Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Charles Sheehan Miles Rocks Hard Core

I am in the middle of a blog tour for my new book Fighting Words, but couldn't resist posting about a trilogy I am currently reading that has blown my mind.


This is the 2nd part of a series. The first part of the series is:


The Thompson Sister series by Charles Miles Sheehan has left me speechless. I read the first set of books a year or so ago. I had the 2nd set (Rachel's Peril) on my Kindle for a while and just now got to them.

Damn. I wish I hadn't waited so long. I have been obsessively reading Rachel's Peril, racing home from work so I can get back to reading them.

That's all I'm going to write because I want to get back to reading, but if you haven't read these I strongly encourage you to do so. I am writing this post without CSM knowing. He didn't put me up to this. I don't even know him outside of an author event I met him at. The books are just so damn amazing I had to share with ya'll. Here is his website if you want to know more about a MAN who can actually write good romance novels. (Crazy, right?!)

OK, back to international espionage and romance that keeps making me cry.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fighting Words is LIVE!!

Hello all. I am stealing some of the HTML from the fantastic Carol at to create this lovely blog post for you. You can thank her for the graphics and what not. 

Yeay me, Fighting Words is live!!! Here are the purchase links (compliments of Carol). 

Purchase Links
     UK -
     CA -
Barnes & Noble

Don't those look nice :)  Yep, can't take credit for that. 

I currently have a blog tour going on where you can win a bunch of books by myself and other authors who graciously donated. Here is the link to sign up for the raffle. (Click where it says 'rafflecopter giveaway')


If you forgot what it's about, here is a synopsis. 

**This is a standalone novel.**

Sara has lived most of her life in silence, her only outlet being family BBQs where she sings like an angel. When her wild, guitar playing cousin talks her into singing at a club, her world is turned upside down. She is forced to face a world she has spent most of her life avoiding and is crippled with fear.

One set of dark, brooding eyes at a show in Cincinnati changes everything. Gio breaks Sara so he can rebuild her. He makes her feel alive in a way she's never experienced. Unfortunately, he's not what he seems and Sara isn't sure she can forgive him. Though his intentions are good, she knows a relationship cannot be built on lies so she retreats back to her silent world.

When Hollywood comes knocking on Sara's door, he's the only one who stands a chance at convincing her to leave her silent life and move to LA. Gio is determined to make Sara trust and love him, but Sara is stubborn and scared, a combination that no one is sure she can overcome.

*Warning* This book contains sex, backstage debauchery, and a good amount of barf bags. Recommended for readers over 18.

And finally, if you want to chat, I'm all ears!! Find me on the social media sites below. 
Social Links

Thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who are participating in this tour. You can find a list of them here. (You  have to scroll all the way to the bottom.) 

I appreciate all the support from the deepest part of my heart. This was an emotional book for me to write, and I hope you enjoy reading it. 

Thanks everyone!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Love, In Spanish (and a lot more)

So, I want to start with a disclaimer that I may or may not have just cried due to a single line in a book, and it may or may not have sparked this blog. I also want whoever is reading this to know that I'm about to bare myself to the world through this post, something I rarely do. Even if you've read all of my blog entries, you really don't know me at all. I'm a private person, only letting you see what I want you to see. The only glimpse into the Real Emily is through the L&J books I wrote. If you read those, then you know one side of me.

The other side of me is the woman who feels like a girl, and is floating through North America trying to figure out which way is up. This Emily is emotional, willing to endure the pain of losing a finger, but terrified of the ache brought on by a broke heart. It could be broken by a lover, a friend, a coworker, a demon boss (not mentioning names), or a casual acquaintance. They all hurt. This Emily is also a closet crier.  Please don't tell anyone.

In the book world, it's totally acceptable to cry over a story. It could be due to exquisite writing, a compelling story, a sad ending, a happy ending, or a combination of any of the aforementioned sob-worthy book elements. Sometimes though, an author writes a line that isn't all that moving for the general public. It's a line that is merely taking us from one sentence to the next, from one scene to another, or in my case is a line of dialogue that is merely moving the story along.

So let's take a pause here, because I'm obviously reading something, right? Have you ever had a line or a paragraph hit so close to home with you that it overwhelms you with emotion? I'm not talking about those "perfect" lines in Kristen Ashley books. No, I'm talking about a line that speaks to you personally because it feels as if the writer is living your life and detailing it on your e-reader.

I'll cut to the chase. Love, in Spanish by Karina Halle. If you read my blog regularly then you already know how I felt about Love, in English, the first book in the series. I write Goodreads reviews all the time, but taking the time to write a blog about a book means it meant something to me and probably is going into my 'favs' file in GRs.

Anyhoo, Karina Halle just happened to write a book about a Canadian woman who spends a month in Spain and falls in love. In the sequel, we get the hero, Mateo's, POV. It is not a retelling, but a continuation of their love story. Before I move on, let me say that Halle is one of those writers that I can only hope to one day be. She has a gift with words, pulling you (or me) into her stories to the point I can see them playing out as a movie in my head. Surprisingly, I haven't read her Experiment in Terror series, which she is best known for. She got me with the Artists Trilogy, a super gritty romance that had all the elements I crave in a good romance: action, adventure, shoot outs, hot sex, hot hero, hot heroine, danger, passion, car chases, and exquisitely compelling characters. Shit, I digress.

Back to Love, in Spanish and why I may or may not be dabbing my eyes with a towel. This line:

"I don't belong in Vancouver, and yet I don't feel like I belong here either."

And then this one:

"I'm just afraid that Spain doesn't want me."

Nice lines but not monumental, right? So why am I bawling? (Fuck the may or may not shit. I'm bawling. There I said it.)

I'm an American (a Midwestern Girl) living in Central Mexico. I had these grand ideas of the adventure I'd have and the love I'd find. I thought it would be where I met my future husband and perfected my Spanish. In truth, it has been seven months of 25% bliss and 75% misery. I am struggling, like Vera, to get a work visa, I've been burned by people and have sequestered myself in my apartment, filling my time with writing and reading. If you don't leave the house, no one can hurt you, right?

