It's kind of become a tradition that past sixteen months (can you believe it's been sixteen months since Dirty Little Secret came out?) to have a dance party on release day, featuring the playlist for the new book. And since TRUST ME went live yesterday, today we are going to PAR-TAY!!!! Jack and Maddie's story actually had two different playlists because it had two different incarnations. The first story, written a few years ago (and much lighter on the plot line), was heavy on the country music. I'm not a huge fan of country music, so I had to educate myself. But when it came time to revise Trust Me, a whole new playlist came to life. That's the one I'm gonna share with you today!
Of course, I couldn't get away from the country song that inspired the story itself. Trust Me's heroine, Maddie, has been on the run for years. Only the need to find a missing girl has drawn her out of the shadows. Her story was inspired by the Rascal Flatts song "Stand."
Trust Me's hero, Jack, is a badass, no doubt about it. From a young age he's taken care of himself, and now he takes care of those around him with everything he has to give. His theme song? "Train" by 3 Doors Down.
Jack and Maddie are explosive together. Whether they are sparring verbally or battling their way into (or out of) each other's arms, nothing comes easy for them -- until trust is built between them. Only then can Maddie give her body to him. Their first love scene (well, the first one that doesn't take them by surprise :) ) was inspired by one of my favorite songs from the latest album by Daughtry, "Baptized."
Another song from the original playlist that continued on to the final version of the story was another Daughtry favorite, "Tennessee Line" with Vince Gill.
There is one thing that draws me to Jack more than anything else (though yes, his bod is definitely a draw!). But I love the tenderness and determination he has to prove to Maddie that she can trust him, that he will live up to his promises, that he's not like the man who hurt her in the past. What song did I play over and over and over while I watched Jack struggle to earn Maddie's trust? "Wherever You Will Go" by The Calling.
Of course, there are far more songs on Trust Me's playlist than just these. To see the rest, visit Trust Me's Extras Page here. And don't forget to grab your copy of Trust Me this week only for the "Reader Appreciation" price of $0.99!
One more thing! This week, IndieSagePR is hosting a giveaway for Trust Me's release. You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here before Friday, February 6th!
Keep an eye out tomorrow for my traditional Release Day Dance Par-tay! here on the blog, celebrating the playlist that helped me bring Trust Me to life.
And don't forget to grab your copy of Trust Me this week at the "Reader Appreciation" price of $0.99. Now till February 7th!
All right, everyone! After the blur that was last weekend and missing putting this post up last Monday, I was going to put this off till after the weekend, once preorders were running. BUT...I received the files for Trust Me to begin preorders last night, and I just can't wait any more!!! So, without further ado, here is the much-awaited cover for TRUST ME, book two in the Southern Nights series:
Not only am I so, so happy with the work Kelli Dennis (Book Cover by Design) did with this cover, but I am also blessed to feature a cover quote from reader Pat Fordyce from Tea and Book. Her appreciation for romance knows no bounds, and she has been a great encouragement to me. Now I get to share her sweet words with you as well!
TRUST ME will hopefully be up for preorders at major retailers by this Sunday, January 25th. As the preorders go live, I'll be sharing the links here and on Facebook and Twitter. And like Teach Me, this book will be available at the "Reader Appreciation" price of $0.99 until one week after its release date of February 1st. So snatch it up as soon as you can! And let me know what you think as well. I'd love to know if Jack lives up to your expectations like he did mine!
Want a little excerpt to whet your appetite? Okey dokey...
