Hi friends! I’m excited to welcome Jess Michaels back to ALBTALBS! Twenty years and 100 books is an almost bewildering milestone and such an achievement. Without further ado … Jess!
Fantasy vs. Reality
Hi everyone and a big thanks to Limecello for having me here today! If you don’t know who I am, I’m Jess Michaels, I write very steamy historical romance. I’ve been doing it for a while, too, because right now I’m counting down to my 100th book release. Time (and work) flies when you’re having fun I guess.
When we started talking about what I might write about here today, I kept thinking about that meme “how it started, how it’s going”. You know the one, probably, it’s pretty popular on Instagram/FB/TikTok. Certainly, after over twenty years in this industry, I can see a difference, see the development of where I started and what I wanted to where I am and what I want today.
For most authors, it starts with a dream. When I started out, I could perfectly picture what my future as a published author would look like. I wanted to write for one of the big publishing houses (which was the only way to really publish at the time…I’m old). I even knew the house I’d pick. And then I just knew it would all take off. I’d work really hard and write really good books, my publisher would see and support that, building my career. And…voila…success! Bestseller lists, being able to have an income as a writer, booksignings, whatever the trappings of “success” looked like from the outside.Continue reading →
My dears, I’m so excited about our guest today!!! Not only do we have the fantastically fabulous Leslie Kelly for Blogiversary, it’s also her birthday! You know how I love birthday guests, and this is double the fun! And you know, Leslie Kelly! So everyone jump on in for the fun!
Hello my darlings! Today we have Jessica Clare visiting with us on her birthday because I put her to work! 😀 She’s one of my current favorite authors. I love her voice – the contemporary erotic romances, and they’re so fabulous I’m even ok with the whole billionaire trend angle! You should totally read them. But enough with the gushing – heeeerreee’s Jessica!!! (P.S. – some of you might be more familiar with her as Jill Myles).
Happy Birthday to me!
Today marks my 37th birthday. I gotta admit, 36 has been awful kind to me. My grays are there, but blend nicely with the ashy brown of my hair. My family (consisting of myself, husband, two cats, and extended family a few cities away) is in good health and happy. In October, I hit the New York Times bestseller list. In November, I left my day job to become a full time writer. It’s the first time since I was the age of 18 that I haven’t worked a full-time job. My goal was to be a full time author by the time I hit 45 or so. I’m actually running a little early! I’m excited, of course. It’s the dream of every author to do this for a living. To rely on nothing but what’s in your bank account and what’s coming in via publishing…
To say that I’m a little freaked out is a bit of an understatement.
I’m something of a workaholic, you see. Birthdays? No big deal, I’ll just write a few pages between bites of cake. Holidays? Still can squeeze in some work! Weekends? Evenings? Yup, time to write. People sometimes ask what my hobby is. I tell them MORE WORK (though I usually say it like MOAAAAAAR WORK because I am a goober). The thing is, when you’re an author with a full time job…writing IS your hobby. It takes up nights, weekends, birthdays, holidays, vacations, you name it. And it’s a hobby I cheerfully love. Nothing gives me a greater thrill than re-reading something of mine that I adored.
Nerdy author fact: I love to re-read my own books. I mean, heck, I wrote them for me first and foremost!
But after 18 years of working for ‘The Man’ – be it on a retail floor (hated it) or a phone pool (hated it) or in a cube farm (liked the people, hated the job), there’s a certain sense of security with an 8-5 job. You know how your week goes. You know what to expect. You know that on every other Friday, someone’s going to dump a nice fat wad of cash into your bank account.
Now that I’m on my own…I have no such safety net.
I admit. For about a day, I was completely and totally jubilant. WORK AT HOME FOR EVA AND EVA YESSSSSSSSSS probably showed up in more than one email to my besties. And there might have been some insane giggling. And lots and lots of celebrating, both virtual and with family. I was living the dream! I’m a successful author! I’ve given up a well-paying, pleasant, stable (um, stable ENOUGH) job to FOLLOW MY DREAMS.