Like Vera, I don't want to go back to the United States. It's not that I don't love my country. In fact, being in Mexico has made me love my country even more. I miss my music, going to clubs and dancing to hip hop, a place with (mostly) functioning break lights on the car in front of you, and perfume free products. I rue that I'm missing the last years of Obama's term. I miss my mom.

...Yet, I'm not ready to come back. I don't know why. I can't put words to it. I left for a reason. I wanted to live as Thoreau said:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."

I don't think I've accomplished this. I will likely spend my life attempting to achieve this, and THAT will be why I do not die feeling as though I haven't lived. Maybe I'm supposed to go someplace else, though, because it feels like Mexico doesn't want me, just like Spain doesn't want Vera. I've shed more tears south of the border than I've cried in the last five years (book tears not included because those don't count, right?). Mexico is ripping me apart, but there has to be a reason. I can't see it now, but I have faith there is a reason. Waiting it out is killing me slowly, though. I don't wait well.

So as you can see (read), Halle had managed to write words I've thought, but only said out loud to my mother. Coincidence that she wrote them? Yes. Coincidence that of the myriad of books on my Kindle, I chose to read this one tonight? Nope.

Now that I've written a weepy blog and told you a couple of my fears, let me close with a few words about the actual book. It fucking rocks. I read something Halle wrote about how she wasn't sure she could write a contemporary romance after writing horror and super gritty romance. Well, she nailed it with Love, in English and again (so far) with Love, in Spanish. I'm in love with Mateo and Vera. I desperately want them to get their HEA, though I have a feeling I won't get it without being put through the emotional wringer.
Both are such well developed characters that it feels as if I could reach through the Kindle and touch them. Halle's writing is flawless as she uses words to purge the feelings of two fictional characters onto our e-reader screens. There's no confusing sentences, fucked up time lines, or embarrassing typos. (Things I may or may not be in the process of fixing in my next book that will be releasing December 15th. Thank you, Melinda, editor extraordinaire.)

Damn. I think I'm done. I've told you Mexico doesn't want me, I don't want to return to the States, I'm a little broken over here, Love, in Spanish is just as good (so far) as Love, in English, and that I have a book about to come out.  Whew, crammed quite a bit in there. I'm at 38% in Love, in Spanish and you will most likely be able to find a review on GRs in the next day or two for it. It's already five stars, I can tell you that.
And now you all know a little bit more about me. I'm not as tough as I might appear, but damnit, I'm a fighter and a believer. Things will work out. Even if they don't, it's OK because I'm already working on a new book for your reading pleasure. Now, if I magically find my Mateo and fall madly in love, you may have to wait a little bit for the book I have in progress. Fighting Words releases December 15th, so that one is in the bag. 
Here's the cover, and I'll let you know when it goes live.

Thanks for reading my overly personal blog that I most definitely bawled while writing.
Peace ya'll-


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fighting Words Cover Reveal

Hello all my wonderful book lovers (and the friends and family who read my blog just to be nice).  I appreciate ya'll way more than I could ever express. I am going to keep this short as I am at in internet cafe in Mexico and if you didn't know, their keyboards are different than ours and it is a pain in the ass.  There is also no English spell check so forgive me if  there are typos.  

Anyhoo, today is the grand unveiling of the cover for Fighting Words. This book has a sassy heroine cuz that's how I roll, but is less violent than the L&J series.  The cover (hopefully) reflects that.  I wouldn't leave you with out a few good one liners, so I'll close with this one from the book.

"I'm a little bit speechless over here. I gotta go down on a guy just to get a damn Big Mac, and you're kissing super hotties that get multiple hotel rooms for you. Really, I don't know what to say."

Adios people!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fighting Words Blog Tour

Hello all. I finished the first draft of Fighting Words. It is in the hands of some wonderful ladies who are kind enough to edit it for me. (Thank you, Melinda!!) My goal is to release by December 15th. There will be a blog tour beginning that day so I HAVE to be ready!!  Below is the link to the sign up sheet for bloggers.

You can check out the synopsis on Goodreads here:

Cover reveal coming soon. 

If you don't feel like clicking the link (not hating) I'll make it easy for ya. Here is the synopsis. If it appeals to you, add it to your TBR shelf. 

**This is a standalone novel.**

Sara has lived most of her life in silence, her only outlet being family BBQs where she sings like an angel. When her wild, guitar playing cousin talks her into singing at a club, her world is turned upside down. She is forced to face a world she has spent most of her life avoiding and is crippled with fear.

One set of dark, brooding eyes at a show in Cincinnati changes everything. Gio breaks Sara so he can rebuild her. He makes her feel alive in a way she's never experienced. Unfortunately, he's not what he seems and Sara isn't sure she can forgive him. Though his intentions are good, she knows a relationship cannot be built on lies so she retreats back to her silent world.

When Hollywood comes knocking on Sara's door, he's the only one who stands a chance at convincing her to leave her silent life and move to LA. Gio is determined to make Sara trust and love him, but Sara is stubborn and scared, a combination that no one is sure she can overcome.

*Warning* This book contains sex, backstage debauchery, and a good amount of barf bags. Recommended for readers over 18.

And finally, I'll leave you with a few teasers I made. Now, I don't profess to be the teaser queen, but it's a nice way to pass a Sunday afternoon when you may or may not be nursing a hangover. When Fighting Words goes live, I'll hook ya'll up will the 411. Until then, adios and happy holidays.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Will & The Fetal Position

So, my Kindle broke. I know, cue the waterworks and me in the fetal position. I think I cried more over my broken Kindle than my most recent break-up. I wasn't sure if I wanted to sob or drink. I'm in Mexico and didn't have high hopes I'd be getting a new Kindle shipped here. It was a sad sad day.

