RELEASE DAY for A Scandalous Matter + A Look Back and Ahead

Insta1What A Difference A Year Makes. 

When I mentioned to someone recently that my third book was about to debut, she looked at me with an astonished expression and said, “Isn’t that three books in a YEAR? That’s AMAZING!”

Close. Just over a year, since A Man of Character debuted at the end of May in 2015, and A Scandalous Matter arrived today (wahoo!). But still, her words made me pause. It IS amazing to realize how far I’ve come in fourteen months.

amanofcharactersmallOf course, I’ve been at this for far longer. I started writing A Man of Character in the fall of 2011. I likely would have published it sooner had I not let fear get in the way and shelved the whole project for a year. Even so, I worked on that book for four years. I worked on A Matter of Time for two, beginning it as a National Novel Writing Month adventure in the fall of 2013, and releasing it in November of 2015.

A Scandalous Matter fell together far more quickly – a bit out of necessity. It occurred to me while finishing A Matter of Time that the next logical book to give to my readers was not the book I’d written for NaNoWriMo 2014 (The Demon Duke), but rather Amara’s story. I realized this in October. I got busy writing in November. So all in all, I crafted A Scandalous Matter in eight months.


This is not nearly as fast as many of today’s authors, who are managing to produce new material every 90, 60, or even 30 days, just as the Amazon algorithm likes. That’s not me. In fact, I can’t believe I managed to get A Scandalous Matter done as quickly as I did – and my family will tell you it pretty much stole me away from them for quite some time!

amatteroftimesmallI love writing (editing, not so much, but that’s another story). I truly do. I finally feel as if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I look forward to bringing many more stories to the world. But until the kids are older and more self-sufficient (read: out on their own), I need to remind myself it’s quality, not quantity, I’m going for, and that while I could easily give this career 80-100 hours a week, I haven’t got that to spare. My wife and mom hats need equal space on my head.

If this sounds less than positive, I certainly don’t mean it to be. I’m incredulous at my own risk-taking (never one of my fortes), at my willingness to put these books out there – and at the wonderful reception they’ve received! I’m constantly chatting with the characters in my head, and have at least ten to fifteen tales waiting to be written. I just hope my readers will stay with me if it takes me a bit longer to get more books out. Because I love you, and you merit only the very best I can produce!

Having said that, looking forward, here’s what’s in (or will be in) the works:

  • A novella about the origin of Cat’s mysterious magical manuscript.
  • The Demon Duke, the first in my Put Up Your Dukes (non-magical) Regency series, about a duke with a dark secret, and a shy, reluctant debutante who could be his savior … or his undoing.
  • The Once and Future Duke, the second in the PUYD series, about James Bradley, Duke of Arthington, Deveric’s sidekick from A Matter of Time.
  • The Legendary Duke, the third in the PUYD series, based loosely on the legend of Gawain and the Green Knight.
  • The Irish Duke, the fourth in the PUYD series, featuring Deveric’s other sidekick, Morgan Collinswood, Marquess of Emerlin.
  • The Boy Next Door, a non-magical contemporary about Taylor Duncan, sister to A Scandalous Matter‘s Matthew Goodson, and what’s right in her face. Or who.
  • A Complicated Matter, book 4 in my Magic of Love series. After you read A Scandalous Matter, I’ll let you guess whose story this is.
  • A Matter of Chance, the story of Chance Mattersley, younger brother of A Matter of Time‘s Deveric Mattersley.
  • A Matter of Honor, Deveric’s younger sister Emmeline’s story.

Whew. Looking at that list, I’d better get busy!


Thank You Word CloudThank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you, my friends, family, fans, readers (I still can’t believe I have the last two!). Your words of encouragement, your reviews, your invaluable support all have lifted me higher this year than I ever thought possible. I look forward to many more years together! 

Writer Wednesday: Meet Lizzie Leaf!

Lizzie_T__Leaf_pic-smallerWhoa, baby. Can you believe it’s Wednesday again already? Where does the time go? But Wednesday is always a time for celebration around here – not only is it hump day (which really has no meaning to writer who works odd hours, you know), but it’s Writer Wednesday, the day fellow writers grace me with their presence just long enough to spill a few of their secrets (maybe) and chat about their latest release. Fun, fun for everyone.

