad tomatoes. Because you can grow good tomatoes from the seeds. And I absolutely see the merit in that. Sometimes, from situations that don’t seem ideal, you can grow the most amazing things. But I think you have to do it intentionally. I think you have to be watching for those new sprouts so you can cultivate them.
I’ll be honest and say that digital first wasn’t what I had in mind ideally for Silver Creek, but Berkley and my editor there, really believed in the books. And when we went back to contract the second time, it was for print, which was what I had wanted for the series in the first place. So while it wasn’t a bad tomato per se, it was something that I felt initially closed off to, but something I’m VERY glad I pursued in the end because A) it allowed me to bring these books, books I’m very proud of, to my readers, and B) DID eventually lead to a single title mass market deal.
Sometimes immediate gratification (monetary particularly!) isn’t the name of the game.
Watch for your own opportunities, don’t watch for the opportunities being given to other people. That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year.
When Cosmo Red Hot Reads became A Thing I didn’t even think about submitting to it because it just didn’t seem like I would be a fit. And then my editor asked if I would be open to writing and submitting a partial for consideration. I thought…why not? I honestly didn’t think they would buy it, but I wrote the partial with abandon and I had so much fun with it. I had no expectation for it. And after a bit of a wait, I found out they wanted it, and that they wanted TWO from me! So exciting, and not something I was looking for. But something I’m SO glad I pursued now.
I also had the chance to work on a novella for a charity anthology, and through that met the editor who helped inspire/develop the Pine Ridge Falls series, which is probably the thing I’m most excited to be working on in the coming year.
I guess the bottom line is this: know your goals, keep your eyes open, and keep writing.