Thursday, January 2, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside….

This is so appropriate right now, because the thermometer on my phone says it is 13 degrees outside and dropping. Kentucky gets cold, but not normally this cold. Next week we're supposed to be in the negative at night! BRRR…..
Copyright belongs to Disney. 

Luckily for me, I'm writing a couple of hot scenes. The following is from an untitled story related to my Lost and Found series.

They made it through dinner, packed up the few leftovers and left. Flynn felt like a schmutz, ruining their date the way he had.
“I’m sorry,” he told her, holding the truck door open for her.
She glanced at him and frowned. “I’m not. I had a lovely dinner with you.”
Flynn leaned between the door and the frame, needing to explain.
“Crowds mean danger to me.” He flicked his gaze back to the restaurant. “There were twenty-three people in there, possibly too many for me to take on alone.” He couldn’t help but grin. “But I would have done my best.”
Willow laughed at his bravado and reached out to hold his cheek. Flynn forced himself to stand, unmoving, as she caressed the bristly beard down to his chin, and he felt obligated to be blunt. “I’m not a regular guy, Willow. I can’t take you out dancing or to a county fair without planning exit strategies and collateral damage. I’ve been stateside for three years now, but I still live as if I’m in a warzone. To some extent, I probably always will. I don’t know that anything will ever change that. And I don’t know that that would be a good environment for you.”
She raised a brow at that.
“Do you see me pulling away? Cringing at what you do?”
She waited for him to shake his head.
“Did I not give you the back-up you needed for that situation?”
He stared at her, shaken that she could understand the fear he did not want to give name to.
“Dancing is overrated," she continued, "although we may have to work on the county fair. That’s one thing I simply cannot miss. I love animals more that people, so as long as you make an effort every once in a while to get out, I think we’ll be fine.”
Leaning in, she pressed a soft kiss to his lips.
Flynn felt like he was drowning; in her scent, her taste and the emotion she stirred in him.
He opened his mouth to taste her, and a visceral need erupted. It had been so long since he’d been with a woman, but he didn’t even think that was it. It couldn’t be just any woman. Willow had been the one taunting him in his dreams for so long.
Saving him from himself.
She tasted of Italian herbs and lemon. Angling his head, Flynn forced her mouth wider, needing to taste everything she had. She met him move for move. Fingernails dug into his ribs, then burrowed beneath his shirt to his skin. Flynn shuddered at the first intimate touch he’d felt in years. Her hand moved across his ribs and brushed his pectorals.
He stepped closer, unable not to. One of her hands drifted down to his ass cheek and squeezed, and he hardened to the point of pain. Oh, hell...
The hairs on his neck rose, and he realized how exposed he was, kissing her out here on the street. With a final, lingering nibble, he pulled away. He scanned the surroundings, but didn’t see any immediate threat. Circling the truck hood, he slid into the vehicle.
Willow had dragged the seatbelt across her midsection, but still looked a little dazed. Flynn grinned at her hazy expression. “Are you okay? You look a little flushed.”
She gave him a smack on the arm. “Can I help it if I’m recovering from one of the hottest kisses I've ever had?”
Flynn swallowed and looked at her, trying to decide if she were bullshitting him or not. She looked totally sincere. And aroused. The erection he’d been trying to tame renewed, making him shift uncomfortably.
Willow leaned toward him with a satisfied look on her face. “Yeah, I’m not the only one, am I?”
Grinning with her, he started the truck and shoved it into gear.

This book won't be out for a couple of months, I'm sorry. But I've got a couple of free downloads of my book Embattled Minds for anyone who tells me about the hottest scene they've read recently. And if you bounce along on the rest of the hop, you can be entered to win a Kindle, a Nook, gift cards and book downloads! A pretty awesome way to spend a chilly weekend if you ask me! Just click on the fireplace to be taken to the list.

Also, if you need another FREE READ, you can check out the prequel novella to my Lost and Found series, HERE.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

7 Steps To Self-Publishing Your Backlist Title...

  Publishing is changing every day, it seems. Indie pubbed authors are getting publishing contracts and traditionally pubbed authors are putting out their back lists as indies. The stigma to releasing your own work is finally beginning to ease as authors realize there is more than one path to publication.