Jack Quinn hit the heavy wooden doors that led into the Halftime Bar like a runaway train on the downside of a mountain. Even the hard slam didn’t help his frustration. His muscles swelled with it, his skin so tight it could burst. He wished it would so he could finally get rid of the feeling that he wasn’t at home in his own body. He didn’t recognize himself anymore, and deciding what to do about it was a drive pushing him closer and closer to the edge. Tonight might just tip him over. The crash of music against his senses as he crossed the uneven planks of the floor into the darkened interior of the country bar was a welcome reprieve. The beat pounded in his head, his body, matching the adrenaline-laced rhythm of his heart and telling him he wasn’t alone in his need to pound something. Preferably his best friend, Con. The minefield of dancing couples was lighter than usual tonight. Jack didn’t swerve; he made his own path straight to the bar. Anyone in his way could take one look at his face and see they needed to be the one to move aside. They moved. He saved a civil nod for Taylor, the tall blonde waitress who so often served him, as she wove her way through the tables on the far side of the dance floor. Most of them were empty, save a few clustered around the three high-definition TVs hanging along one wall. Ignoring everyone else, Jack zeroed in on his favorite bar stool, the one that should have the shape of his ass tattooed on its surface considering how much time he’d spent on it lately. The stool was the only one positioned where the long mahogany bar top took a sharp turn into the wall. The short span on that end and the wall at his back meant no one shared his space while allowing him to see everyone and everything around him. His guard could stand down and he could relax for just a little while. Maybe. If—and that was a big-ass if—he could stop wanting to punch Con just one time. But then Jess would complain about her pretty-boy husband’s black eye, and Jack wouldn’t hear the end of it for a while. He sighed as he sat on his stool. Probably wasn’t worth it after all. “You’re early, Jack. Run out of asses to kick? People to intimidate?” Jack grunted at the big bruiser of a man making his way down the bar toward him. John, Halftime’s regular bartender, had the shoulders of a defensive lineman, football pads and all. Except he wasn’t wearing any. Jack sometimes held his breath as he watched the man maneuver behind the bar, waiting for one wrong turn to throw John against a shelf and send bottles of liquor and glasses crashing to the floor. Tonight he flicked a bird in John’s general direction as payment for the sarcasm and pretended interest in a couple of women preening at one corner of the dance floor. Yeah, he was in a pissy mood. That wasn’t unusual lately. Didn’t mean Con had the right to send him home like a little kid. Time off wasn’t going to help. John laughed as he stopped in front of Jack. “If you’re needing to relieve a bit of tension, they’re probably up for it,” he said, nodding toward the two women. “Pickings are otherwise slim tonight.” “I bet.” Shirts a bit too tight, a bit too small, makeup a bit too heavy for the eyelashes batting his way. Not out of their early twenties, he’d guess. Way too young for him, especially tonight. Even at their age, he hadn’t felt as young and innocent as they looked; he sure as hell didn’t feel it now, at thirty-four. Besides, quick and dirty and meaningless wasn’t what his gut churned for. He’d seen the real thing now, every time Con and Jess were together—hell, every time the man said something about his wife or even thought about her, it seemed—and Jack had a bad feeling that meaningless wasn’t going to do it for him anymore. If he had a sweet something waiting at home for him like Con did, Jack wouldn’t have to be told to go home; he’d rush there voluntarily. But he didn’t. Work was all he had, and if he wanted to put in extra hours to avoid the silence his house practically throbbed with? That was his choice, not his best friend’s, business partner or not. The best friend who was currently at home, probably curled around—or inside—his wife’s warm body, while Jack was stuck with the occasional one-night stand or a not so satisfying handjob. Jack was damn jealous, not of Jess but of Jess and Con’s relationship. No wonder he was spending so much damn time at the neighborhood bar. He needed a life. A hobby. A dog. Jesus, he was losing it. His expression must’ve given his answer, because John snickered. “Didn’t think so. What’ll ya have?” “The usual.” John nodded. Twisting to look over his shoulder, he yelled, “Maddie, Sam Adams.” “Who’s Maddie?” John turned sideways, showing what his bulk had hidden up till now. Jack glanced down the long service area behind the bar and almost swallowed his tongue. A woman. A blonde woman, but not the same kind of blonde as the waitress, Taylor. This woman had a straw-colored mane, thick enough it almost didn’t fit in the claw clip holding it in a graceful twist at the back of her head. Spikes stuck from the top of the clip to fall along the sides, pointing to the creamy curve of her ear as she bent her head to focus on the frosted glass she was filling at the tap. A slender neck led to a body encased in a tight white T-shirt and short black vest. The clothes