Thursday Round-up! Symphony Amore Out 9/19, Dark Rooms Giveaway, and More

Symphony Amore is out on Tuesday! Early reviewers are loving it (and so am I, now that I have my complete copy)! 

You can preorder from most major ebook retailers here. You can also check out an interview I did with our lovely editor, Jordan Monroe, here. She tried to get me to name a favorite piece of music, like that's a thing that happens. Pssh. You can also read what the rest of the authors in Symphony Amore had to say for themselves on Jordan's blog

If you want to help spread the word about Symphony Amore, you can sign up to support the Thunderclap campaign here.

I've teamed up with the Giveaway Guy to give readers a chance to win either a Kindle Fire, or a copy of Dark Rooms. Enter here for your chance to win!

It's been a bit of a whirlwind couple of weeks as I settle in to a new day job and adjust the rest of my life around my new schedule. But I'm enjoying the work, learning a lot, and loving (for now) dressing like a grown-up to go to work. Heels! Make-up! Not being covered in food bits by the end of the day! It's nice for my lazy femme soul. 

Lastly, a book I finally read after Tamsen Parker recommended it to me on multiple occassions. Dear heck, I LOVED this book. If you're into snarky subs and Doms who have an awful lot in common with Ron Swanson, get thee to the Subs Club. Like now. My husband kept looking at me like I'd finally lost my marbles, I was laughing so hard during certain scenes, but Rock also handles some of the very real issues the kink community faces with sensitivity and grace. I loved it.

Throwback Thursday!

Some of you may know that I majored (as much as one can major in anything where I went to school) in photography in college. I pulled on a lot of that experience when writing Aimee in Dark Rooms. That monologue about how much she loves being able to hide in the darkroom, the feels and the smells? Yeah, she and I have that in common.

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Once, at an old job, I was on a plant tour. This plant had a black-and-white darkroom set up to develop X-Rays for quality control purposes. I WENT IN THERE AND HUFFED THE SMELLS LIKE IT WAS MY JOB. I missed them. I still miss them. Digital photography and I are never going to be cozy bedfellows. There's nothing to touch. No scents. No humming color print machine or soft ticking of the timer switching off the exposure lamp. 

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Aimee is not me, and I am not Aimee. But it's funny the way life sneaks in. Or barges its way in until you're twelve pages down the rabbit hole of different methods of mixing film developing solution. And for you, dear readers, a glimpse at what I used to do. I'd get up on Friday morning (hungover, as often as not, let's be real) and trundle to the darkroom as soon as it opened so I could work blessedly alone with the sounds and smells. I could spend hours making tiny adjustments to get an image right. And sometimes, I'd make magic.

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Cover Reveal! Symphony Amore

I can't describe the feeling I get when a cover lands in my inbox. It's one of the things that makes publishing feel real. Contracts? Meh, signature on a (still VERY IMPORTANT) piece of paper. Countless emails with editors and drafts turned in? Sure, but that's process not product. The cover is the first thing that's a real...thing. That's shareable. So! Whee! I did a small "I am excite" dance at the day job yesterday when I got the message from my lovely editor, Jordan, with a cover, a RELEASE DATE, and PREORDER LINKS for Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music.

Have I ever told you guys about how I studied classical voice between the ages of about 12 and 22? Well, in case you missed it, I did. True fact: one of my greatest accomplishments in life remains being complimented by Allen Shawn (brother of Wallace) on my performance of an aria. Like, I died of happiness at the top of the steps of the Carriage Barn. I don't even remember which aria it was, but I remember how that felt. 

So! When I saw a call for stories featuring musicians, heck to the yes I wrote one, and now you get to read it as part of this collection. "Etudes" is the story of Esther and Natalie, a composition grad student and a pianist who fall in lust/love over Liszt and poetry. And yes, I LOVED writing an F/F story (in spite of the endless struggle with pronouns and antecedents) and intend to write more queer ladies in love. ❤ 

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Symphony Amore will be out on September 19 and is available for preorder (ebook only, at the moment, but it will be in print!) at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

Official Blurb:

From deep DJ beats and dimly lit bars to sensual solos and classical crescendos, Symphony Amore introduces you to a dazzling range of musical performances.

In this collection of nine stories, there is a broad spectrum of musicians from all sections of the orchestra and beyond. Immerse yourself in tale of conductors and concert-goers, romantic encounters and hard-hitting BDSM play, and embrace the diverse cast that you'll meet.

Music truly is the universal language and these stories by Rosalía Zizzo, Charlotte French, Rebecca Chase, Genevive Chamblee, Jordan Monroe, Laura Callender, Sionna Fox, Elizabeth Coldwell, and Nanisi Barrett D’Arnuk will give you hours of reading pleasure.

Giveaway, Link Roundup, and Upcoming Events!

I'm writing from my front porch, letting the dog soak up the sunshine on an absurdly perfect late summer day in New England, while I, on the other hand, am nursing a hell-beast of a summer cold. Whee! How's everyone else's last full week of August going? (Yikes, PS)

First things first. If you haven't read Dark Rooms yet, you can enter to WIN a copy, along with 29 other erotic romances from authors like Shayla Black, Skye Warren, and Jennifer Probst, and a Kindle Fire to read them on. Get clickin' to enter!

