Thursday, March 16, 2017

I was going to write a book...



I was going to write a book. Honestly, I don't even completely remember the original plan outside of that. I do know, I definitely was NOT going to write a love triangle. Definitely, freaking not. There's just no way to write those and make everyone happy. Ever. I was NOT going to try. 

Wait. I do remember. I remember I was going to write about a guy who lost all of his memories. Forgot everything about his past, his life, his family. Everything. Except Her.

God, does it get any more romantic than that?!

That's what I was going to write.

The tragic story of a man who struggled to remember the love everyone wanted him to forget. Because, how dare he remember a girl...a girl who as all wrong...when he couldn't remember his parents. His carefully crafted future. His obligations. His history. 

Then, as I sat there, typing away at this new story I found quite exciting, the words were just rolling. 

One chapter. Done.

Second chapter...looking good.

Wait.

Who the hell is Gunnar?

What the hell kind of a name is Gunnar?

Why the hell is this GUNNAR in my story??????

That's when I heard it. The taunting giggles. The quiet whispers. And then, the chirping sounds of mean little elves as they sang,

'Gunnar is here to stay - he won't go away. 
And Gunnar's his name, no one cares if you think that it's lame. 
Suck it up, butter cup and find your story's new angle,
 because Gunnar is here to welcome you to the hell that is writing a love triangle'.

And that's when shit got really complicated...

So complicated in fact, I no longer wanted to write a book. I wanted to write two.

There you have it. Forget Me Not now has a buddy, Memories Made...out NOW and set to get you all confused and ready for FORGET ME NOT which will release on April 2nd (which also happens to be my birthday...which makes it sound like this is a coincidence, it's so not. I planned it. The whole thing. Well, not the date of my birth. That was my mother. Release date - that one - all me.)

Anyway - Memories Made - Free and exclusively available at the link below (I'd click it, but I already read it.) 











Monday, March 6, 2017

Good Writers Are Good Listeners



I'm an introvert by nature, an exceptionally shy one at that, so I've always been more prone to placing attention on others rather than myself. I'm more than happy to have you talk about yourself for hours on end if that means no one's looking at me or expecting me to form sentences. Out loud.

I'm also a seasoned bartender (which many have confused for therapist over the years) AND because this shit runs in the family, I'm also the daughter of a professional Life Coach/ Counselor. My whole life, people have been coming to my front door (literally and figuratively) to spill their guts. Before it was to my mother, now, it's to me.

You can't begin to imagine the things people tell me. The stories I've heard. The things I KNOW about people I can never un-know. It's an honor to be allowed in and to be shown this intimate side of people's souls. A gift I never take lightly or for granted.

But, it's also an awesome responsibility, honoring people's trust, keeping their secrets. Especially when you're a writer and everything you come in contact with is potential writing material!

And it is. Writing material.

Hear me out.

To write honestly, to write emotionally and profoundly, you must be a good listener. You can only create multi-dimensional characters if you understand the multitude of dimensions human beings are made of. If you've seen below the surface. Heard their most personal stories and witnessed their private thought processes.

I don't share people's secrets in my writing. But, I harness their experiences in my own way, taking the emotions and consequent actions I've witnessed and recreating new characters and situations to apply them to, helping me create more genuine, more relatable stories.

I've been blessed with an extraordinary life. In my thirty-plus years, I've experienced more than most. Much of which has been heartache. Loss. And abuse. I've witnessed first-hand the damage of addictions and mental illness. I've become familiar with death and grief. I've been practicing since childhood. But, I've also traveled the world. I've driven across this country many, many times. I have been exposed to people of all cultures and beliefs. Have eaten foods in the countries they originated. I'm fluent in two languages and can muddle my way through more in a pinch. Lived in nearly every terrain. Been at home slinging drinks in the city of Las Vegas and felt completely in my element living life on a ranch riding and training horses day in and day out. I've been blessed. I can write about A LOT of stuff. BUT, I don't only want to write about me. My thoughts. My feelings. Diverse as they may be, they're still only mine.

So, consider this my warning as well as a thank you. Share. Vent. Cry. I'll listen. I'll support. And this is always a judgement free zone where secrets are treasured and trust is valued. But, those parts you share of yourself stay with me. They become a part of my human experience, twine in with my thoughts, my heart and my passion. My writing.

I craft stories by nature. I create from my heart. And what you've put there, comes out in a new form, with new life. I'll always be a listener. A watcher. An observer.

But I'll always be a writer, too.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

#TrueStoryTuesday



This one time, at band camp...Kidding.

I never went to band camp. I went to horse camp, but no good story comes to mind from those days, so that's not where this is going.

Let's start over.

I write romance novels. Chances are, that's what ties you and me together. Our love for...well, love. And who can blame us? Love has the power to bring out the best and the worst in us. It can make us strong or be our greatest weakness. It can make us move mountains or make us do some of the dumbest shit in the history of dumb shit. In short, love is entertaining as hell.