silhouetted her tucked-in waist and a sexy strip of bare skin above Levi’s he would swear were painted on. And boots; God, he had such a thing for boots on a woman. And this woman wore them with the ease of longtime use, confirmation that balancing on them was second nature. One look at those boots and his dick shot straight up and strained in her direction as if she were true north and he was a compass. Damn. “Roll your tongue back in your head,” John told him, laughter tangling with the words. Jack glanced at the bartender, over at the woman, back to John. Swallowed. “Right.” John shrugged, and his easy smile widened. “I had the same reaction. Heck, every red-blooded male that’s walked through the door since she was hired Monday has had that reaction. She is something.” “Damn straight.” The towel resting on the new bartender’s shoulder slid off, landing with a plop on the ground. She bent to grab it. Both men groaned. The woman glanced over her shoulder. John startled, actually blushing. Jack kept looking, appreciating the view from the front as much as the back when the new bartender stood to face them. She had a sweet body with curves in all the right, mouthwatering places. “Can I help you gentlemen?” she asked, interrupting his reconnaissance. Jack met her eyes, a brown so dark he couldn’t tell iris from pupil, though the narrowing of her eyelids might’ve had something to do with it too. Her lips were tight, pressing together in a way that made him want to tug them apart with his teeth. The brittle edge to her expression had him narrowing his eyes too. His mama had taught him manners, even if she hadn’t insisted on them for herself, but it wasn’t like he was leering. He believed in appreciating what was before him; nothing crude or ugly about that. Most women he knew basked in the attention. And maybe you’re getting a bit too arrogant, dickhead. He answered her look with a wry smile of his own. The dish towel got a toss into the nearby hamper as the new bartender made her way toward them, Jack’s lager in hand. John tucked himself against the back wall so she could make her delivery. “Maddie, this is Jack.” “Nice to meet you.” Jack extended his hand to shake, the anticipation of touching her forcing his erection harder against his zipper. Down, boy. Maddie shoved his beer into his hand. “You too.” Her voice was feminine, husky, arousing. Which was a ridiculous thought, because she didn’t sound like it was nice to meet him. John sniggered. Jack ignored him, bringing the cold glass mug to his lips. The deep, earthy bark of hops settled in his nose as he took his first drink, but his eyes stayed on Maddie’s. She didn’t back down, didn’t blush, just raised a brow and stared right back. Why in hell did that make him so hot? When he set the beer on the bar, Maddie nodded toward it. “All right?” “Absolutely, darlin’,” he said, the endearment slipping out automatically. The eyebrow got higher. “Good.” He kept staring as Maddie returned to her end of the bar. The spikes of hair sticking up from her clip bounced with every step. Jack imagined his fingers fisting the long length, holding her still for him. Taming the shrew, so to speak. He had not a single doubt that she’d be feisty as hell. Yeah, he’d definitely like to get his hands in that hair. John’s laugh sliced through his sexual haze. He shot the bartender a sharp look. “Shut the hell up.” John laughed harder.
Maddie Baker spent four years seeking vengeance against the man whose abuse destroyed her life. That search has led her to a small town outside Atlanta and a missing teenage girl. Nothing will stand in the way of her mission, including a jackass of an ex-soldier who reawakens emotions best left to die.
A man on the hunt…
Jack Quinn learned to recognize trouble in the marines, and he sees it in Maddie the minute he lays eyes on her tending bar. Her secrets are hidden deep, but secrets are his specialty, and peeling away her barriers only makes him want her more. He’ll do whatever it takes to get her to trust him with her body and her heart.
An old threat whose time has come…
Staying hidden kept Maddie safe, but the search for justice will bring her into the open and face-to-face with her treacherous past. Risking her life is one thing, but risking her heart is another. In love and in danger, she must trust Jack to lead her—and pray they both come out alive.
It's terrible when you have to schedule reading time so you can write a blog post. That's what has happened to me over the past few months. In order to write my monthly "What I've Been Reading" posts, I've had to schedule reading time -- not because I didn't want to read, but because I simply didn't have time. I hesitate to go into the "why" for fear of sounding, well, why-ney. :) But the truth is, life's been kicking my butt. Getting TRUST ME out by Christmas has been my number one priority, and unfortunately, my writer brain has not been cooperating. Of course, neither has my kids' sports and school and orthodontist schedules, my husband's work schedule, my work schedule (that's right; I work a day job in addition to writing)... You get the drift. In fact, for a little while I feared TRUST ME would not only be late releasing, but would not release at all. Everyone has those times when the avalanche descends and you wonder if you'll make it out alive.