Romance writer Lizzie T. Leaf is burning up the Writer Wednesday hot seat this week! I’m pretty sure that T. stands for terrific; she’s not only loads of fun to chat with, but she’s also written a number of romances (paranormal, contemporary, and others) for y’all to read. Win, win!

Settle in with that cup of tea (or Diet Coke, or chocolate bar, whatever your poison is) and get to know Lizzie a little better. And if you have chocolate, would you please share some?

What inspires you to write?

The stories playing through my head pushes me to put them on paper. If not, they only get louder. At times when I’m in the middle of one book another pushes its way to the front and demands at least jotting down notes.

The stories have been there since childhood. I spent a lot of time alone on the swing under the Pecan tree swinging and making up friends. Like me, the friends have grown into adults and the stories have changed, but they remain.

What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

NordicHeatThere is more to writing a book than typing the end. Your journey has only started. From those two words you move on to the reality…sending the manuscript out to publishers and agents or making the decision to self-publish.

If self-publishing is the road you travel, then find an editor to catch all the things you can’t see in your baby. I relate an unedited book to…I can’t see the forest for the trees. The mind sees what it thinks should be there not necessarily what is there.

Whatever way the book ends up published, the promoting begins and that is an endless job at which most days I suck. But as you strive to get the word out, there is the next book that needs to be written and needs starting immediately. As the old saying goes…no rest for the wicked, and some days I must be very wicked the way my Muse bugs me.

Name two things people don’t know about you.

I don’t think a lot of people know I’m a Master Gardener. Love gardening and find digging in the dirt a good way to vent my frustrations. When the fruits of labor produce in late spring and summer, there is nothing better than sitting on the patio with my laptop and writing. The buzzing of the bees and songs from the birds stimulate my wee brain.

The other thing most don’t know is I’m a Certified Tour Guide and Tour Director. Though I don’t work the profession I’m always mentally critiquing the guides on travel excursions. Some are really entertaining and information, while others can put me to sleep the way the drone on about a subject.

What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

I love The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. I fell in love with the epic romance novel then. The Meggie & Ralph experience had me in tears. [SPOILER ALERT] When he dies in her arms at the end, I sobbed. Yeah, you have to love a great angst ridden story!

And now a bit about Lizzie’s latest release: 

DeadAwake_300x450Lizzie T. Leaf books have heat, but humor comes into play too.

DEAD Awake is re-releasing at Decadent Publishing and the pre-sale is on now.

Here’s the story:

Socialite Deb Stein lives a life of luxury until she takes the hunk dressed as a vampire to her bed. When she wakes up one of the living dead, she’s pissed-off. To complicate matters more, she has to find a new identity since everyone thinks she dead. Plus, if she’s dead, she can’t touch her trust fund, and that means she has to work! How can someone who has never held a job find one?

And her social life is in the tank. Her new friends are a street guy called Rat and fellow strippers at the dive where she works. If she ever sees Aaron Lowell again, she’ll put a stake in his heart.

Aaron Lowell feels guilty he took his mentor’s advice and left town after taking the sexy socialite into the undead world. Concerned, he returns to check on her and discovers she’s become a stripper—and not a very happy one when she sees him. But she’s still hot, and he can’t stay away from her, even if their meetings are explosive.

Can two vampires move beyond anger, combined with a strong sexual attraction, to find the kind of love they both crave?

Find it here, and on Amazon Kindle.

Want to connect with Lizzie? Stalk (er, I mean, find) her here:




Like her author page on Facebook:

Thanks so much for joining us, Lizzie!
Have fun with your gardening – I’m staying right here, in my air-conditioned, bug-free living room. Bwah ha ha! 

Adventures in Editing: I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again (Thanks, Chumbawumba)

A Man of Character
A Man of Character – A Snippet of the Real Cover. Thank you to Lankshear Design!

In January, I hired a developmental editor, Tessa Shapcott, to help me with my first book, A Man of CharacterGenerally speaking, I (and others) had been happy with the book, but I knew that to “do it right” as an indie publisher, I needed an editor’s opinion.