But on day two, I woke up and thought…OH SHIT. WHAT HAVE I DONE?
I admit. I panicked. I think some of it was the workaholic in me. I’ve heard horror stories of people that went full time only to completely fart around and get no writing done. It’s not the fear of NOT being able to make it. It’s the fear that I might wake up one day and find myself unable to write.
This feeling has totally dogged me all month. It’s weird. I went from “Gosh, I wish I had more time to write” and would crank out 30k words in a week. And now that I have no full time job BUT writing…I struggle. For the first week, I got almost nothing done. At first, I told myself I was taking a few well-deserved days off. Then, I told myself it was a phase. Then, I told myself that it was normal.
And then I pretty much just stopped lying to myself about it entirely. 😀
I’m *not* writing as much as I did in the past. If I don’t want to write that day? I wrap the scene/paragraph I’m working on, and then go fart off and do something else. It’s not that I’ve lost my writing mojo, I’ve come to realize…it’s that now, I don’t have every hour down to a science of “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO TO PROPERLY UTILIZE THIS TIME?” You don’t realize how full your schedule is until you clear it, and find yourself with TONS of time. For example, on my busier weeks, my schedule would go like this:
6 am — Wake up, answer work emails, cook breakfast
7 am — Jump out of shower, slap on makeup, go to work
8 am — 11:59 Work
12 noon — Edit on lunch hour
1 pm – 4:59 pm — Work
5 pm — Drive home, run errands
6 pm — Kiss husband, answer more work email, cook dinner
7 pm — Write
8 pm — Write
9 pm — Exercise
10 pm — Shower again, get ready for bed, read a little
11 pm – Sleep
It was exhausting, and you’ll notice that there are not many things like “Watch TV” or “Hang out with friends” in there. That’s because they weren’t! If I elected to do something different, it meant that something else wasn’t going to happen. If I go out with friends? No exercise, and probably very little writing. If I watch a movie with my husband? Whole evening is shot. Want to read that awesome book I’ve been dying to get my hands on for a year? Skip the writing for a few days and try not to feel guilty about crunching down on deadlines.
You don’t realize how little wiggle room you existed on before until all of a sudden, you have ALL THIS GLORIOUS TIME. And…it’s kinda scary. But magical. Now, I can watch a movie and not feel guilty about it eating up all of my writing time. I can go to lunch with friends, or visit my parents more often and stay a little longer, just because I don’t have to rush home to do something else that I have scheduled in so tightly. If I want to sleep late on a Saturday? I don’t feel like I’m eating away at all of my precious writing time.
In short, it’s kind of wonderful. My stress levels have gone down an incredible amount. I’m happy. My husband gets to spend more time with me and he’s happy. The house isn’t any cleaner (COME ON, I’M A WRITER, NOT A SAINT) but I feel like I can breathe. And I can be creative…and if I’m only creative for about 5k instead of 10k on a Saturday, that’s okay, too.
I’ve got time to make it up!
Here’s hoping 37 will be twice as awesome as 36. 🙂
So everyone remember to wish Jessica a totally amazing, fabulous, happy birthday! <3
Jessica I hope you get to relax a lot – if you’re a Whovian, enjoy the show, have a few drinks, a fabulous dinner, and lots of cake. 😀
Hello my lovelies! Another birthday today! So many birthdays, and I just love it! 😀 Today as you see we have Beth Williamson visiting with us with a short and sweet post. Fun fact – did you know she writes as Emma Lang too? Happy birthday Beth! Thanks for visiting with us at ALBTALBS. I hope you have a wonderful day!
’Tis just another year, right?
Birthdays come each year for every person in every corner of the world. It’s just another year, right? 🙂
I turn 46 today – that number seems impossible! When did I get to be in my mid-40s? Sometimes life goes by so fast, we blink and ten years have passed.