I had a lady email me the other day wanting to know what she needed to do to release a title she'd received the rights back to from a small e-pub, and I thought it would be a good blog post. She's probably not the only one wondering.
When we sign contracts with publishing companies, be they New York traditional or smaller e publishing houses, we give up our rights to that work for a length of time. Contracts themselves usually run from one year to fourteen, with three to five being the average. During that time, the publishing house prepares and distributes the work. There should be a section of the contract dealing with the length of the contract and directions on how to request your rights back from the publisher. Follow those directions closely. On some contracts, if you don't request your rights back during the window specified, the contract itself renews, locking you in again.
Once you receive your reversion of rights, you can prepare to put it out yourself.
~~~There are some things to remember. When you signed the contract with the publishing company, more than likely they took over the cost of production. They bought a cover, they paid somebody to edit the work and they put their own ISBN on it. Now that you own the book again, YOU CANNOT USE THE OLD COVER OR ISBN. You, as the new publisher, have to provide a new cover, a new ISBN and possibly new editing.
Here's what you need to do to release your reverted-rights, backlist title:

  1. Once you receive your Reversion of Rights letter from your publisher, read over your manuscript. This is a chance to remake the story into what you've always envisioned. When you read it over, you may find sections that you'd like to change or expand on. Maybe you've always wanted to give it a different ending. Or turn it edgier. Make the hero a little nicer. Well, now's your chance. Make the story into what YOU want. 
  2. Choose a cover artist and cover. There are a lot of up and coming, fabulous cover designers out there. I've personally used The Author's Red RoomMelody Simmons at and Viola Estrella, and all were fabulous. If you follow this link, it will take you to an updated list of 52 cover artists I've listed on my website under Author Helps. Some publishing houses barely ask your opinion about the cover, let alone what models or scenes to use. If you've ever cringed when you've gotten a cover from a publisher because the heroine's hair color is wrong, or the scene is off, this is your chance to make it right. I put this a little higher in the list because some cover artists take several months to create a custom cover. Or it may just take that long to catch a break in their schedule. You can order the cover while you're doing everything else. If you plan on taking your book to print, you'll need a wrap cover, which will take a little longer to create. Tell your artist what you need before you start. Cost- can be any amount. I've seen pre-made covers for as little as $5 up to custom covers for several thousand.
  3. Edit your work. While the original publisher probably, hopefully, edited your work competently, you still want to have it checked over, especially if you modify or change anything from the original manuscript. Every editor I've had has worked differently, but they've all been fabulous, luckily. I've heard horror stories of editors that couldn't edit for shit, and if you've ever had one of those, you have my sympathies. I think every piece of work about to be published needs to be re-edited, because just about every book I read -Traditional, e or indie- has a typo in it somewhere. Cost- any amount. If you have a critical reader good at spotting issues, it may be free. If you use an actual editor, expect to pay out $50 up to several hundred dollars for a critical read through. I currently use Mary Yakovets. I hate to give her name out because she really is awesome, and I want her to still have time for me!
  4. Buy ISBNs for your work. I'll explain this out a bit, so that everybody knows. If you publish on Smashwords, they offer you a free ISBN, but THEY are listed as the publisher, not you. If you actually buy the number from Bowker, YOU are listed as the publisher. It took me a while to figure out, but from now on, I want MY work to be under MY name. Cost-You can buy them at Bowker; 1 for $99 or 10 for $250. I bought the 10 pack, because each book that you put out will need 3 numbers. One ISBN for digital, one for print and one for audio.
  5. Format your work. This isn't as easy as it sounds and I've resigned myself to be one of those that CAN NOT format, no matter how long she tries. But it's turned out for the best. I have a formatter at BBebooks that absolutely rocks formatting, affordably. When I send Paul my doc file, for $50 he turns it into 7 different versions, for each of the distributors. WELL worth the money. Cost- depends upon your file size and the number of different versions you need. $50 and up.
