Can we chat?

14183769_10154105636729145_3475893206531129845_nSo this is how it works.

I finish writing a book. I have about two minutes of absolute euphoria, and then reality hits.

This wonderful story, the one I’ve just dedicated my life to writing, the one that has wrung every emotion from my heart, now must be shared with the world, which means I need to work on the dreaded P word: promotion.

If you ever become exasperated, feeling you’ve seen the same post over and over or perhaps different posts about the same book . . . trust me, we authors feel the same way about promoting. It’s not our favorite part of being an author.

In my perfect world, I’d finish writing my book and then sit down with a group of my favor readers to chat with them about it. We’d get lost in characters and plot lines and so on . . . and at the end of our lovely tea, they’d go out and tell their friends about the book, who would in turn tell their friends . . . well, you get the gist.

Meanwhile, I’d sit back and work on the next book.

Now, though, my chatting takes place on social media. When I post a picture or a link, it’s my only way of telling people when to expect the next book. Live events are lovely and give me a chance to talk to readers in person, but there’s a limit to how many of them I can do. And so the internet it is.

Of course, I’m very lucky that I have my dear Temptresses with whom to speak. They let me go on and on about characters and stories, and I’m grateful. (If you enjoy my books and want to join us on the Temptress group, go here.) If only we could mystically meet up each time I finish a book and talk it out in person! They’re also awesome about sharing and twisting friends’ arms to get them to read my books . . . I adore their enthusiasm. It’s what keeps me writing.

Regardless of the opportunities offered on the web, nothing beats word of mouth when it comes to books. You telling a friend about a story that captivate you is more effective than fifty Facebook ads. Sharing your favorite reads is so important!

Well . . . since it seems no one is going to come bring me tea and chat about Days of You and Me just now, I guess you’ll keep seeing the pictures, the promos and the posts. If you feel spunky, shares are always appreciated, as are posts and tweets and emails . . . whatever does the trick.

That’s part of this author’s life.

Endings are hard. And I don’t like them.

STORIES

It’s late, I’m bleary-eyed and exhausted, but I felt compelled to write this tonight, when it’s still August 27th in some time zones.

One month from today, on September 27th, Days of You and Me, the third and final book in the Keeping Score Trilogy, will release. The book is finished, has been beta’d and is going through its final stages (fun stuff like dedication, acknowledgements and last minute-tweaks) before it heads off to formatting.

Like a mom reluctant to let go of her final baby as he heads off to college, I find that I’m perhaps dragging my feet a bit. Could I add more here? Explain more here? Elaborate more there? To be completely honest–and I’m too tired to be anything else just now–this book is probably the best-constructed one I’ve ever written. Usually in the weeks after I finish a story, I’m thinking of things I wished I’d added, even if they’re not always in the best interest of the plot. But with Days of You and Me, I’m not doing that. I feel that I’ve given everything to this one.

But I’m still not ready to let it go.

I’ve finished a series before. I remember when I sent off Endless, the final book in The King Quartet, my daughter asked if I were sad to see it end. I answered, “No! I’m done with them. I’ve written everything I have to say about this group of characters.”

(Incidentally, I was wrong, as Tasmyn, Michael and company will be back next April in Age of Aquarius. Stay tuned.)

Since that day, I’ve finished trilogies, but usually, I end up writing more in the same world. The One Trilogy continued in the Always Love books. Neither the Perfect Dish Romances or The Crystal Cove Romances have come to a conclusion yet.

Hmmm. Maybe I don’t like endings.

The Keeping Score Trilogy is different than anything I’ve ever written, and as such, it is precious to me. This story began to take root in my mind back in 2009, although it didn’t hit paper until November of 2010. Back then, it wasn’t what it is now. The characters had different names, and it was intended to be one book. But over the years, as I thought about it, the true plot began to emerge, and Leo, Quinn and Nate came to life in a way I’d never expected. They’ve become more than just characters.

These three have been with me for nearly seven years. They are dear to me. And ending their story was hard. It made me cry, like, a lot. More than I cried writing Joss’s scene in Undeniable. (No spoilers, but yeah, I cried.) See the graphic above: as the Prophet Chuck says, Endings are hard.

Yup. It’s official. I really don’t like endings.

But I’m proud of this book and of this trilogy. It is completely what it was always meant to be: the story of three people, three flawed, normal people, who encountered more than their share of life’s pain and challenges. Or maybe it wasn’t more than their share; perhaps they paid for later happiness with their early heartache. They were friends from birth, and between Leo and Nate, there was always Quinn, who was called on to make hard choices that very nearly broke her heart.

My beta readers have been sending me messages like . . .

OMG, thank you for sharing this with us. Thank you for letting me beta read for you. You are such a wonderful story teller. I admit I cried in a few places. 

How am I supposed to beta read if I keep tearing up?

I absolutely loved the book.  There are no other words to describe it than a perfect ending to an amazing love story.

I haven’t had a book make me cry in a really long time, and this one got me 3 times.

So much emotion reading this one. Today at work everyone kept asking me if I was okay my eyes were so swollen from crying.

Gah… I’m crying again. You’re killing me, Smalls… In a fantastic way.