Part Two - I broke out the iPhone and although I don't have wifi at the house, I could access it at work (today). But that left me with the whole weekend and no books. No books!! Luckily, by the grace of some God, I had one book on it: The Will by KA, something that's on my giant TBR list. I heard that The Will was KA's grand return to epic storytelling. It got great reviews after Kaleidoscope didn't. I haven't read Kaleidoscope, but it was all over GRs that it wasn't "epic" in good KA fashion. I can't comment on that, but so far I've sobbed my eyes out while reading The Will on my phone.

It is epic.


Part Three - I was able to chat online with someone from Amazon (while on the clock) and my Kindle was still under warranty. (I knew it!) They're shipping me a new one! Cue the applause and confetti. AND they are shipping it to Mexico for free. Cue me jumping up and down in the English class I'm teaching. (The kids seemed a little confused.)

So thumbs up to Amazon. They were hella cool with me and more than happy to ship the Kindle. Right the fuck on.

That's it. Read The Will. It's epic. And if you have a Kindle, get the warranty.

On that note, deuces.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Nerd Girl Rocks and Something You Don't Expect

Hello all. After moving into new digs, I've finally found my mojo and started back on Fighting Words. A new job, visa drama, and moving all my shit to a new place (yet again) can really put a damper on one's inspiration. But fear not, I hope to have Fighting Words done by the end of the month. In the meantime...

Someone wanted to interview me again, AND this time they let me blog about whatever I wanted. So here is what I had to say. I'll let you know when it goes live on:  and

I get to write about whatever I want. Or at least, I think I do. So I'm going to take a leap of faith here and hope I don't piss anyone off with my topic: undocumented youth in the United States. You thought you were going to get some fluffy romance piece? Me too!!

I started out writing one book, Steel & Ice. By the end of the book, I knew there was going to be a sequel. There was just so much that still needed to happen and I didn't want a 750 page book.

But that wasn't the only unplanned aspect of the L&J series. Again, I started out writing one smutty novel with a little bit of Motorcycle Club romance thrown in. So how did undocumented youth, an incredibly sensitive immigration topic sneak into my smut? In order to answer this, I need to take us back a bit.

Picture it, Sicilly, 1947....

OK, it was, like, 2003 in the Midwest, and I was studying Spanish in college. I saw a sign looking for volunteers at a Latino Youth Center and decided to give it a shot. I wanted to improve my Spanish and thought it would be a good opportunity to do so. While in college, I was working as a cook at Applebee's. (Yep, just like my heroine, Elle, in the L&J series.) Like Elle, I began by cooking dinner for the kids each night. Unlike Elle, I eventually was hired on as staff and began teaching my own after school youth program twice a week. It would become my life for the next five years, and the kids would become my world.

I can't tell you the exact moment I realized most of my kids were undocumented. All I know is that by the time I put the pieces together, I'd become not only their confidant, but they'd become my cubs. It was after the first year that the stories started to emerge.

Like the typical American, I didn't know exactly how people crossed the Mexican/American border other than wading through the river. The kids taught me most people found other ways to cross, many of them dangerous. Mothers were determined to offer their kids a life their hometown south of the border couldn't provide. It was heartbreaking when one of my students came to class beaming with pride as she showed me her report card with straight A+s. Not straight A's. Nope. A+s. Realizing she would never be able to go to college in America and use that amazing brain of hers to find the cure for AIDS just about killed me.

My youth group kids didn't make the choice to come to the United States. They were brought to the country by well intending parents who thought they were doing what was best for their children, a sentiment that transcends culture. It is my opinion, that every mother, who is not on drugs, wants the best for her children, and will go to great lengths to provide the life she believes will achieve this.

One of my kids was brought to the United States as a baby and had few ties to his home country. He'd never visited the town he was born in, his Spanish was shotty, and being the intelligent teen he was, he realized his options were limited. Having a sixteen year old boy tell you, the adult, that he has no options besides selling drugs is a sobering experience. Being the fixer I am, I wracked my brain trying to come up with a less dangerous and illegal option.

I couldn't come up with one.

My kids are adults now, and I'm finding new gray hairs everyday. As they age, so do I. Unlike them, my options as an American citizen are limitless. Some of my kids have returned to their home country, some are doing their best to build a decent life for themselves by working in a variety of manners. Some are paying into a social security system they will never see a dime of. Others are in the wind, leading me to pray to the universe each night that they are safe and alive.

Do I have the great immigration solution? No.

Regardless, my kids are not "undocumented youth" to me, but people just like you and me trying to make a life and find happiness. We get so caught up in the rhetoric of the political situation surrounding immigration that I believe we forget we are dealing with real people, not numbers or statistics on a bill presented to the Senate or the House.

When I wrote Steel & Ice and realized how much of my life I was pouring into it, the kids had to be a part of the story. They are a part of my story and how I found a better life for myself than selling drugs and cooking riblets. (Though the cooks in American restaurants hustle harder than you could ever imagine.) At some point, the L&J series became pure fiction, but the stories you'll read involving Elle's youth group kids are all true. Some I lived through, and others are stories my families or other immigrants I've met in my life told me.

The L&J series was an opportunity for me to share stories that usually go unheard about kids you pass by everyday, yet have no idea what life is like for them. It was a chance for me to tell my story as well as theirs, and it was an honor to do so.

Thank you to all the youth and families who have changed my life. I couldn't be the person I am today if the universe hadn't put these people into my life, and shown me that there is a whole world out there I know nothing about. I'm me because I was afforded the great pleasure of seeing and experiencing what life is like for someone who is not a white, American woman. And for that, I will always be grateful from the bottom of my heart.

In reading this, I hope you too can look at undocumented youth not as merely a political situation, but as a group of young people trying to make the best out of a situation they had no say in.

And by the way, go read my books!

Here are the links to Steel & Ice, the first book in the L&J series, on all platforms where it's available. It is 99 cents and will stay at that price until the end of the year.


Q. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?

