I’m in the middle of edits for the second book in the More Than story, More Than Lovers. We’ve passed the hurdle of all the major edits, and now we’re just waiting to hear back from the line editor.The edits came through at a very apt time, seeing as I’m hard at work finishing the third book, More Than Words.
Since I have the More Than series front and foremost on my mind, I thought I’d post excerpts from the books over the next three days.
So let’s start at the beginning, with More Than Friends, which is currently all wrapped up and awaiting release on the 28th of May.
MORE THAN FRIENDS: The blurb
He was her best friend…until he became her fantasy.
A More Than story.
Lucy Lawson’s got it bad. Bad as in stunned speechless by the situation she’s in, by the feelings sitting on her chest, ready to explode. She’s in love…with her best friend.
Problem is, telling Sebastian Blackford could destroy the best thing in her life, but the longer she keeps her feelings under wraps, the stronger the need to spill her secret.
The last thing Seb suspects is that his best mate is madly, wildly in love with him, or that he’s the star of her seriously dirty fantasies. Worse, he’s just started seeing someone he’d like to see again—and Lucy knows it.
So why does her confession hit him like a runaway train? And why can’t he get her explicit description of her fantasies out of his mind? They’ve never been more than friends, but now that he knows how Lucy feels, everything is out of whack.
Seb figures it’s up to him to get their relationship back on track. He’ll do it too, just as soon as he establishes which track is the right one.
Warnings: After reading this, you may just be tempted to jump your best friend. It’s recommended you keep your partner on speed dial or a toy with fresh batteries on standby.
MORE THAN FRIENDS: An Excerpt
“You’re worried about how I might behave tomorrow? How I might distance myself from you? I’m trying to focus on taking one breath after the next so I don’t roll up in a ball and die from your rejection. Trying my hardest just to deal with you standing here, so close I can touch you.” She took a shuddery breath. “So close it…it hurts not to touch you.”
She grabbed two handfuls of her lustrous curls and tugged on them, her white knuckles making her frustration that much more obvious. “It’s ripping my heart out. You’re ripping my heart out. Playing hell with my sense of self-preservation and self-worth. All I wanna do is throw myself into your arms and kiss you for the next year. Rip off your shirt and your pants, and fuck you like there’s no tomorrow, and all you wanna do is…is have a heart-to-heart. Work out the finer details of how we can still be friends.”
She grabbed the last remaining bag and marched out of the kitchen, yelling over her shoulder. “Don’t you get it?” Her voice grew even louder—and wobblier—as though she fought back either tears or fury. “I need you to get out of my place so I can breathe again, so I can find my balance. I don’t need you worrying about how I might act tomorrow.”
And with that she disappeared down the passage and into her bathroom.
He should go, should respect her wishes and leave her in peace. But Seb was too damned selfish to do that. Too damned concerned he’d lose her forever if he did, so he went after her, yelling, just like she had.
“No. It’s not okay. I know you too well. If I leave now, if I leave you to nurse your wounds alone, I’ll never hear from you again. I’ll be another guy you don’t talk to. Another loose end you tie up by ignoring me.”
He marched into the bathroom after her, found her slamming toiletries into the cabinet over the basin. Dove soap, Colgate toothpaste, Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner. “I’m right, aren’t I? That’s how you intend on getting through this. By pretending I don’t exist.”
She didn’t turn around, didn’t modulate her tone. She just kept yelling. “I’ll deal with it however I need to. And right now that means you leaving me the hell alone.”
Seb was having none of it. He wasn’t going anywhere, and he wasn’t leaving her the hell alone. Instead he got in her face. Grabbed her by the shoulders and squeezed between her and the vanity, holding her still and forcing her to look at him.
She struggled to free herself, so he just held her tighter, pulling her closer, immobilizing her against his body.
“I won’t do that. And I won’t let you ignore me. I won’t let you pretend I don’t exist. I’m not one of them. Not an ex you can cut out and never think about again. No matter how unnecessarily embarrassed you might be now, you’re my friend, my mate, and I refuse to let your feelings for me come between us. Refuse to let you go because this is all making you feel a little awkward. We’re better than that. We’re stronger than that. Whatever’s going on, we can get through it together.”
“Get through it?” Rage blazed in her eyes. As did shame. “Get through it? Jesus, Seb. I masturbated in that very bath.” She jerked her head to the side, indicating the tub. “Fucked myself and fantasized it was you fucking me, and you want us to get through it? I don’t think so. I think I’m way past that point.”
Seb couldn’t help himself. He looked at the tub. And just like that, he was hard again. Painfully hard.