Well, I have, but only because I made some tough decisions. And one of those was making time to read.
Last month in Birmingham I heard Sylvia Day speak. It was at a readers' luncheon, and of course she talked about reading. Or rather, her lack thereof. She discussed how, when she ended up in a crazy publishing schedule that took every ounce of time she had, she couldn't squeeze in the minutes and hours it took to read. And when it came time for a particular deadline, she realized that the book that was due just...wasn't going to happen. She was done, dried up. Her creativity was taking her nowhere with this story, and she didn't think it ever would. In fact, she didn't think she'd ever write another story. Ever.
So Sylvia contacted her editor and gave her the bad news. After much discussion and pushing off of deadlines, Sylvia said her editor finally asked one all-important question: When was the last time you read? (A book that wasn't yours was implied.) And Sylvia told her, I don't remember. So her editor gave her an assignment, not to finish writing, but to go read. It was the spark Sylvia needed to see the light on her own story and find her well of creativity again. She read other writers' novels, eventually finished her own book, and rediscovered a piece of herself in the process.
As a writer and a woman (mother, spouse, sibling...), I think I fell into the trap many women fall into: that something we find pleasure in is unimportant. My kids spend hours a day playing video games and reading books and watching TV/movies, and I WORK. Day in and day out, I work, because that's what a good mom and wife does, right? But my need to write was going nowhere. And then I heard Sylvia speak and realized, other than my scheduled monthly posts, I haven't read a book for pleasure in...I can't remember when.
For a writer, it simply isn't possible to sustain your creativity without nourishment. And for a woman, it isn't possible to sustain your supportive, positive, hard-working attitude without taking time for yourself as well as others. I knew that, but the tyranny of the urgent was louder than what I knew, until the urgent couldn't be taken care of because there was no fodder for the fire. TRUST ME wanted to be written, but I wasn't giving myself enough fuel to sustain the creative need. We have to feed ourselves, body and soul, if we hope to continue feeding others. I wasn't doing that, but now I am! And it is oh so sweet to find that place of comfort and pleasure again. :)
Reading again has made a huge difference in my life and in my writing. And next month, I'll share again some of What I've Been Reading -- without the whole scheduling thing. I hope you are nourishing yourself too, taking care of you so that you can take care of others. So tell me, what have YOU been reading? What else do you do to feed your soul? What difference does that make in your life?
I had a moment this week where I sat down and took stock of the last year. At this time in 2013, I didn't have a publishing contract. I didn't even know one was on the horizon. In fact, I was extremely discouraged with what little progress I'd made, and the only thing keeping me going was the fact that I'd finalled in the RWA Golden Heart®. It was not my best time. And then the magic happened. By June, I had my first publishing contract for Dirty Little Secret. Wow, what a ride! My first book came out in October of last year. My second book, Naughty Little Christmas, came out in December. Now I have a release planned for this summer, Just a Little More. The Secrets To Hide series is taking off by leaps and bounds, and hopefully Ian's story will round it out late this year. It's hard for me to believe that these characters, for so long on my heart, have come into the world and are available for any reader to read. It's bemusing, really. Surreal. And so gratifying as a writer, to see my work out there, being enjoyed. Thank you all so much for believing in me!
So what else is coming up? A lot! This September, October, and November, I will be releasing my Southern Nights series, Teach Me (book one), Trust Me (book two), and Take Me (book three). I'm so excited for this series, also set in and around Atlanta, Georgia. These books are contemporary, erotic, with just a hint of suspense thrown into the mix. I'm hoping you'll enjoy them as much as I have. Keep checking back for updated information on exact release dates, blurbs and covers, all of which will be coming in the very near future.
So, yes, that's a guaranteed four releases this year, possibly five. Eight books in two years. O.o That is an amazing number, truly. And all made possible because I have tremendous support from fellow writers, editors and amazing readers. Thank you all! I'm looking forward to many equally amazing years to come!