  6. Register yourself and Publish at all of the distribution sites. Some, like Apple, take a long time to check you out and approve you as a publisher. Like, several weeks. If you don't have a Mac computer and have to upload to Apple through Smashwords, ARE or one of the other distributors, be prepared for it to take several weeks for your book to go live. The rest of the sites go live fairly quickly. Smashwords is live immediately. Amazon takes about a day, Kobo and Barnes and Noble take a few days to a few weeks. ARE is also a quick one. Your book will be available as soon as you upload it, but I will say that their upload process is a pain in the butt. When you upload to Createspace for your print book, the proof will take 24 hours. Once you approve the proof, you can hit print and your books will be available. Cost- None of the sites charge you to publish a book through them, although they will take a portion of your royalties. Read the information at each site to see how much.
  7. Start Marketing! This is probably something that you've been doing anyway, no matter where you were pubbed. Keep doing it. The advantage to this, though, is that now that you've pubbed your own book, you can see real-time sales at all of the sites. If you do a blog-hop or targeted advertisement, you can see immediately if it was effective or not by following your numbers. You had no way of knowing that when you were pubbed with a publisher.

This is a highly simplified version of what you need to do, but you can now call yourself a self-published author. If you have any questions at all, either comment here or send me an email at
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Midsummer Nights Dream Men Blog-hop

While my heroes are not typically handsome, they do have a strong appeal with women. They've served their country with pride, and returned better men. They've saved lives and tried to secure peace.
The main difference is, my heroes are all Disabled Veterans.
When I started writing the Lost And Found series, I didn't know what kind of reception I would get with my men. They are not your typical 'tall, dark, and handsome'.
In Book 1, Embattled Hearts, my hero John used to be tall, dark and handsome, until a roadside bomb paralyzed him and put him into a wheelchair.
In Book 2, Embattled Minds, Zeke used to be a ladies' man, until he made the mistake of taking cover behind a wall that came down on top of him, permanently scarring him and leaving him with a Traumatic Brain Injury.
Book 3, when it comes out, will have a hero with a permanently disabled arm and an amputated leg.
Not your typical hero, but to me they are the epitome of heroism. They have sacrificed for their country.  They have sacrificed time with their family, their children. They've sacrificed, sometimes literally, their sanity to their country.
I've had people ask me about my covers, because the men, in general, are good looking and healthy. Unfortunately, there are very few stock images for my heroes- definitely none with a romantic theme. So, I've modified the pictures as much as I could. Trimming the lower half on one, shading a face on another.
If you'd like to check out my men, the prequel to the series, The Embattled Road is free.

My question is: What is your ideal hero? One commenter will win a free download of my newest book, Embattled Minds.

If you click on the image below, it'll get you started on the hop. Just press 'next' in the top right hand corner to go to the next blog. Happy hopping!


Please, continue on the blog hop to meet more fantastic heroes and be entered for a chance to with a $75 gift card, plus several free book downloads.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Embattled Minds is LIVE!!!

So, I'm a little over on my timeline, but Embattled Minds is done! This was supposed to be a filler for between the full-length partner novels I'm doing, but it didn't go that way. Zeke had a lot to say! And Ember had a lot to say back! The 20-25k I planned turned into 45k words!
If you haven't been following the Lost And Found Series, this is the second book in the series, three total in the line if you count the prequel. Check it out.

Zeke Foster has little to no experience with women over the past couple of years, after being injured in Afghanistan. Brutally scarred, he has no expectation that he’ll ever find a woman capable of accepting him the way he is. But he can’t help but be enamored of Ember, the waitress of a local watering hole.
Ember Norton’s life has turned into one devastating catastrophe after another. When the scarred soldier with the kind eyes brings some security to her life, she’s afraid to trust her luck. She’s been self-sufficient for a long time. But his wounded soul calls to her and she finds herself falling for him. 
In spite of the secrets he continues to keep.

Amazon  ~  Barnes and Noble

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Recognizing Earth Weekend...with Sexy Vets

I'm participating in a blog-hop right now for Earth Weekend, and what better way to celebrate it than with e-books and gift cards for prizes??? No paper products! To join the hop, as a reader or an author, just click this link here.