As fast as his head filled with images of a naked Lucy, lying in her bath, immersed in water with her hand buried between her legs, so blood filled his cock.
(As posted on the International Heat Blog)
A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from a reader and friend, who told me she’d just downloaded a copy of Ask Adam from Kindle and read the book. While she enjoyed the story, she found herself getting endlessly frustrated by all the “3/4″ interspersed in the book.
Now this should sound like a ridiculous comment to make, but she wasn’t the first reader to make it.
Several readers have mentioned the same problem with the Kindle version of the book. It’s full of 3/4s. The first time someone complained, I contacted Samhain to report the problem, and they confidently replied that it was just a problem with the reader’s version of Kindle. They were convinced they had an old version, and it was messing with the software and formatting of the document.
I left it at that, and gave the same answer to everyone who complained. But, a little while back, I bought the book on Kindle myself, and when I uploaded it onto my iPad, with all the newest Kindle software, I was faced with the same problem. Everywhere I’d inserted a hyphen in the book, Kindle had turned it into a 3/4 symbol. After the last letter from my reader friend, I emailed my editor. She downloaded the book, and strangely enough, found that wherever there should have been a hyphen, there was nothing. Not even a space between words.
So once again, the problem was reported back to Samhain. And this time, I’m happy to report, that instead of blaming the software, they agreed to reformat the book. My editor and I spent some time finding every single 3/4 or missing hyphen, and now Ask Adam is back in the hands of the Samhain file formatting genius, Jacob. Hopefully, the next time anyone opens a copy of the book in Kindle, it’ll be free of funny symbols or missing hyphens.
If you were one of those who found those funny symbols in your book, I apologize. If you’re someone who is considering buying the book soon, please, wait about a week, just time enough for the new version to be uploaded to Kindle.
If you’ve never heard of Ask Adam, here’s a reminder…
ASK ADAM – The Blurb
Can one wild night of passion turn into the romance of a lifetime?
Lexi Tanner’s got a major problem: AJ Riley, the man she’s about to approach for a hefty donation, turns out to be the stranger she shared a night of steamy sex with less than a week past. She’ll do anything to raise money for a children’s charity—anything except sell herself. Now how can she ask AJ for money without it seeming like he’s paying for sexual favors?
If there’s one thing the past has taught Adam “AJ” Riley, it’s that loving someone can only lead to pain. He knows he shouldn’t feel so attracted to Lexi, and he definitely shouldn’t trust a woman who’d sleep with a man one week and approach him for money the next. Yet somehow Lexi breaks through all his barriers. His instincts tell him to run but his heart wants to give Lexi—and love—a second chance. How can he let go of his tragic past and still protect his battered heart?
Warning: Warning, this title contains the following: steamy sex, graphic language and red-hot romance.
(Just remember, if you’re downloading the .mobi or .prc copy…wait a week!)
It’s been a marathon few weeks for me edit-wise. I have two books coming out soonish, one in May, one in July, and the books have been edited back to back. (Usually I have a couple months break between edits at least.)
Now please don’t think edits only involve the books. They don’t. There’s also the little matter of writing and editing the blurbs, the taglines and the warnings as well. Yeah, I know. They seem soooo simple. But seriously? They’re not. Tricky little devils those blurbs. There’s so little space to write so much AND capture the reader’s attention, it’s quite an art. (One I haven’t quite mastered.) Fortunately, we have a blurb editor at Samhain to help us along the way.
I’d thought the blurb for my May release, Office Affair, was all done and finished, but edits on the book changed the story a little, so the blurb had to be redone. As did the tagline. Just as I finished the second round for that blurb, so I had to focus on the blurb for my July release, Colors of Love (Speed, Book 2).
Now I have two sparkly new blurbs to show for my two sparkly new books. Well, actually, only one book’s all sparkly at the moment. The other is still mid-edit.
Don’t get me wrong. I know I sound like I’m complaining, but really, I’m not. I love the editing process. I love that opportunity to take a book that’s good enough and make it shine. And time and again, I am stunned by my editor’s incredible insights and suggestions. She’ll look at my story and just magically know what to do to make it better.
Why am I going on about this now? Because *Ahem* I shouldn’t be here blogging. I’m on deadline. I have to get the edits for Colors of Love back to my editor tonight. So really, it’s all I can think about.Which prompts me to finish off this blog, and open up that Word document once again.
I’ll leave you with my two sparkling new blurbs. (Coz yeah. I wanna show them off.)