She gave me one. She gave me several. She gave me nearly four pages’ worth of suggestions. And they were spot on. Tessa is fabulous, people. But all those pages of suggestions meant I needed to restructure my book – move some elements to the front, delete others, add scenes, pay attention to emotional development.

I won’t lie. I wanted to bury my head in the sand. I even asked Tessa if she felt the book were worth salvaging (luckily for me, she most emphatically said YES).

So instead pulling my standard ostrich move, I got to work. It took me longer than I wanted (pesky Other Life responsibilities, plus my standard Time Managing Idiocy), but I finished that sucker, read through it again several times, made more corrections, and sent it off to Tessa for a second read-through.

Green light. WOO HOO! She liked it, felt the revisions worked well, and had just a few minor suggestions. I know there’s additional work to do after those revisions, since the next step is a line edit, but still, I was feeling on top of the world.

Last night, I was in the hot seat for my beloved critique group. A Man of Character in its newly revised form was up for review. And the critiquers did exactly what they were supposed to do, exactly what I want them to do: they critiqued it, meaning they found favor and fault in it. Lots of fault, depending on whom you asked.

I know that I have a long way to go in developing the thick skin writers need. I know that writing is rewriting. Writing is revision. And being a relative newbie to the fiction writing world, I have a lot to learn. In my head, I know all of that, accept all of that. In my head, I want to learn, learn, learn, to find out what works and what doesn’t, to grow and become better.

In my heart, I feel pain when someone challenges my baby, even when the challenges are justified, and would only lead to improving the book. In my heart (and head), I also know now it’s my turn to critique the critiques, by taking what I like and leaving the rest. And I will. I will. Just not today. Today, I’m not touching it.

It’s a roller coaster, this writing thing. It’s the highest of highs when you feel you’ve nailed that scene or that dialogue, when a beta reader tells you she loves the story, when you get positive feedback from fellow writers.

And it’s the lowest of lows, the days where you stare at the words and think they’re crap, when you get rejection after rejection from agents, when you open up your document returned to you from a critiquer and all you see are pages full of comments.

Some days I want to get off. Some days I want to ride forever.

They tell you your writing is not you. Don’t take it personally.

Does that ability come easier the longer one pursues this profession? I hope so.

In the meantime, I’m taking today to work on reading and reviewing other people’s writing. But I’ll be back at A Man of Character tomorrow. Because, warts and all, my baby is entering the world on May 26, 2015. And I’m excited.

How do you deal with the ups and downs?

The NaNo Hangover – What is YOUR Cure?

NaNoAnneI NaNoWriMo’ed my little heart out, people. Not only did I write the entire first rough (very rough) draft of The Demon Duke (69,000+ words), but I also served as unofficial co-ML and ran all sorts of online write-ins, as well as attended a number of in-person events. It was exhilarating! It was awesome! It was exhausting!

At the beginning of November, I promised a friend the fun wouldn’t end come November 30th, that I’d run a DeNoWriMo event for the month of December so that we wouldn’t lose our momentum, that we’d leap right into more writing or begin the editing process, so that these novels would get whipped into shape in lightning speed!

It’s December 5th. I’ve done nothing.

I haven’t opened my novel, much less started editing it. I haven’t run any online write-ins on Facebook, nor have I even thought about what sort of in-person events I could do. I have three books from other people I’ve committed to read and provide feedback on as soon as possible, and I ain’t started that, either.

What gives?

I’m calling it the NaNo hangover; November was so intense that all I want to do now is sit back and play Words With Friends. Or maybe Candy Crush, since there aren’t even words in that game. December is intense, too, of course, only in different ways; now I’m on the hook for carpooling kids to various Christmas performances, baking cookies for fundraising bazaars and Christmas class parties, shopping for and wrapping Christmas gifts, etc., etc, etc. It feels as if the writing/editing SHOULD go on the back burner in the face of all of this holiday hubbub. Eek!

So tell me, what do YOU do to haul yourself out of a writing/editing rut when you fall into one? Because I really need a swift kick to the derriere, an injection of writer-itis, to get back to it.