While my books aren't exactly about recycling, they are about finding new life after the old one didn't work out. I write about Marines that have returned home, battle-damaged and heart-sore, that are forced to rebuild their lives when the military discharges them.

The prequel of the series, The Embattled Road, is free! If you click on this cover it will take you directly to Amazon.

Book 1 of the series is titled Embattled Hearts, about a wheelchair bound former Marine trying to save the woman he's falling in love with.  No, there's nothing in the book itself about recycling or being Earth conscious, but it is wonderful to watch John Palmer's transformation from hard-ass Marine to nice guy. Here's an excerpt.

John sat back in his chair, with a hand across his flat belly. “I can’t eat any more. That was wonderful.”
“I’m glad you liked it.”
“I mean every word of it. It’s better than anything I’ve ever had before.”
Shannon felt her brows lower skeptically. “Oh, please. I’m an okay cook, but certainly not fantastic.”
“After MREs, hospital food and take-out, believe me, this is ambrosia.”
Shannon tipped her head forward. “Well thank you very much for the compliment, John. It’s the least I could do.”
She took a piece of chicken over to the box in the corner and broke it into little pieces. One she gave to the mother, and the others to each of the kittens. John rolled over behind her, and peered down into the box. He scowled as he watched them spit and hiss at each other. “Why are they doing that?” he demanded.
Shannon smiled and separated two of the kittens. “Well, they haven’t been eating solid food very long, and they’re trying to establish a pecking order. They don’t usually hurt each other.”
She handed a small gray bundle of fur to John. “This is the runt of the litter, and I try to feed her a little more than the others.”
John held the kitten awkwardly in front of him. The young cat’s paws batted the air, looking for something to claw into.
“No, no, hold her against you, like this.”
She settled his hand against his chest and shaped his fingers around the little creature’s bottom. Shannon didn’t even realize how close she had moved to John until she looked up and found him staring at her. Hard. With those heavy black brows furrowed and his dark eyes full of burning emotion.
“Sorry,” she mumbled, and pulled away quickly. She snatched another kitten out of the box and tucked it under her chin.
John’s kitten started to purr.
“What’s it doing now?” he demanded.
Shannon laughed at the ferocious frown on his face. “Relax,” she told him gently, “she’s just purring. It means she’s comfortable and likes what you’re doing.”
John eased back in his chair and eyed the cat.
“Haven’t you ever had a cat?” she asked him curiously.
John’s face lost all expression, and a subtle tension eased into the air. “No, I haven’t. Animals weren’t allowed at the boy’s home where I grew up.”
“Oh.” Shannon felt like a heel as the revelation about his childhood settled into her. It explained so much of who he was.
“I didn’t mean to dig things up,” she told him finally.
John shrugged and stroked the kitten on the top of its head with a huge finger. “No big deal. You didn’t know.”
“So, have you ever had any pets?” she asked finally.
John shook his head. “None. There was a stray dog I used to toss scraps to outside my window at the orphanage, but he wasn’t around very long before the pound caught him.”
Shannon felt her eyes fill with helpless tears. How very sad. No animals in his life at all, and the one small contact he had destroyed by the dog catcher. She still had three horses at her parent’s house in Colorado Springs she needed to decide what to do with. She’d always had animals in her life. From hamsters and hermit crabs as a child to horses and cattle she showed in 4-H in her teenage years. Actually, she couldn’t remember ever not having an animal in her life.
John fondled the kitten around the ears, and the little animal purred just as loud as she could, her eyes slitted shut in rapture. Shannon knew she would do the same thing if John handled her that way too.
“She really likes you,” she told him softly.
John made a non-committal grunt, but he continued to run his big fingers gently over her coat.
“You know,” Shannon murmured, “I’m going to have to find homes for these before too long.”
John immediately held the kitten out to her. “No, thank you. You’ll find a better home for it than with me.”
Reluctantly, she took the dangling kitten from his hand. She wouldn’t push him on it. They wouldn’t be ready to wean for a couple of weeks yet, anyway. Setting the two gently in the box, she turned back to John.
And caught him as he glanced away from her ass.