OFFICE AFFAIR: The Blurb
All work and no play? Not for this girl. Not anymore.
Melissa Sparks has had enough. Enough of being the high achiever, enough of ignoring her social life in favor of her job and enough of being lonely. Just this once she wants a change. Something different. Something that looks very much like her business associate, Ben Cowley.
Ben Cowley is all alone in the deserted offices of Preston Elks. He’s gorgeous, he’s single and he’s been her secret fantasy for the last two years. It’s a split-second decision, but there’s no going back.
When Ben looks up from his desk, the last thing he expects to see is his too-serious, straight-laced colleague stripping naked. It’s been a year since his last relationship ended, and though he’s still picking up the pieces, Melissa throws his carefully balanced world off its axis. So does her offer: a brief affair, no strings attached.
Right about the time he realizes a simple affair will never be enough, she’s back in professional mode—and clearly as distant as ever. Now it’s up to him to show her that what they have is no fluke…and he’ll do whatever it takes to convince her. Even if it means inviting another man into their bed.
Warning: This book contains a man haunted by his past decisions, a woman determined to succeed, sex hot enough to steam up every office window on the block, and a voyeur who gets off watching those windows steam up.
(Office Affair releases May 1st at Samhain)
COLORS OF LOVE: The Blurb
Their true colors are hidden…until one woman turns everything upside down.
Speed, Book 2
Seth Pace, guitarist of the rock band Speed, is a born dreamer, and nothing stands in his way of making those dreams a reality. Except when it comes to band manager Luke Struthers. He’s everything Seth wants in a partner, but even after five years of perfectly explosive sex, Luke refuses to commit.
After a childhood ravaged by abuse, Luke knows he’s a potential danger to anyone foolish enough to love him. Seth is safer without him, but Luke has no idea how to cut him loose painlessly. Until he spots Seth’s kind of woman—pretty, smart, friendly. The plan: seduce her into a sexy threesome, then leave the two alone to fall in love. Problem solved.
A night of excitement with the two hottest men on the planet? Yeah, baby! Yet Kaz’s inborn ability to read auras tells her something isn’t right. It’s obvious Seth and Luke are madly in love, but subtle clues in Luke’s aura signal he’s up to something. She’s not sure what, but if she doesn’t do something quick, the two men she’s quickly come to adore will wind up without the happily ever after they both deserve.
Warning: One man + one man + one woman = a whole lot of steamy two-way and three-way M/M & M/M/F sex, a hero or two to drool over, and a heroine who recognizes true love when she sees it.
Colors of Love releases of the 24th of July at Samhain)
I’m stunned. On Tuesday I finally completed Full House – the third and final novella in the Three of A Kind Series – and submitted it to my editor, Jennifer Miller.
(Yep, lots of rewrites on that one. With thanx to Viv Arend, Fedora Chen and Valerie Tibbs for their invaluable help in slamming the book into shape.)
Today, a mere three days later, not only did I hear back from Jennifer about the novella, but she sent through the first round of edits.
OMG! I think that has got to be the fastest turn around time – ever.
So this weekend, instead of luxuriating in the relaxation of school holidays and a long weekend, it’s time to tuck into to edits.
Am I upset?
I’d been just a little terrified Jennifer wouldn’t love the book. Having the first round of edits is a wonder indeed.
So want to know what the book’s all about? Well, I’m only to happy to share the very rough draft of the blurb with you. (Just so long as you realize this is gonna change.) Oh, and be sure to check out the warning. I think it sums up the book even better than the blurb.
Full House: The Blurb
A full house beats a pair any day.
It’s been six weeks since Trev Greenfield’s casual lover, Max Ashberg left on his business trip. In that time Trev’s realized two things: he’s crazy, head-over-heels in love with Max, and he’s falling, head-first, for his new housemate, Grace Miles.
Max never expected to miss Trev quite as much as he does. Nor did he expect to develop such strong feelings for the other man. Now all he needs to do is convince Trev they’d make a top pair. Max knows Trev’s looking for a housemate, and he’s about to suggest a perfect candidate: himself. But his plans are shattered when he discovers a woman—with the face of an angel—living in the room he’d tagged as his own.
Grace never meant to fall for her new housemate, but the chemistry between them is too powerful to ignore. And when the chemistry turns to live electricity in the midst of a power failure, there’s no denying the spark that flares between the two of them. There’s also no denying the shock when Grace comes face to face with a strange—and naked—man in her new home.
It’s up to Trev to convince Grace and Max that if they’re open to the most unlikely possibilities, the three of them could be very happy together.