I received a journal for my 8th birthday, so I suppose I started writing then. I hold a bachelor's in Anthropology, a discipline that is writing heavy. With regards to writing fiction, smutty romance at that, I began working on my first book, Steel & Ice, in 2013. I'd been reading a lot of indie romance and found myself drawn to the grittier side of the genre. After a handful of mafia, cartel, and MC romances, I had a "what if" idea. What if this woman, who was a product of the streets herself, was trying to get her life in order and this too-good-to-be-true man walked in, disrupting the stability she had managed to create? What would that look like? How would he manage to break down her walls? From that what-if that lingered in my head for weeks was born Steel & Ice, and the rest of the L&J series.

Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

V. J. Chambers was my Sensei when it came to the actual process of writing. She helped me with soooo many of the finer details of publishing. I am pretty sure I asked her at least one question a day for a year, all of which she graciously answered.

I don't think I can pinpoint any one author who has influenced my writing. I think there are authors out there that I admire and aspire to reach their level of writing: CD Reiss, Kristen Ashley (of course), Tijan, Amy Harmon, Andrea Randall, Lili St. Germain, Charles Sheehan Miles, Karina Halle, to name just a few.

Q. Tell us about your characters and how they came to be? Have they been in your head for a long time?

My heroine, Elle, is me at 23. The kids she works with are a mash up of kids I've worked with over the last decade (shit, did I just give away my age?), and Chris and Aaron are based on real people. All the characters started similar to someone, but quickly took on a life of their own. Elle is the only character that remains most like her true representative. (Me, of course!) The series starts off based in the reality of my past. At some point though, we move into pure fiction. Even then, when Elle needs to make a decision or I needed to decide how she would react to something, I asked myself how I would react and wrote as such.

Chris is based on a woman I used to know who was hella hardcore. Aaron is also based on a real person, though the two never actually intersected in my life. They come from two different time periods and never met one another. Writing the scenes with the three of them was a blast as they have such great banter between the three of them. I often read dialogue out loud to make sure it was authentic. Some people didn't like the way Elle and Chris talked and thought it was fake. I laugh because when I go to my hometown and get with my girls, that's exactly how we talk. There is a diverse cast of characters from a variety of cultural backgrounds in the book. This is reflected in my circle of friends in real life, and therefore the dialogue reflects this as well.

Fernie is based on two young men I worked with in my past. They both had a profound influence on me and my life. There is a scene at County Lock-Up in which a conversation takes place between Elle and Fernie. The conversation didn't happen in jail, but it did happen. It was a frustrating conversation that would forever change my life. Getting to write it for the world to read was an honor as it offered me the opportunity to share with readers the lives of people they probably know nothing about. Fernie's story may be fiction, but the things he goes through in the book are not. His story is reality for many youth in America.

Q. What motivates you to write?

Sleep. I need sleep! I see scenes in my head and they keep me up at night.
Q. What is the hardest part of writing?

Most indie authors have lives outside writing. The have jobs, kids, husbands, and other regular life obligations. For me, finding time to put all that aside and get in the zone can be challenging. If I am worried about paying the electric bill, I can't write. If I am hung-over (god forbid), I can't write. So carving out time and finding peace of mind can be a challenge for me. I don't have kids, and all those women who are doing the mommy thing AND writing impress the hell out of me. Hats off to them!

Another challenge is writing sex scenes when I'm feeling not-so-sexy. You know, you're on your period, you haven't been on a date in ages, and you've sorta forgotten what sex is like. Those times! I have to dig deep and possibly beg my friends with men in their lives for some good material. Thankfully, they usually oblige.

Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I cuss a lot!! My mom read the books and asked if I REALLY needed to use the F word so much. I work at a professional job where I speak properly each day, but when I'm with my friends—whew, I have a sailor's mouth. I think it's from my seven years working in the kitchen with all men where the F word was used every other sentence—or sometimes every sentence.

I also learned that you can't please everyone. Those first few weeks, I scoured Amazon and Goodreads everyday looking at reviews. A bad review or low star rating would crush me, and I'd spend my whole day wallowing. I finally had to stop looking at reviews. You'd think the good reviews and five star ratings would cancel out the bad ones—nope! I had more positive reviews than negative, yet that one negative comment would be like a knife in my side. I'd start to reevaluate if I should be writing at all, and think "maybe I just suck and should give this up." Now that the whole series is out, I'm less stressed by reviews. I don't look at them too much, maybe once a month, and I find this offers me the opportunity to keep writing without the haters deterring me.

Q. Where do you get your ideas?

I'm writing a new book titled Fighting Words. It is still based on my life, but unlike the L&J series that was very much me, Fighting Words is based on a very small facet of my life. I have other books in my head, one of which I have the first three chapters written, and all draw from my life and personality. In Fighting Words, the heroine shares an obstacle with me. (No, I'm not telling you what it is!) It is something I deal with everyday and had to learn to manage, as does the heroine. It could be debilitating, but I refuse to allow it to be. The heroine, Sara, has not yet reached the point where she is ready to fight. During the book, we see her highs and lows as we follow her on a journey to overcome this obstacle. (Is it driving you crazy that you don't know what it is??!!) Of course, there's sex and a nice tall hottie for ya'll. It wouldn't be romance without that, right?

For Fighting Words, I had to create a new hero, and I knew I couldn't recreate J from the L&J series. J is my dream man, so naturally I wanted to make him all over again. I was mindful of this and had to think about what other qualities I could put into a man that would make him different from J, but still hot enough that I could write good sex scenes, because if I'm not in love with my hero I can't write good sex that readers will connect with. How can they connect if I can't? So I drew on my love of the outdoors and outdoor activities to create Gio, Sara's hero.

In the other book I started, Him and Her, the hero is based on a real person so it is easier to craft his character. The book is based on a relationship I had in Milwaukee. It was an "interracial" relationship, but we both hated that label. We were just two people in love. The focus of the book is about two foster kids, who despite their different skin colors, are more similar than different. Unfortunately, it's the outside world that can't seem to see past their different skin colors. I used to hear "Aw look, Emily has jungle fever." For him and me, we were just two people trying to make a relationship work, but the rest of the world was focused on the fact that he's black and I'm white.