And it doesn't even have to be fictional.

For example...

When I was in my early twenties I fell for this guy...we'll call him Noah. True Story or not, I must maintain some sense of dignity in my more humiliating moments.

Anyway, Noah was funny and smart and gorgeous and so completely totally all wrong for me. He was bad news and, because love made me stupid but heartache made me scared, I knew from the moment he began dowsing me in his charms that I needed to stay away from him as far as humanly possible. 

Naturally, we saw each other nearly every day. Had all the same friends. Went out to all the same places. Hung out. Talked and laughed for hours on end at times. But, always, in the back of my mind the voice nagged on to not be fooled. He was a player. A cheater. And I was far better off being his friend.

Thing is, you can't be friends with a guy like that. And the more attached I became, the harder it was to watch him be that charming, flirty guy with girls who were dumb enough to take a chance on him. (No bitterness there :-P) 

So, I did the only sensible thing I could. I increased the distance between us. By about 2000 miles. I moved. Not just because of him, but a lot because of him. And, because love and twenties equals dumb, so you do dumb shit like move across the country to stop some hot guy from flirting with you.

As I was driving across county, through deserts and mountains and emptiness, I passed an abandoned building sitting in the middle of no man's land. It reminded me of a prison. Fitting when you think about it...anyway, it was covered in graffiti of all kinds and right there, smack in the middle of it all, in huge writing were the words 'I love Noah' surrounded by a big heart. Not kidding. I cursed, hit the gas and pressed onward.

Fast forward six months, and I'm making the same trip home. Because, love and dumb and twenties, and I couldn't get over him. 2000 miles did NOTHING to get him out of my system. 

Then, as I passed that same shit building, I noticed it had some new art...where it had originally said 'I love Noah', it now simply said, 'Noah is Back'.

Talk about a freaking sign!

Our love was destined to be epic.Noah was my soulmate. Obviously.

And it wasn't long after I got back that our paths crossed and we continued our ridiculous games, until finally, one night, we kissed. Magic, right? Wrong. Worst kisser ever. No connection. No life changing nothing. 

We're dumb in our twenties. 

Sometimes I still think about him and pretend the kiss wasn't as bad as it was.

When it comes to love and our innate desire for epic romance, we can be dumb in our thirties too.

#TrueStoryTuesday





Monday, August 29, 2016

It's Monday - 'READ ON' Day

It's Monday-FUN Day! 

Wait...that's not a thing. Let's make it a thing! Better yet...let's come up with our OWN new thing. Like...Monday-'READ ON' Day! I don't know about you guys...but I think that has a nice ring to it ;-)



So, in honor of Monday - 'READ ON' Day, how about some new books?!

(Yes. The answer to that should always be 'YES'.)

And, you're in luck...I've got a few for ya ;-)


If you've been reading the pINK series it's time to officially meet RIOT and MEMPHIS :-D




*****Eleven is a novelette and intended as a prequel to the novel Eight. Both are a part of the pINK series*****

With graduation coming up, Nathanial ‘Memphis’ Turner is feeling pretty good about his future. Maybe he’s not on the fast track to making all his dreams come true, but the road he’s on will get him there eventually. Because she’s on it with him. His love. His life.

Stone ‘Riot’ Rousseau has been the nutty peanut butter to his jelly since she was five, and no matter how hard their parents have tried to keep them apart, there’s never been one without the other.

But that’s all about to change…

“It took eleven years to make her mine for good and eleven hours to lose her forever.” ~ Memphis Turner 


Download HERE


But wait...there's MORE!

I recently joined up with six other authors to put together a sexy, fun set and now, it's finally LIVE!




Holding a Hero 
When things go wrong…hold on tight and don't let go. These sexy, larger-than-life heroes—firefighters, cops, bad boys, Rock stars and Navy Seals—will hold you through the night and keep you safe from all harm. Six full length novels and one bonus novella by best-selling and award-winning Romance authors. This set is available for only a limited time. It's only 99 cents or FREE if you're in KU!!


Burst Into Flame by Lyssa Layne 
For Dr. Katy Garrity, life is a whirlwind, and the New York Fire Department is the heart of the storm. When sparks fly between her and her late husband's best friend, can they find a way to make it work?

Guilty Until Proven Innocent by Deb Julienne
When a photo journalist gets hit in the crossfire, a cop falsely accused of killing a fellow office must make the sacrifice…only love can set them free.

Unhurt by KS Thomas (See...that's me :-P)
Joss Kelley will do anything to save her son, even if it means making impromptu marriage proposals to random strangers. It's just her luck the man who accepts is Derek Tice - An Ex Navy SEAL in need of a new mission and Joss and her son just might be it.