What have I accomplished in the last 46 years?
*thin, think think* (Picture Pooh bear tapping his head…)
I married my teenage sweetheart and twenty-three years later, am still married. Yay!
I had two amazing sons who make me very proud. Woot!
I published 25 novels, 9 novellas, and 6 short stories. Holy cow!
I traveled to Spain, Holland, Portugal, Canada, Mexico and visited a number of Caribbean islands. Love travel!
I am lucky enough to have some amazing friends who have touched my life. Peeps!
I have attended more than a twenty reader/writer conferences over the last 9 years. Ah-mazing!
I have a job I love, and that I’m good at, which allows me to challenge myself every day. Booyah!
I have lived for 46 years on this earth, and consider myself very, very lucky. Huzzah!
What would you say has been your biggest “thing” in your life?
One commenter wins a download of choice from my backlist – any book, any format!
Fabulous question. I’m really curious too. And isn’t Beth generous, offering a present to one of you on her special day? So remember to wish her a very happy birthday too!
Hey you guys! Please welcome debut author Amara Royce to the blog! As you can see, this is her very first guest blog post ever! Isn’t that fun and exciting? And adorable? I’m really pleased and honored she chose us. 🙂 Her book will be available on May 2, so not long now! I hope you all give her a very warm welcome! >.> And ignore the fact that I stole some of her opening thunder, mkay? :X
First, I’d like to thank Limecello for giving me this opportunity! ALBTALBS is a great site, and I’m thrilled to be a tiny part of it. *whispers* This is also my very first guest spot…ever. So, as a debut author, this is quite a heady moment for me! My debut historical romance, Never Too Late, will be released by Kensington Publishing’s digital-first imprint, eKensington, on May 2, 2013.
After much consideration about my first guest spot ever, I decided it would make sense to focus on the First Kiss.
Both in romances and in real life, that first kiss is so frequently the stuff of fairy tales and legends.
In narratives, that single kiss is the key to life, the key to unlocking a whole new future. The spellbound princess has fallen into a deep sleep and can only be awakened by True Love’s Kiss. And since it’s a fairy tale, the princess has never been kissed before. The movie 50 First Dates features Drew Barrymore, whose character has lost her short-term memory due to a car accident and therefore wakes up every morning thinking it’s the same day, and Adam Sandler as a marine zoologist who has fallen for her and finds himself wooing her every day. Their first kiss becomes a running joke in the movie because, to her, it’s a magical first kiss every single day, but, to him, the dreamy blush of the first kiss fades fast.
And, ‘fess up, who didn’t at least consider practicing for their first kiss in the mirror or with a pillow when they were growing up?
On the other hand, there’s also the saying that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. In our modern world, maybe it’s a little too much to expect that your first kiss ever will be earth-shattering, toe-tingling perfection or that the first person you kiss will be your everlasting true love. Even the fairy-tale based movie Enchanted gives a nod to the difference between the first kiss and True Love’s Kiss.
So a first kiss can be monumental…but maybe not.
When I wrote Never Too Late, a historical romance set in Victorian London, I pondered that first kiss long and hard. In some historical romances, the heroine’s first kiss ever occurs “on stage” with the hero, and in those cases, it’s almost always breath-taking and impossible to forget. That first kiss gets deeply imprinted in the minds and hearts of both main characters.
Given the histories of Never Too Late’s heroine and hero, it was unlikely that they’ve never kissed anyone before. She’s a bit older than the average historical romance heroine, and he’s, well, him. So it seemed important to acknowledge their less-than-wonderful experiences before meeting each other, especially since it makes their First Kiss that much more potent.
Here’s a glimpse:
It was swift, a mere brush of their lips, but the electric tingle from that light touch ran through him. How he’d gone from a simple printing demonstration to this far-from-simple complication, he couldn’t puzzle out. Her eyes widened too, as if she felt a similar shock. He stood there for a moment, looking at her intently.