I started reading slower and slower as I felt I was nearing the end, because I wasn’t ready to let go of Mia and Leo. And the epilogue…. What was the line in Steel Magnolias? Something along the line of “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” My reaction through the epilogue was just like my reaction to M’lynn during the cemetery scene in Steel Magnolias….crying so hard I could barely see, laughter, more tears. Tears of happiness, tears of tenderness, and I’m sad to see the end of the trilogy but looking forward to the spinoffs.

Hey, at least I’m not crying alone. No doubt - endings are hard. But then again... nothing ever really ends, does it-

PS: No, nothing really ends. There will be three spin-offs of this trilogy, three Keeping Score Romances. The first chapters of two of the three are included in DOYAM. 🙂

PPS: Days of You and Me is available for exclusive preorder on iBooks. You can also get a sneak peek chapter there. Check it out on iBooks’ very cool promotion, sitting pretty as the very first book in the same row with, oh, you know . . . Roxanne St. Clair. JD Robb. Susan Mallery. Whatever.

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July Multi-Author Giveaway!

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Welcome to the 4th of July Summer of Reading Giveaway!

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Want to win a $150 Amazon Gift Card? Follow the authors in the rafflecopter below for a chance. Open WW 18+ Ends July 20, 2016 @ 11:59 PM EST

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One Week Until Hanging By A Moment Releases!

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One week!

Seven days!

168 hours!

Yes, I’m literally

HANGING BY A MOMENT

waiting for this release.

Book 2 of the Keeping Score Trilogy

comes out May 24th,

and I can’t wait.

 Amazon/iBooks/Google/Nook/Kobo

So since it’s #TeaserTuesday, I thought I’d give you a little sneak peek.

Young sensual couple during romantic evening

“Babe, you awake?” Leo’s voice was low and husky, murmuring against my ear.

I snuggled a little closer to him. “Mmmmm. Kind of.” My bedroom was dark except for the faint glow of the streetlight just outside. Tonight, for the first time all week, I hadn’t dropped right off to sleep after I’d laid my head on Leo’s broad chest.

“I talked to my mom a little bit tonight before they all left.” His fingers moved in small circles on my upper arm. “She didn’t push, but she suggested I give you and your mother some space tomorrow.   She said you two need to talk about some stuff and make decisions.”

Panic welled up inside me, and it was on the tip of my tongue to argue. But I knew deep down that Leo couldn’t stay glued to my side forever. We both had to figure out what was going to come next for us, just like my mom and I had to do the same.

“Yeah.” I swallowed hard. “She’s probably right.” I turned a little, resting my chin on Leo’s sternum, staring up into his face. “But don’t go far, okay? I’m not sure I’m ready to go cold turkey on my Leo addiction.”

He brushed his hand over my hair. “If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll sit in the car outside, just in case you need me.”

I sniffed. “You don’t have to do that. Maybe after breakfast, you could just go home for a little bit.”

“That works.” He crunched up, bending so that his lips could reach the top of my head. “Hey, Mia? We haven’t really talked about anything serious yet. I mean, about us. But I wanted to say this now, before anything goes any further.”

Trepidation gripped my gut. “I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with this.”

“Babe, no.” Leo slid me off him, rolling to lay on his side so that our faces were close together. “Nothing bad. I just wanted to say . . . I love you, Mia. I didn’t say it to you last week. I hoped you understood it, but I thought I better be clear. I love you. I loved you before, and I never stopped.”

I traced his jaw with one finger. “I love you, too, Leo. Still. Always. Forever.”

He released a breath as though he’d been holding it. “Okay. Good.”

I frowned. “Did you doubt that I did? That I do?”

“No, not really.” He nuzzled my neck. “But I wasn’t sure if you were ready to deal with me again. I know you needed me this week, but I was afraid once things started to settle down, you’d think that maybe I wasn’t worth the effort.”

Following my finger with my lips, I kissed his chin. “You’re worth everything, Leo. And I hate that it took my dad—what happened, I mean, to get us back together, but I’m not going to have any regrets anymore. Loving you is part of me, and so are you. I wouldn’t have made it through this week without you.” I paused, enjoying the feel of the late-night scruff on his neck. “That first day, before you got here, I wanted to die, too. It hurt so bad, and I felt like nothing was ever going to be right again. But then you came to me, and I’ll never forget that you were here for me.”

“I always will be.” He tipped up my chin and kissed my lips, softly. “Nothing in my life works without you.”

Want MORE? You can read a sample chapter here . . .

And if you preorder, the full book will show up magically in your ereader next week!

Amazon/iBooks/Google/Nook/Kobo

If you haven’t read WHEN WE WERE US yet, grab it now so you’re ready for next week!

iBooks/Amazon/Nook/Kobo/Google Play/Goodreads

When We Were Us

Hanging By A Moment Tease and Giveaway!

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HANGING BY A MOMENT

releases on May 24th!

Are you ready for the next chapter in

Leo, Quinn and Nate’s story?

If you want a sneak peek–just a little taste!–a sample chapter is here for you to read.

And don’t forget to preorder your copy from Amazon/iBooks/Google/Nook/Kobo.

When We Were Us

 

 

 

Have you read WHEN WE WERE US yet? If you did, I’d love for you to review it! You can leave your review on iBooks/Amazon/Nook/Kobo/Google Play/Goodreads.

 

 

 

And last but certainly not least . . . we have a fun giveaway going on through release day.

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