 

Dark Rooms continues to get review love! I am so grateful to every last blogger who has agreed to read and review. Having attempted to do even short reviews myself, holy cow, it's a lot of work. I have enormous respect for the people who do it, mostly for free, because they love books. ALL THE LOVE TO THEM.

A roundup:

Behind Closed Door Book Reviews gave Wes and Aimee 4/5 smooches and calls Dark Rooms "A fun read and a definite add to your TBR list!"

Celia Breslin says it's "a fun, kinky, sexy fast read, and a 'yes' for your TBR..." 

Alpha Book Club gives 4/5 stars and says "Dark Rooms was a hot 4 star read." Also shout-out to Hank and Ed and the running the Princess Bride jokes. Yes, I went there.

Vampbard at Twimom227 gives it B and says it's a "short, spicy romp."

And the Romantic Fanatic Book Blog says "The chemistry and relationship between Wes and Aimee is steamy and hot with drama and angst."

BONUS ROUND! Another interview in which I chat about the process of turning the voices in my head into books. 

If you're in the New England area (or you want an excuse to be!) I'll be attending the Fall in Love with New England conference in Manchester, NH October 13-14. I won't be there officially as an author, but TONS of other cool people will, with lots of good times and swag to be had. Come hang out with us!

Lastly, a shout-out to two books that are kicking me out of my reading slump. First, the Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. Hooooooly crap, you guys, it's so good. It's a master class in world-building and not having a single detail that doesn't matter to the story, all while keeping the plot moving. There is a reason the first two books in the series have each won a Hugo. Even fighting the hell-plague that currently has me stopping to cough every two minutes, I couldn't put it down. 

AND The Duchess Deal, Tessa Dare's newest. It's...Tessa Dare's books are like a cozy blanket of sass and sexiness. They're a soft place to land. The hero uses the words "unicorn vomit" to describe a dress. I don't read a ton of historicals, but I will put everything else down when a new Tessa Dare comes out. It's like comfort food that's also good for you because they're full of hope and wit and light after darkness. Just...just go read it. I'm going to crawl back into my blanket fort and do the same.

 

 

Thoughts, Links, and Other Stuff

I've written and deleted about twelve versions of this week's post. So that's how my day is going. To that end, wanna see a couple links about re-imagining your dreams and rethinking what "productivity" means (and tools to help with that!)? 

Sure you do!

I've been thinking a lot about what comes next for getting books out into the world, and this post was a well-timed kick in the pants. While the playing field is by no means level, self-publishing is not a last resort. It's a business decision with advantages and drawbacks like any other. I think a lot of us, myself include, had or have illusions about what it means to be published by one of the "Big Five." But dreams of large marketing budgets and advertising support breaking your book onto bestseller lists can come right along with unmanageable deadlines and limited control over the finished product. Sometimes the meeting of our dreams and reality forces us to make a choice, to hone down what that dream is. Do I dream of readers connecting with my books or do I dream of getting invited to swanky publisher parties at conferences? 

For me, what that meant was an opportunity to really dismantle some of the pre-conceived notions I had about publishing and to instead think about what I wanted my creative writing life to look like. Right now, in this exact season of my life.
— Jess Vonn

(Full disclosure: Jess was one of the first friends I made at NECRWA and I am SO excited to read her books.)

I know I'm not the only one who's been feeling, shall we say, overwhelmed lately. Overwhelm is my goddamn nemesis, emotional or task-based. I've never been officially diagnosed as ADHD/ADD, but there is a lot of overlap between that and how anxiety manifests for me, and a lot of coping strategies recommended to those with ADD resonate with me. So I really appreciated this article that broke down a number of apps and strategies the author has found helpful and also some thoughts on reframing our notion of structure and productivity.

I think reframing these words can be really helpful for folks with ADHD. Rather than creating structures that serve the work (i.e. I have to work quickly to please my boss), it’s better to create structures that serve us (i.e. I want to feel effective and meet my personal goals). Paradoxically, when we set goals that serve us rather than the work, we’re usually better at getting the work done anyway. Who would’ve thought? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
— Sam Dylan Finch

Isn't that a refreshing thought? To have your "productivity" serve you rather than you being a slave to "productivity?" Also will be bookmarking Unstuck. Procrastination with a purpose is like my catnip.

Time for a gratuitous dog pic. Lookit how cute he is! 

Other stuff!

Sunday, check out That's What I'm Talking About for an exclusive Sunday Snippet excerpt from Dark Rooms.

AND 

Stay tuned in the usual places for more details next week, but you'll have a chance to WIN 30 erotic romances, including Dark Rooms, and books from authors like Shayla Black, Jennifer Probst, and Skye Warren. Plus the grand prize is a brand-spankin' (heh, see what I did there) new Kindle Fire. Contest runs August 21-28, links to enter will be posted on Monday!