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!

Links, Reader Hangouts, and Books I'm Loving: A Roundup

Real talk, friends, I'm trying to do this blogging thing on the regular. I mean, I talk a lot, so maybe I can put some of that chatter into a post. Also, blogging is a good distraction from staring down a possible nuclear apocalypse started by two megalomaniacs with itchy fingers. RIGHT? Also, I'm totally supposed to be cleaning my house right now...

Dark Rooms News!

Dark Rooms got its first review this week! The Romance Reviews gave it five stars, making it a recommended read in erotic romance! You can read the whole thing here: http://bit.ly/2hGcuih

Truly, the thing that tickled me most is that the reviewer noted the first negotiation scene and called it "a dream." That stuff is super important to me and to have someone recognize what I was trying to do is...yes. (Evergreen reminder that romance novels are not instructional manuals and even though I'm proud of that scene it is still VERY abbreviated from a what a real-life negotiation with someone you just met would/should look like. *Gets down from soapbox.*)

You can also check out an interview I did with Romantic Reviews here. I got to babble about my lack of a writing process and (some of) the authors who shaped my baby romance writing brain. Also I mention the importance of community for the zillionth time which leads me to...

SBTB Reader Meet-Up

 Pic borrowed from  here .

Pic borrowed from here.

Reader, reviewer, word nerd, and friend, Suzanne, graciously hosted a Smart Bitches meet-up at her house on Saturday night and it was DELIGHTFUL. It did not hurt one bit that her adorable children insisted on making me birthday cake and singing to me on arrival. Also we inducted my BFF into Romancelandia with drinks, snacks, and conversation that ranged from books to politics to corgis chasing laser pointers and back to books. It's amazing how even for an avowed introvert, hanging with your people can make you temporarily feel like you understand how extroverts derive energy from social interaction. Weird, but true. 

And speaking of community and your people...

A thing I am loving right now is HBIC Nation's Post-Con Workbook. I am god-awful at anything resembling goal-setting, but I found this guided note-taking approach helpful. Less, "where do you see yourself in five years" and more, "remember to pack fresh eye makeup remover next time and spring for the recordings so you don't have so much FOMO angst choosing sessions." And yes, what are you working on in the next six months. Manageable time frames. And hey, I'm sitting here blogging which was one of my goals.

AND LASTLY. What am I reading right now?

We had an interesting discussion on Saturday night about the difficulties of reviewing anthologies specifically, and more generally, the way stories work for some people and not others based on preferences, lived experiences, social and cultural stuff, etc. That discussion was kicked off in part by Rogue Desire. 

I haven't finished it yet (I used to be a super-fast reader, but now I am SO SLOW), but so far, it's SO GOOD. I haven't been head over heels in love with every story, but none of them is dragging down the collection, either. The ebook price is a total steal for eight stories, and the paperback isn't cheap, but it is hefty. And if you can't get enough resistance romance, Rogue Affair comes out November 8 and is available for preorder now.

 

Dark Rooms is OUT NOW! And I have conference brain!

Uhhh....welcome back, y'all! Dark Rooms dropped into the world in the middle of RWA17 and my brain feels broken open but I'm also still so tired because so many people and my lovely editors would shoot me for this run-on sentence but hey, it's in my voice, right? And that's why you're here, right? 

Whew. If I ever attempt to manage both a new release and a major conference in the same week ever again, someone please tell me to sit down, shut up, and hire an assistant for that week. Because unless it's self-published, we don't have a whole lot of say in when our books go out into the world.

SO! Dark Rooms! My babies! In the world! The first chapter is currently FREE on Instafreebie, if you want to check it out. It will stay that way through the month of August. Buy links are up for major retailers over here. (Except Google Play, sorry people like me who use that platform. You can buy the epub and upload it!) 

Wes is probably my favorite hero I've written so far. He came from my brain, but I love him? Is that weird? Do I care? He's just so...good. A dirty, kinky sex-having sweet guy. He'll tie you up and give you good girl spankings, then spoon you after. (Psst! Tops need aftercare, too!)

Aimee is a mess who thinks she has her shit together. Not that I'm familiar with that feeling AT ALL. (Side-eyes self.) The iron grip she keeps on her life is going to get tested, and how. 

DARK ROOMS IS ON TOUR!

Throughout August, Dark Rooms and I will be popping up with guest blogs, author interviews, and sneak peeks. Last week, I wrote about how erotic romance can help us understand our fantasies, on the page and in real life. Go here to check it out.

Today, I attempted to answer the question of whether kink has truly entered the mainstream. Have a look and tell me what you think.

Stay tuned on Twitter and Facebook for more!

OTHER STUFF THAT HAPPENED!

 We even kind of matched! We were bummed Kerry Adrienne couldn't be there, though.

We even kind of matched! We were bummed Kerry Adrienne couldn't be there, though.

I got to hang out with my Mated co-author, Shari Mikels at our very first book signing at RWA17! It was super awesome for us both to share that first, and we came home with plenty of print copies to spare. That means giveaways. Stay tuned, friends.

AND Mated was selected by Harlequin to go to their Direct-to-Consumer print program starting in December! That means you'll be able to order a print copy from Harlequin, as well as places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

RWA17 

RWA17 was an amazing time that I'm still trying to process. I took lots of notes, hung out with friends old and new, and even did a brief stint by the pool. I didn't expect to be the sort of person who actually enjoys going to conferences, (Hermits unite!) but there is something to be said for the energy of being in a hotel with 2,000 people who get it, who love the same things you love. There is also something to be said for friends who say yes to skipping that party and hanging out in your hotel room in your pjs instead. Cry-laughing until your stomach hurts is a GOOD. THING. And I will never think about dolphins the same way again.

The friends I've made, and the community I've found, since joining Romancelandia and RWA (shout-out to NECRWA and Passionate Ink!), have been the white chocolate cream cheese frosting on the cake of being a romance writer. Find your people, folks. Find them and hold on tight.

So Much News!

Dark Rooms is off to the copy editor, and will be on its way to you in FOUR WEEKS. Phew! Also if you haven't seen this cover? *Pets abs, fans self.*

But seriously, this story is near and dear to my heart. Wes is adorable, Aimee is bad at feelings...They're a mess. And I love them. That's totally the official blurb, too. (It is not.)

OTHER FUN STUFF!

If you're in the greater Boston/southern New Hampshire/southern Maine type area, you can catch me doing my very first reading on July 13! The event is FREE, but space is limited. Get there early for snacks, wine, and red-faced me trying to figure out what excerpt I can read in front of my mother. 

On July 19, join me and a whole bunch of Boroughs Publishing authors for Christmas in July! All day, authors will be taking over the Boroughs Facebook page with sneak peeks, giveaways, and other fun stuff. I'll be there from 11:00 - 11:30 am. Shenanigans TBD.

And finally, if you're at the RWA annual conference in Orlando, I'll be at the Harlequin signing event on July 28 from 8:30 - 9:30am. Bonus? They're doing a special print run for digital authors, so I'll have actual books to sign! 

OH! AND! We just found out the the Mated anthology has been selected from Harlequin's direct-to-consumer print program starting in December. What the hell does that mean? It means you'll be able to order the anthology IN PRINT from Harlequin and select other online retailers, like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. More details to come, but SO EXCITING.

Stay tuned for more updates like pre-order links for Dark Rooms, Christmas in July shenanigans, details on the Harlequin signing, and other upcoming releases. (You heard me.)