Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Boyfriends - They do exist!

In my line of work I see a lot of men. A lot of men. That sounds misleading. I see a lot of images of men. 

All day long my Facebook news feed is one half-naked pretty man after the next. I'm not complaining, but I have wondered where in the hell these images are walking around in real life. Because it's not in my neighborhood.

But, with this current trend of 'bad boy' men covered in tattoos and rocking full beards - I have good news ladies. They are real and they're all hanging out in one place. I know this for a fact because I had dinner with all of them on Tuesday night.

For real.

The reason for my outing was to watch my brother perform. He's been a stand up comic for years, and after taking some time off, he was finally hitting the stage again. Needless to say, I didn't want to miss this.

My brother is exceptionally funny, if in a rather brutal fashion. He has perfected the art of making you laugh out loud while shaking your head mouthing the words 'that's fucked up' to yourself as tears of joy begin to stream from your eyes. He's twisty and dark and sick and damn funny while doing it.

So, there I was, ready for a night of laughs and good times. He'd warned me that some of his friends would be joining us and I'd spent a week mentally prepping myself for this (being uncomfortably shy and knowing that I'll spend all night wondering if I seem like a total bitch by not talking or making eye contact with anyone does tend to stress me out a bit). When I arrived however, he informed me that the party had grown substantially. We now had dinner reservations for twenty.

He would have called me to let me know ahead of time...but he wanted me to come, so he didn't.

Turns out, sitting down at the table with all of his friends wasn't half bad. And when I say half bad, I mean I was basically in current romance writer heaven with a surplus of future book boyfriends to choose from. Tall, tatted and bearded men sat all around me. Sanford, Ladies. That's where it's at.

So, I sat there, just taking it all in, watching and listening to this group of guys who have apparently become my brother's surrogate family over the last few years. They're good guys. Maybe even the kind of guys we write about (you can only tell so much from one dinner).

There were moments of conversation when the rose colored dream vision I was enjoying began to get a bit murky, primarily when it came time to examine the menu and order food.

"What's a shit-take mushroom? Anyone?"  Seriously.  

But then the best looking one in the bunch scowled at the idea of bowling and all my faith in real-life book boyfriends was restored in an instant.

So there you have it - the previously believed to be mythical bearded, tatted book boyfriend is real. They do exist. And all conveniently located in one place. 

Now...where are those pretty billionaires hanging out?

Friday, January 22, 2016

From 'F*ck You' to 'Watch This'

It's Friday. Once upon a million years ago, Fridays meant the beginning of a busy work weekend for me. Now, they're a lot like any other busy work day to me.'s Friday and it got me thinking about the ol' bar tending days and one of the biggest lessons I ever learned that still applies today.

See, back then, I was working in this massive country music bar/ night club made up of three huge rooms and three bars, the main one large enough to require three bartenders on a busy night. The two most coveted spots to work, were the center of the main bar and the corner bar located at the center of the club overlooking the dance floor and stage where we had live music five nights a week. The least popular bar was called 'the Pit'. It was wayyyyy in the back with the pool tables and the 'mellow' crowd, tucked in the corner next to the men's room in, what I am quite sure, was once a broom closet.

Everyone started working there by paying their dues in the Pit. That's just how it was. So, I did too. Somewhere along the way, I moved my way up and before long I was one of two main bartenders who worked there, not counting the manager who also took bar shifts. I was done getting shafted to the Pit. I thought.

One Saturday evening, after having opened and worked happy hour by myself - guaranteeing me one of the two top spots for the night because that was basically Buffalo Club law - I greeted the rest of the crew only to be told I was getting bumped out of the good the pit. Not because I'd done anything wrong, but because the part-timers who showed up only for the busy nights were all a bunch of snotty, whiny, high maintenance bitches (Sorry, Carl) and their squeaky squawking about not wanting to work the dreaded Pit was louder than my under the breath grumbles as I grabbed my shit and stomped off to my corner.