What am I trying to say after all this rambling? All my books have some of me or my life. I write what I know. Yes, I do research to add parts that are not similar to me, but you will find a piece of my life in every book I write. As well, I'm an aggressive, Aries woman who takes risks and lives life like everyday is her last. I don't take the road less traveled; I pave my road where there was once a cornfield. I don't think I could write a weak, virginal heroine. All of my leading ladies will have a piece of me, even if it is just one small piece like Sara in Fighting Words.

Q. What does your family think of your writing?

Ha! My mom read all my books, but told my dad not to. Fighting Words is less gritty than the L&J series and my mom asked me, "So I'll be able to let my friends read it?" For the most part, they are supportive, but really it's my mom who matters most. I know reading the L&J series was hard for her because she was never sure what was real and what was made up. As well, Elle's mom is a real bitch. I made the mom in Fighting Words a great mom, so hopefully my own mom will enjoy that more.

Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?

Fuck the haters. Don't let anyone tell you what you can and can't write, but be ready for those one star reviews. Thick skin is necessary unless you are Kristen Ashley and everything you write is golden! As well, find a Sensei, another author who is willing to help you along. You will have numerous questions about writing, publishing, promotion, and other things that just pop up. Find someone or a tool to help you navigate the waters of indie publishing. At the same time, be cautious for scammers. Unfortunately, there are many out there.

Q. What book are you reading now?

I just finished Two Roads by Lili St. Germain. I'm so deep into the Gypsy Brothers series it's not even funny. I'm like a little kid kicking my feet on the ground because I want the last book NOW!! Before that I read the Songs of Perdition and Corruption series by CD Reiss. I already read Songs of Submission. That woman truly has a gift for crafting a sentence. It's like musical notes reading from one word to the next. I'm in awe.

Next up is Fallen Fourth Down by Tijan. I rarely read YA romance, but Tijan writes YA romance unlike anyone else I've come across. Her high school characters party like rock stars, plus there is just something about Mason that makes me all cougar-ed out. :)

I anxiously awaiting the next book in the Fae Chronicles by Amelia Hutchins.

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Emily is a Midwestern Gal hailing from the United States, but could be anywhere as you read this. Currently residing in Mexico, adventure feeds her soul, and offers great writing material. She loves kids and working with kids, but can only handle caring for four-legged furry friends. A crazy dog and laid back cat have trained her to be their partner in life. After coming from a snowy climate, Emily and the animals are loving the sun Mexico has to offer each and every day. Vices include Swedish Fish, ignoring chores in favor of reading, and caring too much for people in her life.

She chose to write this bio in third person as she is an Aries, and found writing in first person ended up with her writing an excessively long life story. Aries like to talk about themselves. It is something Emily is working on being more mindful of. You can contact her on any of the social media platforms below and she will respond, as her mom gave her the gift of gab.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Gabachita Diaries

Hello all. Long time no see. I've been living it up while trying to write a book. It can be a bit challenging to party all night and write all day, but I've giving it my best shot.

Since I've been in Mexico, a common question (among the same 5 or so I always get) is if there are things I miss from home. Sure, I miss my friends and family, but people want to know of other more specific or material things I miss. I am slowly coming out of the honeymoon phase I've been in with Mexico, and this is what I've been missing lately.

1. Chicago radio stations. Not just the hip-hop, which I miss greatly, but the diversity of music. I used to roll through Chitown on 94 or 294 straight channel surfing, looking for new music that hadn't made it to Milwaukee yet. I'd also listen for local artists in Spanish and English. I am lucky enough to be in a more diverse part of Mexico, musically speaking, but the radio kinda sucks. There's your typical Norteño music, corridos, cumbia, and the dreaded banda (shivering as I type). There are some English stations, but they're pretty bad. It's either pop, techno-ed out pop a la gay bar style, hard rock from the 70s and 80s, and Hall and Oates. Seriously, there is some bad 80s shit going on here on the radio. (and I might not have spelled Hall and Oates right, oops...) So, that's item one.

2. Next up—the traffic patterns. Let's just say that there are traffic signs and signals, but people don't necessarily follow them. It's survival of the fittest on the road. Luckily, I drive a big car, so people move out of the way for me. I wrote a rap called Chaos En La Calle that I'll bust for you some time. (That's 'chaos in the street' in English, and I probably won't actually be rapping anytime soon.)

3. Black people. Man, I miss black people. Not dark skinned Mexicans, but African Americans. I miss using my super greasy slang. I miss soul food, and potlucks for any occasion. I miss the diversity of America in general, but mostly I miss African American culture. (I thought my red Pumas, red and white Puma T, and white leather hat were hella pimpin' last night. Shit I shoulda taken pics! Sadly, no one saw how pimperific my hat was. Don't get me started on my red Jordans that only Mexicans who've lived in the states can appreciate...) To get even more specific, I miss black people in Milwaukee. I miss Tunisia, and Nicole, Shaquita and Marilyn. I really miss all my COA peeps, especially Mr. Goode. And I miss how you accepted the white girl, who loves hip-hop 
and doing things in a janky manner, into your folds.

4. Infrastructural organization. That's all I'm going to say about that.

5. And last but not least, I miss my hard-to-find hair products made for women with kinky curls and a sensitive scalp. I write this with a bit  of a rash on my hair line from a new product I tried. I want no sulfates (allergic), no parabens, no alcohol, and no fragrances in my products. Totally not finding that shit here. In fact, let's just say that I'd like all my products to be dye free. I'm not sure what's up with it, but everything is perfumed out here. Laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap, all purpose cleaners, face creams, body creams, hair shit, and even just a bar of soap. Sure, we have that in the States, but you can always find dye free products relatively easily. Here, not so much. And for a lady who is the queen of hives, this is no bueno. *scratching at my braids*

Monday, August 25, 2014

Someone Wanted To Interview Me!!