Warning: There’s a lot of sex in this book. I mean a lot! Hot sex. Sweaty sex. Gay sex. Straight sex. Ménage sex (M/M/F and M/F/M). Oh, and romantic sex. Lots of romantic sex. Hot romantic sex. Sweaty romantic sex. Gay romantic sex… You getting the picture?
Full House releases on the 12th of April next year, at Samhain.
Sherry Ricardo posted the following blog at International Heat. I thought it was a brilliant topic, which offered some excellent advice. Recently I’ve spoken to two authors who have been desperately unhappy with edits they had received. Were the editors at fault? The authors? Or were both right, but neither could see the other’s point of view? I can’t answer that.
But Sherry took it from an editor’s point of view and tried. She offers some amazing insights.
Sherry Ricardo’s Blog:
If you’re like me…
When you’ve finished a really good story, you whiz through the streets of cyberspace, searching frantically for the author’s website or blog, and that—sometimes elusive—“Contact” link so you can share your joy with said author about their fabulous story.
When you’ve finished a story that sucked, you stare at your ereading device in stupefaction, cursing at the waste of your time. If it’s an old fave who’s going downhill, you make a mental note to give them one or two more chances before you cross them off your buy list. If it’s a new-to-you author, you make a mental note to avoid said author’s work at all costs. If parts of the story were shockingly incongruous, you might ask, “How on earth did this get past an editor?” If you see a trend in that all the stories that sucked have been from a particular publisher, you make a mental note to be careful about buying stories published by that house.
Edits can be tough. When you receive edits, don’t burn the effigy you’ve created of your evil editor because of the sea of red they desecrated your baby with. Take a step back. Then another one. And another. That’s it, you’re out of the room. Go do something else.
When you return to the computer, follow these steps:
1) Open the document and go immediately to the drop down box with viewing options.
2) Select “Final” (i.e. you don’t what to see the markup).
3) Read the story from beginning to end as if you had purchased it NOT written it. If something jumps out at you as wrong, make a note using the “Comment” option.
By this stage, two things would have happened. Either, the story sounds better than it did when you submitted it and you release a sigh of relief. Or, you had to insert tons of comments—you can burn the effigy now.
After the smoke clears, return to the document and:
4) Accept the edits you agree with.
5) Revise the sections where your editor’s changes clash with your vision.
6) Send new version to your editor.
Re: step 5—The story will be crystal clear in your head because it’s your story. Unfortunately, sometimes that vision just doesn’t make it all the way to the paper…uh…screen. I know it’s nearly impossible to be objective about your manuscript but if your editor doesn’t get a scene, some readers won’t either. So, tweak those sections.
For the editor-author relationship to run like a well-oiled machine, you can’t hold on for dear life to every word in your beloved manuscript. You have to be willing to make as many changes as needed so your story shines. Yes, aside from grammar and punctuation, etc. editing can be subjective. But, there are readers out there just like your editor.
Reading is a serious business and the experienced reader has no patience for crap. Sometimes you’ll see reviewers make the concession that a story was okay but it had “editing issues.” The fact of the matter is, readers rarely focus on the editor. It’s all about the author.
Don’t know about you, but I am one of those who loves tackling the first round of edits. It’s a chance for me to see my book in a whole new light – through my editor’s eyes. And I gotta say, my ed, Jennifer, picks up things I would never in a million years notice. I can’t wait to read through her notes and comments, because I know there will be some startling revelations in there, issues that’ll change parts of my books completely. Okay, yeah, sometimes it takes a while to accept she’s right. (And let me tell you, she is always, unfailingly, unerringly right.) It’s simply a matter of coming to terms with someone else’s opinion of my baby.
So why am I telling you all this now? I guess because I am in deep edit. Have to return to my cave soon to complete the first round for Circle of Friends: Steve’s Story. There are a LOT of rewrites. A very lot. Lordy, I have to rewrite an entire love scene – chop out some very hot stuff and then add in some other very hot stuff. I even have to rewrite most of the last chapter. Then there are several thousand grammatical changes to be made, and don’t even get me started on my incorrect use of commas. Honestly, Jennifer could write an encyclopedia on my incorrect usage of that one little punctuation mark.
So hopefully I’ll be poking my head out of the cave soon, with the news that first round is finished. I’ll also nip out to post the cover for this story. Once again, Scott Carpenter has done a truly astounding job. The cover is gorgeous, hot and sexy. Just waiting for the final one to come through and I’ll display it to the world.
In the meantime, thank you, Jennifer. For helping me to make my books the best they can be.
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