Embattled Hearts is on sale now at all outlets. Here's the link for Amazon. 
I sincerely thank you for stopping and hope you enjoy the books!
One person who comments on my Earth Day blog will be chosen for a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card, plus there is the huge blog drawing you'll be entered for as well. And to recap the weekend, we're having a chat on Sunday at 7pm eastern time here. That's where all the drawings will occur, so you may want to check it out!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Lost and Found Series Progress and Appearances...

I'm working hard on the next Lost and Found book, titled Embattled Minds. This is Zeke's book, a secondary character that walked into John's story and left a heck of an impression on me. I knew as soon as I wrote him that Zeke was going to need his own story, and that it needed to take place soon.

Zeke's book should be ready by mid-May. I had hoped to get him done before I left for the RT Convention, but I don't think it's going to happen. Did you see the cover for the book yet??? Yummy...

I've got several digital and physical appearances coming up.

Today, actually, I'm at the For Love of Military Romance Blog, which I am a member of now. We have a lot of fantastic members and guests on the slate for appearances, so you should really check it out.

April 10th I'll be at Sizzling Hot Books blogging.

April 14th I'll be doing a live book club chat for my Decadent Publishing book Love on the Line. I'll be doing giveaways and I'm sure a free book or two will be thrown around.

April 13 I'll be at April Adele Book store and Cafe in Versailles signing A Needful Heart and Embattled Hearts.

April 30th to May 5th I'll be in Kansas City Missouri at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. I've gone for the past few years and I just love it! If you have a chance you really should try to go to it.

June 6th to the 9th I'll be in West Chester Ohio at the Lori Foster Reader and Author Get-together. Another fabulous conference that I've gone to for several years. Very reader focused, very fun!

If you have a conference or event you think I would enjoy, let me know! I tend to do things on the spur of the moment, so I could show up anywhere!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Embattled Hearts is LIVE!!!

For those of you that have been waiting, Embattled Hearts, John Palmer's story, is now LIVE on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashwords!

A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.

John Palmer hasn’t felt like a real man since he was injured during combat in Iraq. Though not content with his new life, he is mostly adapting, just like the other vets at the Lost ‘N’ Found Investigative Service. When Shannon Murphy is hired on as the new office manager, life suddenly gets a lot more interesting. Before long, John finds himself wondering if he could ever be the kind of man Shannon needs.
Shannon Murphy wasn’t really looking for love when she hired on at LNF, but finds herself hopelessly attracted to the sex-on-wheels former Marine, John Palmer. The man is grumpy and nearly impossible to work with, but his brand of masculinity appeals to her on a basic level. Soon Shannon is wondering just what it would take for John to want her the way she wants him.
When an old enemy tries to settle a vendetta against Shannon, John insists on protecting her. He moves into her house, fanning the spark of attraction into a blaze. But the danger continues to escalate. Will the connection that they’ve found survive when they’re thrust into a fight for their lives?


The Embattled Road is FREE right now on Amazon, for Valentine's Day Weekend. I've gotten phenomenal reviews for it, and really believe it's something everyone should read.

In the harrowing prequel to The Lost and Found series, three embattled Marines must deal with their devastating physical and emotional injuries in a world that seems to have turned against them.
When the rescue helicopter crashes into his convoy in Iraq, Marine First Sergeant Duncan Wilde struggles with the loss of men, his career and the use of his body. Things can't get much worse. Until his fiancée decides she has to move on with her life, and that of her unborn child by another man.
Sergeant Chad Lowell knew when he went to war that it would come with a price. And it did. A young Marine under his command is killed by a landmine. Chad's left with one less leg and a mountain of recriminations. That doesn't mean he wants to be a pitied by every female he comes in contact with.
Gunnery Sergeant John Palmer is furious at the hand he's been dealt. He's served his country faithfully, if not without antagonism, for many years. Now they're turning him out like a relative who has overstayed his welcome. And, since he's not even a real man anymore, maybe it is time to move on permanently.
Can these wounded warriors use a friendship borne out of adversity to form a partnership rescuing others? And can they find real love in spite of their challenges?