Hello folks. I did this interview for a blog and thought I'd share.

Where are you from?
I was born in northern Indiana on the Michigan border. I've lived in five states and two countries.

Tell us your latest news.
I am taking a pause on the L&J series to write a standalone novel. Oh, and I packed my whole life and my cat and dog into my car and moved to Mexico two months ago. Everyday is an adventure, and I can promise you there will be a book at some point about my experiences, because it has been one hell of a ride!

When and why did you begin writing?
I received a journal for my 8th birthday. I've been journaling ever since. I've written short stories before, but only in high school. I hold a bachelor's degree in Anthropology, and the nature of the field is such that you do ALOT of writing. It was all academic writing of course, as well as reading.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
While I was writing Melted & Shattered. I would run home from work and hit the laptop until late at night. I guess it was when ideas started to go full force in my head, screaming to be let out, that I felt like a "writer." Or a fiction writer, I suppose.

What inspired you to write your first book?
My BFF turned me on to the Kindle and indie authors.  I realized I liked the grittier romances with antiheroes. A story idea came to me and I sent it to an author I befriended. It was mostly a bunch of ramblings like, "What if this happened?" She gave me the thumbs up and told me to write it. I told her I wasn't a writer, and asked if she could write it. Of course, she declined, insisting that it was my story and I needed to write it. So I did.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I tend to get an idea in my head, always a "what if this happened?" type of idea, and I usually have the beginning and the ending right away. I make a super janky outline with the main events that need to happen to get us from point A to point B. Then I write, letting the ideas naturally come to me as I create the details of the story.  Things often happen in my books that weren't initially planned. My hero in the L&J series wasn't Native American to begin with. He and Elle, the heroine, were having an after sex chat and she said something like, "I don't even know your last name." As I created this after-sex dialogue between the characters, he suddenly became Lakota, a culture we studied at length in a Native Americans of North America class I took. His culture is woven through the entire story.

In the book I'm writing, a song lyric inspired me. It's a Weezy song where he raps about a hoe named Tammy, and voila, one of my characters was nursing a broken heart from being cheated on by Tammy, "the hoe." (I hope no one named Tammy is reading this! If so, no offense. Blame Weezy)

In the L&J series, I didn't intend for undocumented youth and immigration to become such an intrical part of the book. As the story unfolded in my head and on the computer screen, the nature of the story demanded it. I didn't intend to mix politics with my smutty smut smut. It just happened. Though if you know me, and know that Elle is me, you would know that it makes sense. With this info in mind, read the books and you will see why.

How did you come up with the title?
For Steel & Ice, it was a conversation between a friend and me. I had no idea what to name it. We threw around titles. I asked other betas. In the end, Steel & Ice seemed appropriate. I already knew there would be a second book and Melted & Shattered made sense.
For J Speaks, I have no idea. It just came to me. It is his chance to have his voice heard as Steel & Ice is all in Elle's POV.

For Us, I was at a loss. I decided to write the book and see what came to me. There is a theme in the book that I won't say so as to not give spoilers, but it lead to the title being Us. I also liked that it was short. If I couldn't go with the something & something theme I had going with Steel & Ice and Melted & Shattered, I liked the idea that the final book would be two letters. Something very simple, kind of how we want love to be—simple.  Though, we all know if never is.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I received a review where the woman said I made her think about people in a different way. There were characters in the L&J series different from anyone she'd ever met, and reading about their lives allowed her to make informed decisions rather than judging people based on what she thought she knew. It wasn't my intent, but I thought it was freaking awesome. And I knew exactly what she was talking about, which scenes had informed her, and certain pieces of dialogue where you learn about the lives of others that you will never know if you don't meet someone from a different culture and actually listen to what they have to say.

How much of the book is realistic?
I'm Elle. Most of Steel & Ice is my story up until the ending. J is sadly pure fiction, but he is my idea man. The teens in the book are either based on a specific teen, or a mixture of a few. Fernie is two teens that I pulled different personality traits from. Many of the scenes at the Center really happened. Most of the bad situations that Elle talks about from the past in Steel & Ice happened to me, or are based on a situation I lived with a little extra something to take it to the next level.

After Steel & Ice, we get into pure fiction, but when I needed to decide how Elle would react to a certain situation I thought about how I would react or what I would do. She is hardcore, yet has deep emotions. She loves fiercely, has an inappropriate sense of humor, and is loyal to those she cares for. She may not seem like an overt nurturer, but she naturally takes care of the people around her. It's not a conscious action. It's just who she is.

The transformation she goes through during the course of the books is true, though it didn't happen like in the books. I did go through a transformation, and my teens helped me to want to be a better person, but I never had drug cartel shoot outs in Mexico!
I also worked at Applebee's for seven years as the only woman in the kitchen.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think I answered most of this in the above Q.

What books have influenced your life most?
Non romance novels – Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach, and Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald Jampolsky greatly affected my personal belief system.
Romance novels – I read Belinda by Anne Rice when I was 16 and fell in love with the story. I related to it as Belinda had to straddle two worlds; one being the adult world she was forced into, and the other being one where she still had to exist in this teenage world she didn't fully fit into.

I also love how Kristen Ashley creates such compelling side characters. Chris became a major player in the L&J series, and by the end of Us, I knew she had to get her own book because I had created such a rich background for her as well as new situations she will need to deal with. 

Madeline Sheehan is the queen of MC romance. Her UnDeniable series is a work of art. I recently finished UnBeloved and amidst the violence and action, I found myself bawling.