At first, I was fuming. It was wrong. I had earned the right to work a good station. I deserved to have the advantage. I SHOULD have been the one with the best opportunity to make money that night, because I would be the one working the longest since I'd opened. But none of it mattered. Neither did the fact that the douche-bag who wound up in my spot not only hadn't deserved to get it, he also didn't have the skills required to tend to the stream of customers he was guaranteed to have that night.

Then, the general 'f*ck all of you' attitude I was so comfortably marinating in shifted. And I went from 'f*ck you' to 'watch this'.

I stopped being mad. I stopped thinking about the injustice of it all. I let go of recounting all of the things that were working against me and just detached. Decided it didn't matter. That it wasn't about what bar you worked but rather which bartender was working it. And I was working the Pit.

I ran a few drink specials. I laughed. I had fun. And guess what?! I outsold every other bartender in the building that night.

Here's why it matters now -

Especially in this business, where sales are often difficult to come by and a solid reader base is hard to build, it's so easy to get hung up on all of the reasons why we'll never make it. All of the disadvantages we have over others, all the ways in which we're screwed anyway because we don't have this that or the other and why it's all so unjust. 

Amazon is out to get us. 

So and so has it easy because they know all the right people.

Must be nice to have money to blow on advertising.

Who in the hell can afford a PA?

No one enters my giveaway.

I need more reviews.

I don't have enough likes on my page.

Facebook is hiding my stuff.

The list goes on.

The thing is, the more we focus on all of the things we can't do or change and why they are bound to stop us from reaching our goals, the more likely it is that they will. 

Nothing can stop you from reaching your goals...except you. I'm not the genius who came up with this, but I'm posting it here and now, because it's still true.

When I started on this journey I had nothing. No advantage. No connection. No funds. No knowledge that would help me in any way. But I did it anyway. I'm still doing it. I have more advantages now than I did back then, but I'm still just plowing ahead, often times tripping over some obstacle and winding up with my face in the mud. Happens to all of us. This business isn't clear cut. There's no set in stone way to achieve success and then....maintain it. Because this business is new, it's evolving and therefor, so must we.

So, what can we do? How can we get ahead of the struggle? How do we fight back when we go from high sales one month to getting shafted to the pit the next?

We get pissed. We say "F*ck you. F*ck it all." We shake our mental fists at all the things standing in our way, and then we say, "Watch this" because we realize, we don't have to let them. 

It's not about the business, or about money or about connections. It's about us. About our frame of mind, and about the things we're willing to give our energy to and the things we're not. That's what we can control. That's where we have a choice, whether we want to be the victims of our circumstances, the survivors of our situations, or the makers of our own motherf*cking destinies.

And I know which one I'm choosing.

Watch this...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Let's talk about my other ;-)

I'd love to. For starters. I like big mugs. And I cannot lie.


That was horrible, but I couldn't resist. Plus, it's true. I don't think I even own a mug that doesn't fit at least two cups of coffee. Some can fit up to five. I know! When I use my Keurig (which is pretty much always these days) I have to use the carafe filter or else my coffee is too weak. Weak coffee is right up there with small mugs. It's simply unacceptable.

Now, if this is our first visit and you offer me coffee in a small cappuccino sized thimble of a coffee cup, I will still take it and smile. Internally however, I'll be questioning where this friendship could possibly go from here....If you know me and hand me a pathetic two sip cup, you're getting a dirty look, and the possibility of having curses put on all your children and your children's children is very real. On a bad day, you may see me cry.

I have one friend who serves me coffee in a nice sized Harry Potter mug. Play-dates at her house are always something to smile about.

There, that's mugs.

The other thing that matters is the coffee itself. My favorite is an organic breakfast blend I get at the local grocery store. I've gotten the house blend when they're out of the breakfast, and it's possible I like that one ever better, but the marketing peeps have got me hooked on the breakfast blend with their clever little descriptive text on the bag. It's probably the dumbest reason in the history of dumb reasons to like a particular type of coffee...but I can't help it. That bag just speaks to me.

I sometimes chant coffee coffee coffee while I'm coming down the aisle at the grocery store.

I'm not a fancy creamer gal, although I used to be. Now I'm just in it for a little bit of milk and sugar. (Okay, I said little...I fibbed...a lot.)