Body, Ink, and Soul by Jude Ouvrard 
Nix has finally found the perfect man and the life she wants...until she meets Levi, the charming, tattooed sexy bad boy. Will Nix stay true to her heart or will her body sent her life spiraling out of control?

119 Days by RaeAnne Hadley 
Celeste was happily divorced for 5 years but the nights were becoming lonelier. She decided a one night stand could fill a lonely night but her target has something else in mind.

Call Me Cowboy by D’Ann Lindun 
Rock star Johnny Cortez is being targeted by a killer, sending him and hunting guide Montana Weaver racing across the Colorado Rockies.

Forever Love by Melissa Keir 
Can two former companions become friends again, or will the sparks turn a childhood friendship into a forever love?

Download HERE

There...how's that for a reading fix?! Now off you go to celebrate Monday - 'READ ON' day :-D
READ ON ~

K.

 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Same thing, different results...

 
I go paddle boarding pretty regularly. At least once a week, twice if I can coordinate schedules with my SUP buddy to make it happen.

Aside from the fact that it's without doubt one of my favorite things to do, I constantly find myself amazed by how each trip out onto the water continues to vary from the time before. We launch at the same spot nearly every time. Usually at the same time of day, same day of the week...and yet, something is always strikingly unique about the experience.

Today it was fog. Creepy as fuck, fog. There's always a little something eerie about not being able to see what floats beneath the surface, but the eerie factor multiplies by about a hundred when you also can't see what's coming or going ABOVE the surface.

Regardless, it was beautiful and as always, completely worth it.

Writing. It's kinda the same.

I mean, you'd think after writing something in the way of 20 plus love stories, they'd start to sound the same, begin to retell themselves in some way. Maybe, get boring even. For me. I don't know about you...

But somehow, they don't. Somehow, sitting down at the same time every night, at the same computer with the same coffee and the same intention of writing a romance novel, still continues to deliver new and different results.

Strange. And sort of fascinating. But I'm going to leave it there, because I'm not trying to understand (or jinx!) the hows and whys. I'm perfectly fine with a 'that's just how it is' and a 'keep on keepin' on' as long as it gets the job done.

So, there ya have it. 

Some real deep thinking (yes, that's sarcasm) from someone who only slept four hours last night and hasn't had nearly enough coffee to be all that insightful but who totally thinks this was worth sharing :-P



Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sarcasm. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere.

Last year, at a writer's conference, I was invited to sit on a panel about writing humor. When I told my brother (the stand up comic) about this, he asked if that was the humorous part.
He doesn't think I'm funny.
He's a jackass.
I'm hysterical.

I never set out to write funny books. Truth is, most of my books don't sound all that funny at all when you break them down to just content. But, what I do set out to do, is be real. Write real feelings. Real experiences. And sometimes, real trauma. The reality is, a joke can be made even under the worst conditions, at the most inappropriate of times. Especially, when your main source of humor stems from deep-seeded sarcasm and morbid wit. Which, incidentally, most of mine does.

A Place For Laughs...


I find that much like in real life, the best place to drop a funny one liner is when you least expect it. Right there in the middle of the really heavy stuff. Because books, same as life, are better with a laugh.

“Hudson. We need some magic coffee dust over here.”
He cocks a half smile and hurries over. “That’s cute. Playing on my former barista job and calling me a fairy all in one shot.”
“Yes. Now come over here and make something happen. Just don’t whip out your wand to do it.”
I shake my head. “Really? A penis reference? Is this how you’re going to be approaching this entire situation?” Actually, inappropriate jokes is how we all deal with everything. So, yeah. 

~ Fallen Angel (A Finding Nolan Novel)

One-liners are pretty much what I'm working with at all times. I'm not one for slapstick humor, or writing funny 'action' scenes. I can't get them onto paper right. By the time I'm done describing everything that's happening to set up the joke, chances are it's gotten lost somewhere along the way. I'm too long-winded to pull it off.

Dialogue. That's where it's at.

Or, if you're writing in first person, there are always ample opportunities to drop some humor into the thought process. Usually, you have even more freedom here, because we all know we think way more funny stuff than we would ever have the balls to say out loud.

Characters are no different.

Unless they are.

That One Character Who Has Zero Filter...

Usually I'll have at least one wildcard in the bunch. One character that's allowed to say whatever pops into his or her head. I love writing these. Because I get to write whatever pops into my head. Aunt Dick in With Whom We Spend Our Lives is a perfect example of this sort of character. As is May in I Call Him Brady. Not to mention Ava from the Finding Nolan books. God, I miss those women.