In the Stillness by Andrea Randall shook my world up. I had the honor of meeting Andrea and I told her that she wrote my own personal hell and I loved every minute of it, even if I cried for most of the book. As well, Making Faces by Amy Harmon turned me upside down. It was gut wrenching. Bawled through that one too! Both books are flawlessly written, and they pull these incredibly deep emotions from the reader (or at least me) and I hope that I can give readers the same opportunity to go on an emotional journey with the characters. If I can get even close to using words to convey emotion in the manner that Harmon and Randall do, I would be a happy lady.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider your mentor?
V.J. Chambers was my mentor when it came to the actual process of writing and publishing. Her book, Slow Burn, was the first gritty romance I read. Previously, I was reading what my friends read, which was more Contemporary Romance and Erotica. I had this moment when I read Slow Burn that I said to myself, "Damn, I've been missing out on all this great action!" That's when I realized I could have action, romance, and steamy sex all in one book. Chambers also is the grammar queen. We exchanged various emails about commas, quotes, and when to use lay, lain, and laid. (And she actually knew!) Chambers was a high school English teacher, so she had the answer to everything. I couldn't have published Steel & Ice without her guidance.

I was used to academic writing—double spaces between sentences, light on the commas, and direct and emotionless descriptions. I struggled at first to put the emotion in the book that it needed. I ended up reading a bunch of old journals where I poured my heart out on paper (it was a rather depressing read) and used the ideas. There are a few places where I found things I wrote in my journal that went almost word for word into a book.

What book are you reading right now?
I just finished rereading Fallen Crest High by Tijan. I read Mason, a prequel, and adore him so much I wanted to keep going. I don't read much YA, but Tijan has a way of making her YA characters compelling enough that I am right there with them in the story.

I also just finished The Ride by Jaci J. and the sequel, Crash and Burn, is next up.
I'm waiting on a handful of books: Two Roads by Lili St. Germain,  Addicted After All by the Ritchie sisters, UnDenying by Madeline Sheehan, and Fallen Fourth Down by Tijan to name a few.

Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?
Hell yes! Lili St. Germain's Seven Sons series is pure brilliance. She's got me hooked on her series like a crack addict.

I also love K.S. Adkins Detroit After Dark series. We've chatted and become homies. She lives in Detroit, which is not far from where I grew up, so I relate to her books as Detroit becomes a character all it's own. There is something about the grittiness of Midwestern big cities. I blame it on the fact that we are under a few feet of snow for half the year. I lived in Southern California for a while where it's basically paradise, especially for a Midwestern girl. The sun shines everyday, the ocean is indescribable, and the hills and mountains are something out of a postcard. In Detroit and my hometown, you can go weeks without seeing the sun in the winter. It's depressing and the murder rate goes up around mid January. Adkins really captures this harsh living environment in her books.

Amelia Hutchins is another new-ish author who I like. She wrote the Fae Chronicles. I was obsessed with them! There are five and only three are out. I was so depressed when I finished the third book. I wasn't ready to be done. It's PA, but not super out there where I need to keep a list of all the made up words and their meanings. Oh, and did I mention the sex? That lady can write the hell out of some sex scenes. I needed a fan blowing on me while I read because I was so hot and bothered!

What are your current projects?
I am writing a book that is 180 degrees from L&J. The heroine is still sassy, but not as hardcore as Elle. Whereas Elle is all me, the heroine in my new book is only a piece of me. It's hard to say much about it without giving it all away. The heroine has obstacles to overcome, obstacles that have debilitated her and her ability to live life to its fullest. As well, the person people see and the person she really is are different. Her major obstacle is one I had to overcome, and the public Emily and the private Emily are similar, but not the same.

The book is called Fighting Words, and I hope to have it out by early October. The heroine is in a band, so there is a lot of music in it. It is set in the Midwest, and again we will see a heroine go though a transformative journey. I can't think of much else to say at this time that won't spoil for ya'll. You'll just have to read it to find out.

What would you like my readers to know?
Something I related to in Amelia Hutchins' books, is that it was clear her writing got better with each book. Steel & Ice was the first fiction book I ever wrote. It's a little rough around the edges, but please keep going. When my mon read Melted & Shattered, she said, "Wow, honey, your writing has really improved."  It was a compliment, but I was also like, "Uh, thanks Mom... I think."

Also, Steel & Ice has a lot of drug usage in it. It's not there for shock or some random reason. Part of Elle's journey deals with her excessive weed smoking, and how she finds her way to a different type of life. You need to see how deeply enmeshed she is in the drug world in order to grasp the gravity of how she pulls herself out of it. At the same time, as you read through the series you'll find there is much more to Elle and the story than just drugs. Though it may seem like a dominant theme in Steel & Ice, by the time you get to Us, Elle has so much more going on in her life that the drugs takes a back seat to the adventure and romance. 

That's all I got for tonight. Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why Am I In Mexico? & Love, In English

Hello all!!

After a bit of a book slump, I picked up Love, In English by Karina Halle. 


It's been on my 400-something long TBR list. I fell in love with Halle after reading the Artists Trilogy. I'm a big fan of gritty romance, and the fact that part of it was set in Mexico worked for me. Picking up Love, In English was just what I needed to get out of my book funk, but it has turned out to be more than that. Dejame exlicar. Let me explain.

I am an American gal who packed all her shit into her Chevy Impala, including two four legged partners in crime—Andre, my cat and Darla, my dog, and moved to Mexico. Did I get some fantastic job offer? No. Did I meet a man and follow him to Mexico? No. Was I deported??? Nope.

When I was in the process of getting things together in the States in order to move, people asked me all the time why I was going to Mexico. Now that I'm here, I get asked by almost every new person I meet, "Why are you here?"

Usually it starts with, "Are you studying here?" No. Then, "Are you working here?" Well, I'm trying to get a legit job so I can get a work permit, but for the moment I'm writing romance novels. Finally, when they just can't figure it out, "So, really, why are you here?"

My answers vary depending on my mood, but if I had to give you a 100% honest answer, it would be, "I have no idea. It just felt like something I needed to do."

I loved Vera's answer in Love, In English about how she needed to see more of the world in order to study the cosmos. My educational background is Anthropology, so naturally I'm interested in other cultures, and Spanish being my second-ish language (still working on it), it made sense to go somewhere south of the border. I have friends in Mexico... so here I am. How can I understand culture if I don't get out in the world and see it for myself?

