Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When reading goals conflict with writing goals

I am addicted to reading. I always have been. When I was a kid, it wasn't uncommon for me to lay near my open bedroom door, trying to read by the hallway light that was on to combat my little brother's fear. I read nearly every Sweet Valley Twins/High/University, Babysitter's Club, Boxcar Children, etc book I could get my hands on. I had shelves on one wall that were filled to capacity, and I frequently succeeded in summer reading challenges at my local library. Once I get started on a book, I have trouble putting it down. At age 18, my favorite books were Les Miserables (the unabridged version), Demian, and anything by V.C. Andrews (quite the contrast, I know).

However, once I entered college, my ability to read for pleasure was cut drastically. I was working full time and had upwards of 3 job (1 full time, and 2 part time) to pay for my bills (rent, utilities, internet, car stuff, and eventually a cell phone) and food- usually take out because I couldn't cook to save my life! I can count on one hand how many books I read between 2000 and 2008 that weren't for a class. Not to say that I didn't read anything great. I was able to read "The Swimmer", a short story by John Cheever that inspired me in a way I never thought possible. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor- because it's awe-inspiring. It reminds you of how life can pass you by if you aren't paying attention.

Once I was finished with school (my graduation was delayed because of a major change, a chronic illness and a difficult pregnancy), I had work and a family that always kept me too busy to notice that I hadn't picked up a book again. That was until one morning in January 2011, when I woke up in so much pain I couldn't move on my own. I ended up on short term disability for three solid months of doctors, pain meds, and testing. After awhile, I got sick of the four walls of my bedroom and picked up a copy of my 10 year old daughter's 'Pandora Gets Jealous' out of shear boredom. I finished it in less than 24 hours and moved on to the other 5 in her library while I rediscovered something that was previously lost.

Through the rest of the year, I found my way back to the library and picked up where I'd left off when I was 18- only now, I was 30. I wish it hadn't taken me 12 years to remember that reading is awesome...but it did. That Christmas, I received my best gift in recent years: my kindle, and my life changed again.

I've always been a writer, whether it's grants or articles for my job, journaling for myself or writing stories just because. I have notebook upon notebook with story stems all over my house, and probably in boxes in my parents' garage, too. Something amazing started to happen as I rediscovered my love of reading, my brain was suddenly flooded with dialogue and characters and stories that were begging to get out.

'Love, but Never' is a book that I'd written 5000 words of in 2007 and put aside. Yet, as I read, more and more of the story found its way to a word document on my computer until in May 2012, I'd finished 73k words and wrote 'The End.' The whole thing was completely and totally surreal to me. I never thought that I was 'finish a novel' girl, nor did I know that it was a goal I'd always had in the back of my head.

Here it is, a year and a half after completing my first draft of my first novel, having completed 3 full length novels, and 4 novellas wondering how it is that I ended up here... I'm so grateful for all the support I've received as I continue in this writing endeavor. I wouldn't be here without the support of my husband, family, friends, betas and bloggers.

I'm still trying to learn the balance between taking care of my family, working full-time, reading as much as I want to and writing. I'm, currently, working on 2 manuscripts (Never Ever After and Anton's book) and hope to have them out before mid-year. I'm always looking for more beta readers so if you ever get an itch, just send me an email and I'm happy to send you whatever I'm working on at the moment.

What is your reader story? Have you always been a reader? What type of books do you like? Have you always been a romance fan? I'd love to hear it!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Anton and Sophie

So, last week, I was minding my own business, trying to recuperate from the horrors of pertussis (after being sick pretty much constantly for the last month, my doctor decided this was my issue after coughing so much and so hard in my appointment that my ribs hurt), when Anton and Sophie decided they were sick of waiting for me to be done with Lucian's story and started to crowd my brain.

Yesterday, I was finally well enough to type out the little bits of story I'd used my phone to store until I could sit up for longer than thirty minutes...

This doesn't have a title yet, nor does it have a blurb, but I wanted to share the unedited, rough draft of the Prologue with you all because I'm pretty excited for what the story is going to be. Although this is considered a 'spin-off' of the Professor, it will be a stand-alone.


The early morning sun accosted Sophie as soon as her gray-green eyes cracked open. Groggily, she sat up and took in the foreign surroundings. A set of warped and slightly open, dusty but white Venetian blinds covered an, obviously, east facing window. The directness of the sunlight peeking through the slats told her that it was still fairly early in the day. Looking down at the dingy beige sheets pooling at her waist, she wished that she were waking up in her four poster bed on her robin’s egg blue Egyptian cotton 800 counts rather than these, which felt like burlap against her milky white skin.

For an undercover agent, Sophie was doing a lousy job recalling how she’d ended up in this bed last night, but the familiar ache of her lower muscles and her advanced state of undress let her know exactly what she’d done once she got there.

A husky groan sounded from beside her and an oddly-familiar tanned arm slid around her naked waist. “Don’t get up yet, Sophie,” he murmured against the small of her back as he wrapped himself around her like ivy. Trailing his lips up her spine, she shuddered, involuntarily as the stubble from her bed-mate’s chin flipped her mood from confused to aroused in no time. “I was hoping for a repeat of last night’s performance this morning,” he continued, his lips now as her neck as he got on to his knees behind her and moved her hair to the side to allow for better access.

“Mmmmm,” she moaned as his hands skated across her ribs to the underside of either breast.

“These are amazing,” he praised, letting his thumbs tease her already erect nipples as he nibbled on her ear. “I didn’t get nearly enough of them before we passed out last night.”

“Connor,” she breathed, trying to remind herself that she’d just spent the previous night being fucked by the man she was supposed to be building a case against. She was supposed to be his secretary, not his girlfriend or even his fuck buddy.

“I love it when you say my name like that,” he growled, moving her back toward the bed and positioning himself on top of her and between her legs before she could process how things had escalated so quickly. “But I think I like it better when you scream it,” he declared before filling her to the hilt with one sharp thrust, his gray eyes gleamed silver into hers as he fucked her with long, hard strokes. His jaw was tight and his nose touched hers as he demanded her gaze. The steely determination, with an old mix of warmth toward her, but a general coldness, in them almost frightened her. She didn’t know if he suspected her job and wanted information from her, or if this was him letting her know that he owned her.

“Fuck,” she hissed as she felt a hand between them, pulling on the nipple of her left breast roughly, just enough to send a jolt of pain mixed with pleasure straight to her pussy, overriding her thought processes and rushing her building orgasm through her body. “Connor,” she whimpered as she slid of the edge and rocked up to meet his strokes into her body, feeling his thickness pushing against her cervix.

“You are mine,” he stated through clenched teeth. “You will move out of this hell hole today,” he decided, yet again reminding her that the only reason she was in this apartment at all was so that she didn’t blow her cover last night. Fuck, what if she hadn’t been thinking and took him to her house rather than the dummy address the Bureau had set up for her when she started this assignment. It looked sufficiently lived in, but she knew that wasn’t because she was actually staying here. As Connor roared his release, throwing his head back before meeting her gaze again as his breathing calmed. After a minute, he allowed his body to sink onto hers, his head nestled between her breasts and his light brown hair fell into his eyes as he looked up at her, waiting for her to confirm that she would move in with him. As she sent up a silent prayer hoping that he thought her rapid heartbeat was from the sex they’d just shared, she started to question how she got into this mess from the beginning.

The answer came quicker than she would’ve expected. This was all Anton’s fault.

Don't forget to add this to your TBR list on Goodreads: