They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. While I'm sure "they" are right, some things are too important to not even try.
Devil in Disguise was a book I'd been really excited to write for a lot of reasons - it was a chance to not only revisit many of my favorite characters, but to shine a spotlight on the fight against human trafficking and one of my favorite organizations, Project Liberty. But then life and inexperience got in the way of my best laid plans.
Right as the publication process kicked into high gear, my family's move to the country got fast-tracked. I was so busy keeping my head above water that I let a lot of things slip through the cracks. I was also newer to this writing gig, so I made a few decisions I would have made differently if I'd known then what I know now.
I realize nothing's perfect, and with every book, there will always be something I could have done better. Usually I chalk it up to live and learn and apply my takeaways from each book to the next. But I couldn't let it go with Devil; it never stopped bothering me, those little things I'd have done differently.
Here are just a few things to watch for in the upcoming months...
Reboots seem to be all the rage in Hollywood these days. I'm usually resistant to them but they win me over in the end. I felt bad for Tobey Maguire when they started over with the Spiderman series, but Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were an irresistible combination. I guess, sometimes, it's not all bad to start over.
After I released Waiting for You, I went into a bit of a hibernation as far as my writing was concerned. I had all kinds of plans in the works that were put on hold. Partly because my life was kinda overwhelming me and I needed to get my feet under me. Partly because I was just in a creative slump.
But now things are kinda-sorta starting to settle down and the voices in my head have been silenced for too long. They're bumping around, demanding I tell their stories once more. Maybe it's time for me to reboot. To that end, look for some changes around the website, a few revamped covers, and maybe even a few more changes to come down the pike.
And I did promise my readers I'd eventually tell Vance's story. I think it's time to make good on that promise.
First, I have a few orders of business to attend to, a few details to iron out before I make official announcements... but stay tuned, because there will be some news in the next week. Vance's story is going to be an event, because he deserves nothing less.
I'm always excited to release a new book. Launch day usually finds me glued to my computer screen, smiling like a fool over each new comment and eagerly checking to see if anything new is happening. My books are my babies and I love sending them out into the world. (Even if it is a little nerve-racking!)
But there's something about this one that has me especially bubbly today. I can't say enough how happy I am to be announcing the release of Waiting for You. Karise and Aidan's story has become one of my favorites. Like Charlie and Neena from Jailbird, thinking about these two just makes me smile. I hope they make you smile, too.
So please go out and snag your copy now - then tell everyone you know to do the same! I'll be forever grateful. Maybe, if we can manage to climb high enough on the charts, I'll even let one of my boys get some video of me happy-dancing so you have something to giggle about. But it would have to be pretty darn high on the charts...
Here's the link to buy the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble & iTunes. Happy reading!
I've decided it's time to tell Vance Davis's story. To do that well, I'm re-reading all of the books with him in it. Well, I'm attempting to, anyway. Any time I try to sit down on my front porch to read, this happens:
I finally convinced this crew to leave me alone and then I got distracted by Snickers teaching her baby, Forest, how to pick a fight with our young buckling, Skittlez. (My oldest son insists on the "z" - he says it makes the name more manly. Or is it manlier?)
Even with all of this cuteness abounding, I'm determined to work on this book. I'll let you know how it goes!
There is something I love about each of my books. Each novel released reveals some facet of me, some emotion I've struggled with, a piece of my soul. I've enjoyed each of them or I wouldn't have shared them with you, my reader.
But every so often, one of the books strikes a deeper chord. I find myself busting at the seams with excitement over releasing it. Throwaway and Jailbird were those kind of books for me. My upcoming release, Waiting for You, also falls into that category.
The novel doesn't contain some of the suspense found in the others. It's a love story, pure and simple. One of my early readers summed it up best when she said, "I want to crawl inside this book and live there." Yep, me too, Becki. Me, too.
There were times I didn't think this book was ever going to be written. My creative team would agree to a set of dates and I'd blow right past them with no progress made because life has been so incredibly crazy of late. (Even for me.) But the amazing team of people I work with rolled with it and got the book ready in spite of me.
Here's the official synopsis:
For years, Karise McAlister has been running: from her family, from herself, and from her dreams. Now she’s made it, with a successful career and a promising engagement. But when she meets the compelling and creative Aidan Donnelly, his down-to-earth charm provides the wakeup call Karise badly needs. Moving across country to start over, Karise devotes herself to her work, convinced she needs to be independent. But with handsome Aidan just down the road and a mischievous group of friends determined to set her up, Karise must face her concerns about life and romance head-on.
Waiting for You will be available for pre-order next week and released May 7!
I tell readers all the time that you don't have to read my books in any certain order to enjoy them. Each novel is meant to stand alone. I try to have at least one person who is new to my work read my novels before they're released, just to be sure they make sense all by their lonesome.
That said, part of the fun of the books operating in a shared universe is getting to see how characters are doing after their story has been told. All of the books intertwine on some level, but every now and then, there's one that brings multiple others in. My next release just so happens to be one of those books.
So if you haven't read Ties That Bind, Ring of Fire or Roses in Ecuador, now might be a good time to do so. To make that easier, my wonderful publisher has combined those three novels into one collection: The Unbridled Hearts Collection.
If you've already read all three books, thank you! Now please go tell all of your friends to read them. At three books for $5.99, it's a great deal!
And stay tuned for tomorrow's cover reveal for my upcoming release, Waiting for You. I simply cannot wait to share this book with you; I'm about to bubble over with excitement!
The sun was shining today and there was a hint of spring in the air. As if someone flipped a switch inside me, my doldrums passed and I was suddenly in a great mood, ready to take on the world. It's a little embarrassing the pull a little bit of sun has over my emotions.
The only thing that comes close to impacting my mood as quickly as sunshine is music. That's why having a soundtrack for each novel is so important to me. It's the soundtrack that transports me from my chaotic world into the one I'm creating. When I'm stuck on a scene, I can walk away from the computer, put my earbuds in, and see it all in my head. (Thankfully, I can do this while doing dishes or cleaning house so I can multitask. If I try to just close my eyes and picture it, I fall asleep.)
Anywho, in honor of Valentine's Day, I thought it would be fun to go through and pick one love song for each novel - the one that more than any other, captures the essence of the love between my main characters.
There were several songs I listened to a lot while I was writing Throwaway, but "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits was the song that sparked the fire that fueled this novel. To this day when I hear this song, I think of Jessie and Gabe. Man I love Jessie and Gabe. Everybody needs a Gabe.
I came really close to picking "The Promise" from When in Rome for my one song with this one, but "I Don't Want to Lose You Yet" by Steve Earle really is Rick and Veronica's song. It's also one of those songs I could listen to on a continual loop. Actually, both songs are. I think they are two of the greatest love songs ever made.
Whenever I hear "Drive all Night" by Bruce Springsteen, I could close my eyes and picture Neena in Charlie's arms. There is something so slow, sexy and tender about this song. I can't help but respond to it. The lyrics don't fit them as well as is the case for some of the others, but the sentiment definitely does.
This is another book that had a clear soundtrack to it when I was writing - an eclectic soundtrack at that. (We're talking everything from Abba to Aerosmith!) But the one song I listened to every time I needed to instantly see Gavin and Kate was "Dreams" by the Cranberries. Words can't express how much I love this song, or the way my soul soars when I listen to it.
Yeah, you might expect this one to be Ring of Fire - and that was part of my soundtrack when I wrote this one - but the song that embodied the relationship between Alex and Daniel, to me, was "Joey". While writing this book, I was listening to a version by John Bartley, the St. Louis musician who inspired one of the characters in the novel. Since he doesn't have a Youtube video out there, I've substituted the better-known version by Concrete Blonde. It's still pretty fantastic, if not quite as sensual.
Truth time - I have no idea what song inspired this book. Maybe because so many of the stories are mine, it didn't need that musical catalyst. (Not the love story - just the "too crazy to be fiction" stuff.) Maybe I just have the memory of a gnat. I thought about it pretty hard, and I seem to recall listening to a lot of Alison Krauss while writing this book. If I had to pick a song for Hailey and Ethan, it would be her version of "When You Say Nothing at All". Now that I've committed to it, I can't imagine another song for them.
This one's a no-brainer for me. Again, you might expect it to be the song that shares the same title, but it's not. Nope, whenever I hear "Would You Go With Me" by Josh Turner, I do two things: smile and think of Conrad Langston smiling at Rachel Cooper. And seriously, if you don't watch any of these other videos, you have to watch this one. It's amazing. The song might make me smile, but the video makes me cry. It's amazingly beautiful. And Josh Turner is a cutie. That never hurts. (BTW, this is another one I could put on continual loop. I'm not joking about that.)
This is another one that tempted me to cheat and list two songs. If Phillip Phillips hadn't released "Home" when he did, I might not have finished this book on time. That song was a huge inspiration for me, but it still doesn't compare to "Janey Don't You Lose Heart " by Bruce Springsteen. Not only is this song another I could quite happily put on a continual loop, it also falls into the "always puts a smile on my face" category. And, if that wasn't enough, it's one I totally identify with. Maybe it's not the typical song that conjures the image of romance, but there's something to be said about a guy standing by you when you feel like you have no new dreams to touch.
It took me a while to think of a song that inspired the romance between Cat and Cody. In my defense, I wrote the first draft of this book about twenty years ago. It was an entirely new set of songs that kept me going as I revised it. As I sat and thought about it, though, I had to stick with the one song that brings them to mind every time I hear it: "Little Wing" by Stevie Ray Vaughan. This song oozes sensuality and the New Orleans vibe. Whenever I needed to feel the sexual tension between these two characters, I'd play this song.
So, I'm kind of cheating and way down here at the bottom of this post, I'm giving a bit of a sneak peek at my next novel, Waiting for You. I can't say much yet, except that there will be lots of returning characters in this one. I'll be posting much more about it in the upcoming weeks. For now, I'll just say that I'm really digging the entire soundtrack for this book. It's another eclectic one - Josh Turner, the Statler Brothers, The Lumineers, Fun, Pink, Cher... the list goes on. But it's "I Will Wait" by Mumford and Sons that is Karise and Aidan's song. So much so, it helped pick the title of the book. This song absolutely soars at its peak. Love, love, love it.
That's my list. What songs do you think of when you think of my books? Did you have a reading soundtrack? I'd love to hear about it!
Happy Valentine's Day!