In that moment, she had enough time to recall the first time she’d kissed a man. Mr. Ranseed was the butcher’s son, an excellent match, both sets of parents agreed. The third time he’d come to visit her at home, somehow they’d been left unchaperoned. They were taking a walk in the countryside, talking about some innocuous topic or other, like the weather or, no, they’d been talking about feed, about what grasses are most conducive to good beef, and suddenly he’d butted her up against a tree and begun kissing her. That was all, just his mouth against hers, but it was clammy and horribly intrusive. Startled, she just stood there, letting him probe with his tongue and wondering what all the fuss was about. He seemed agitated and eager, but whatever he was doing with his mouth felt awkward and unnatural. She decided three things immediately: 1. I do not enjoy kissing Mr. Ranseed. 2. I am not inclined to allow him such familiarity again. 3. I will not marry him after all.
You can find me on Facebook and Twitter, and I’ll be posting more snippets from Never Too Late every Saturday until its May 2 release date at my web site.
In anticipation of Never Too Late’s release on May 2, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon e-gift card. Just answer the following question in the comments for a chance to win (and include the e-mail address you would want used to deliver the e-gift card):
What’s your favorite “first kiss” scene in a book or movie?
Hello darlings! Today we have lovely author Cathy Yardley visiting with us! In fact, she’s bringing it with more blogiversary fun and prizes. 😀 Yay!
Milestones & Magic
In honor of Lime’s 2nd Blogoversary, I wanted to write about milestones and celebrations.
I’ve had a few milestones recently. For one thing, I just turned 40. For another, I’ll be releasing my eighteenth novel, Tempting is Hell, on January 21st. Strangely, the second thing is scarier than the first.
I have to say… I’m liking this forty thing.
Things that would drive me into a high-strung panic in my twenties barely register a “meh” on the anxiety-o-meter these days. People whose opinions used to bother me don’t even rate a response. I don’t know if that’s because I’m a Mom now (I’ve discovered sleep deprivation has created a rather drastic triage of “is this really important?”) or because I’ve been around the block long enough or what, but it’s gotten a lot easier to just let what isn’t crucial just slide.
There seems to be a corresponding courage, too. Stuff I would’ve been hesitant to say when I was younger now pops out (often with no warning.) I’m taking more risks – and trying new things.
I’ve been writing for about fifteen years now, and this is my first Urban Fantasy. It’s a totally new genre for me, with a totally new publisher. And of all the books I’ve ever written, it’s my hands-down favorite – the book I wrote essentially for myself. Even if nobody ever reads it, I’d be happy I wrote it.
In honor of Lime’s 2nd year blogging, I’d like to give away 2 digital copies.
Happy blogoversary, Lime!
WORST. JOB. EVER.
Kate O’Hara can’t wait until this temp assignment is over. The woman who hired her is a psychotic pageant queen, her coworkers are convicts-turned-clerks, and it’s so boringly corporate it makes her skin crawl. Even her sexy-as-sin boss, famed billionaire Thomas Kestrel, isn’t enticement enough to keep her there. Once she makes enough to pay off her bills, she’s out. Or so she thinks…
WHAT THE HELL?
Next thing she knows, she’s accidentally signed over her soul. Literally. And she’s discovered Thomas’s real mission: to kill thirteen bad guys in one year, in order to get his–now his and Kate’s–souls back.
IT’S NOT JUST A JOB. IT’S A MISADVENTURE.
From learning to boost the morale of some paper-pushing demons to navigating her way through blood-red tape, Kate has to work closely with her super-hot supervisor and get her flaky act together, before somebody clocks her out–permanently!
What do you think? 😀 Ready for more blogiversary partying? What’s a recent milestone (of any sort) that you’ve hit? [Oh, and Entangled digital books aren’t up for pre-order, so if I remember I’ll add the link on the 21st!] Remember! Two copies up for grabs!