Another honest answer that I have only said out loud once since I've been here (but I'm about to share with the world apparently) is that I'm looking for something here. What is it? Fuck if I know. But I'm searching... for something. This illusive meaning for why we're all here that keeps evading me. That's what I'm looking for. At 15, I thought I might actually find the answer one day. At 34, I've realized I'll never find the answer, but I still wanted to give it a shot I suppose.

On so many levels, I've related to Vera. I have not met the man of my dreams or fallen in love yet, though I still have hope. Unfortunately, I'm a giant here at 5'9" in one of the shorter parts of Mexico. Eh, c'est la vie. Though I can say that speaking in a language that is not your native one does make you bolder with your statements. I recently told a dude his eyes were my favorite part of his face. (Maybe not the most suave way of saying it, but it was the best I could muster in my slightly broken Spanish.) There was a moment that passed between us, to which I quickly looked away, slightly embarrassed by what I'd just said, but also feeling like, "Well, it's not like I told him in my own language that I wanted to jump his bones. So it's not thaaaat bad, right?" When you are using a language that you haven't quite mastered, and are in a place where you are clearly the outsider, it can be freeing. You can say shit that you wouldn't normally say because, hell, you can always blame it on the language barrier.

So yeah, it's easier to be honest in a foreign language. I think that was my point.

I recently finished writing the latest installment in the L&J series where there is sex, drugs, violence, drug cartels, an MC, lots of cussing, kidnappings, and did I mention sex? I am currently working on a standalone that is night and day different from the L&J series. The only similarity is that the heroine is a sassy gal. Being one myself, I just can't imagine writing an innocent virginal heroine. I wouldn't even know how.  So in this regard, Love, In English also stuck out to me as it is very different from the Artist Trilogy. It's not gritty (so far. I'm 26% in.) nor has there been any sex, though I do see some on the horizon.  Yeay! For this reason, I find myself relating to Halle and her writing style. I stalked her ass during my Artist Trilogy obsession, and discovered that like me, she is well traveled.  Maybe underlying the adventurer's spirit is a sense of restlessness, of wanting to know what else is out there.  I'm shrugging my shoulders here. Regardless, I think it's the diversity of life that allows one to write vastly different books, rather than staying in one niche of the romance genre. Not that it's a bad thing per se, but for me, the ideas for books I have in my head all stem in some way from a life experience I've had. Since my experiences have been diverse, my books will likely reflect that.

Like Vera, I don't have anyone attached to me. No kids. No man. Just my two four legged homies that travel the continent with me. Also like Vera, I'm not sure where I belong. And like her as well, I find it easier to be alone, yet there is a lingering desire for social interaction. I was barely 10% into the book when I thought, "Does Casa de las Palabras exist? Or a place like it? And where do I sign up???"

In the part of Mexico I'm in, I'm just one step down from a circus freak because I live alone and am my age without kids or a husband. Again, I'm shrugging my shoulders. I want a man, I just can't seem to find one. And sorry, but I like the one's tall enough to be in the NBA. Sue me. I like 'em big!

So this is my rambling blog about how I need to be writing my book, Fighting Words, yet I really want to keep reading Love, In English and Karina Halle is my new lady crush.

On a similar but slightly divergent topic, those eyes I liked so much—totally wrote them into Fighting Words. So when you read my next book (please read it), every description and every emotion played out in the hero's eyes are real. Seriously, this dude has some off da chain eyes. Maybe he'll let me show you, or maybe not. We'll see.

I hope you all are chasing your dreams and searching for answers to unanswerable questions. If not, what's the point of life, right?

I'll leave you with a few pics of Mexico.

Deuces mis amigos-

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What Is Going On With Elle & J?

Buenos tardes people. I tend to blog about random things and only talk about my books a little bit here and there. I thought I'd write a blog dedicated to L&J since Us has been released and Elle and J finally got their HEA... or did they?

I wrote Steel & Ice for a year in secrecy, not wanting to tell anyone in case I didn't finish it. Although it's rough around the edges and I know my writing got better with each book, it was the beginning of a journey for me. It was also the beginning of a journey I would take with a grip of fictional characters who became my children. Eh, maybe not my children, but they are very much a part of me. Each book found me more and more lost in the world of Missouri Mayhem. It's a surreal feeling, truly. I talk about these characters like they really exist, and thankfully I've found people in my life who are willing to listen to me ramble.

Us is not the final book in the series, but it wraps up quite a bit of Elle and J's love affair. Kinda like the Undeniable series, you will get more of Elle and J in the next books in the series. (Did I mention I just read UnBeloved and it was AWESOME!?) I realize there is still a lot hanging when it comes to the MC. Yes, I did that on purpose.  I, personally, don't like series where the first couple books are full of action and adventure, and then the next books are just romances with people bringing drama on themselves. Like, the action runs out, man. The next books in the L&J series (which I might need to rename...) still have a lot of action yet to come. So I hope you are all down for the ride, cuz I got all kinds of fun lined up for ya. 

I received a few questions from readers already that I want to address, but can't due to spoilers. As I said above, the story of Missouri Mayhem is far from over. Anything that was not resolved at the end of Us was done so purposefully. As well, I introduced new characters (Isabel, Cash, and Link to name a few) and you have to wait to find out what's up with them. And I can promise you, I have a plan for all of them as well as José :)

If you want to message me on any of the following social media sites, feel free. I'll answer your questions about anything you felt was unresolved at the end of Us. I have an answer most likely because I have a plan for everyone :)

There will be a tour for Us in late August and I will have more of Barbara Young's fabulous handmade glass jewelry to raffle off.  If you haven't read Steel & Ice, you need to. Gotta start somewhere, and Steel & Ice is where it's at. 

OK, going to get back to writing my next book. Wanna know what it is? Sorry, you're SOL. It's a secret for now :)

Happy reading mi gente-