“I’m not going.”
She grins. “You’re going.”
I’m getting pissed. She makes me feel like a f*cking toddler, only at thirty-seven she’s not exactly old enough to be my mother. “You can’t force me.”
“True.” She takes her phone from her back pocket and begins to tap away at the screen.
I slant my eyes suspiciously. This can’t be good. “What are you doing?”
“Just setting a few daily reminders to call you.”
My hands drop to my sides. I already know surrender is inevitable. “And by few you mean?” 
“Not too many. Maybe one little jingle, every fifteen minutes or so between now and the time you agree to go.” She’s got a wicked smirk on her face.
“You can put your stupid phone away. We both know I’m going to the wedding.”
Her face lights up in mock surprise. “You are?”
 ~ Aunt Dick


“F*cking idiot.” May threw one of my new hand towels at his head as he hurried from the room.
“It’s a good thing he knows you well enough to know that’s a term of endearment.” I placed the last of my folded towels back into the basket for easy transport.
“You’re the only one who thinks it is.” 
~ May

Vaginas didn’t scare me exactly. I mean, they seemed innocent enough, and I could see the convenience of it all, one piece fitting into the other. But I’d taken sex ed. I’d seen that sweet little flower chicks claimed they were sitting on morph into monsters big enough to spit out a watermelon on a moment’s notice. Don’t tell me there isn’t something shady about that.
If straight dudes want to stick their dicks in there, I say do so at your own risk. Someday that beast may decide to swallow instead of spit, and then what the f*ck are you going to do?  Be f*cking dickless, that’s what.
We were in the elevator going down to the lobby when I noticed Ava was still grinning.
“What?”
She chuckled before she answered, “You look nervous. Thinking about penis-eating vaginas again?”
~ Ava

Why It's Important...


I don't like to cry. It's a pretty basic reason really. But there it is. I like to feel. I like to explore the depths of heartache, but dammit I want to have a laugh in between to keep from falling to pieces and winding up a sopping, sobbing mess of a puddle no longer solid enough to count for a human being. And so do my characters. If they feel the need to lighten the tension with a little humor, I let them. Because it's good for them. It's good for me. And frankly, it's good for you.


“I take it you’ve talked to him?”
I nod, busying myself by putting away the three cartons of ice cream they brought over. “Had lunch with him on Monday.”
“And?” Her eyes are wide, impatient.
“And…I think it’s going to take more than one lunch to figure his ass out.”
“What does that mean?” Bristol asks from the doorway, bottle of vodka still in hand.
“It means, he is an ass, but he’s hot so she’s not willing to admit it yet. Not until after he’s stomped all over her brittle, broken heart with all of his asshole hotness.” Only Layne would put it quite like that. 
“You know, for someone who writes romance novels you’re not very romantic.”
“Because I know they’re fiction. I make them up. They’re not autobiographies. They’re f*cking fairy tales.”
I shake my head, casually putting some distance between us. For safety.
“You need to stop dating men you meet on Tinder.”

~ One More Chapter












Thursday, August 4, 2016

If only all the people I've seen naked...knew I've seen them naked.

I take the concept of owning everything I experience and using it as writing material very seriously. Maybe too seriously. But, I like it. I like taking reality and then twisting it around and making it pretty. Making it fiction. Because, let's be honest, reality isn't always all it's cracked up to be.

Some of my stories only have a hint of real life to them. Like Save The Date, which I wrote after watching my six year old experience her first crush. The characters and the story are completely made up, the idea is not. Then there are stories like Unhurt, in which I included characters that are real people in my real world. In Unhurt I even went so far as to name the one character after the real person (with her permission of course!)

Then there are those books where I can't tell if I've been extremely lazy or extraordinarily brilliant. Like One More Chapter, for example. Almost all of the characters are inspired by my brother's quirky cast of friends, the setting is his is hometown and all of the local hang outs...are all the local hang outs. The story is completely made up. I mean, completely! And really, I don't know any of his friends well enough to write characters based on them, so while I say inspired, I really mean loosely...very loosely...inspired. Possibly only in looks. And initials. Because I'm daring like that.

But...while this seemed like a lot of fun when it started, as the story came to a head and my hero and heroine moved ever closer to the bedroom, I realized a distinct flaw in my operation. If I was to ever write a sex scene for this couple, I would essentially have to write a sex scene about this guy. This real guy. A guy I've met. A guy I may have to look in the eye again at some point in the future. And even if he was completely unaware of the fact that I would have seen him naked and done dirty, dirty things to him...I would not have that luxury. So, the sex scene...well, was only the kind of sex scene I could continue to maintain eye contact with.

Although, it's not like I've never done it before. I have. I've written exes into books. I've used hot male friends and made them sexy naked heroes. But those were my people. I didn't care if they knew I saw (imagined...saw - it's all the same thing) them naked. Hell, most of them, I have seen naked. Or, naked enough. So, eye contact wasn't an issue. Or, you know, maybe it already was :-P

So, the lesson here is...you own every experience...as well as every experience you can imagine...but you may want to imagine making eye contact with people you write about after you've written about them before you write about them. There. Made total sense.