Bedtime coffee's are my favorite...although I don't know why I call it that. I guess because I drink it after everyone else has gone to bed. My second favorite coffee is the first cup of the day.

My favorite fancy go out and get coffee is the Nutella Latte they serve at the Cinnamon Tree Cafe. I rarely go to Starbucks, but I wouldn't mind if a Moxie Java opened up around here. My other go to coffee place is Rabbit Foot. Their White Chocolate Mocha is pretty damn tasty.

Oh, and recently people have started giving me coffee gifts, as in a gift which consists of an amazing new bag of coffee for me to try and love - this has been utterly fabulous!

There...that's pretty much how I get down with coffee. Not sure how interesting that was, but it sure felt like important information to me :-P

~ K

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Reader Questions Answered!

*Have you ever said your daughter's name!? I'm so curious which princess she's named after. 

I actually usually just refer to her as E (or Magic E) and I'm afraid that's the only clue I'm giving up today as well ;-)

*Favorite dessert recipe? 

Hm, this is tricky because I do like my sweets...One of my favorites to make for no reason whatsoever (other than it was pizza night and I had extra dough) is a chocolate calzone. You just take your pizza dough (I use this recipe for homemade), fill it up halfway with your choice of chocolate chips (I like to do half dark chocolate, half white) then fold it over, seal the edges and pop it in the oven until it's golden brown. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you're in dessert heaven!

*How do you overcome writer's block? 

I don't really think writer's block is a thing...Saying I have writer's block when I can't get motivated to write is like saying I have runner's block when I can't be bothered to drag my ass out of bed in the morning to go for a run. I don't have runner's block. I'm being lazy and I'm out of shape and I broke the habit when I quit going every day. If I want to roll out of bed every morning and automatically drop my feet into my sneakers, I'm going to have to put in the work and force myself to do it every morning for a month. After more runner's block. Writing is the same way. You write consistently, you keep writing. You stop, you take a get 'Writer's Block'. At least that's how it is for me.

*Do you participate in any writing challenges?

I sign up to do Nano pretty much every year and I always blow it. Ironic really because I've written a novel in a month on several other occasions...I just can't seem to do it in November. I think it's my issue with commitment...and having someone else tell me what to do :-P I'm also part of a Romance Writing Group on Facebook where we frequently challenge each other to write our stories within a certain time frame, but that's about it.

*How do you name your characters? 

My main characters usually show up already named. If they don't, it's a lot like scrying for their identity. I have to scan lists of names until the right one reveals itself. When it comes to my supporting characters I'm super lazy. If I need a name, I'm pretty much going with whoever I know that pops into my head first. Or a name someone I know has mentioned recently. Or someone who has pissed me off (If it's a character I dislike, lol). Probably seventy percent of the supporting characters in my books share names of people I've known in real life, but that is generally where the similarities stop. I borrow names, rarely identities.

*Do you ever accept name suggestions? 

Yep :-)

*Of all you've written... Which is your personal favorite? 

That's a tough one to answer. Usually it's whichever story I wrote last...but if I think about it too much I'll wind up naming every one of them as my favorite for different reasons, lol. So, for the sake of keeping it simple, I'll go with Last Girl. Today ;-)

*Would you give up coffee for a month for $1000? $10,000? $500,000? $1,000,000?

For $500,000 and up I would....only because I have a daughter to support. Otherwise, I'd choose the coffee!

*If you had to choose only one, and you'd have to give the other up FOREVER ... Which do you give up... Coffee or Nutella?! 

I would give up....Nutella. I love it, I do...but I NEED Coffee.

*Favorite fast food? 

Hm, I don't really eat much fast food these days...I think I overdosed on it in my twenties when I didn't know how to grocery shop, lol.

*Favorite condiment? 

Brown Mustard.

*Of your male characters... Which would you most like to date?!

Well, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't turn ANY of them away if they came a knockin'...but at the top of my list is probably Riker from Tin...or Shawn from It's Kinda My Thing....of course, I love Derek as well...and Penn, God, who wouldn't want to date Penn?! Ooh, or Brady! But then I also kinda love Miles....and Carter, man I missed Carter for a while after I stopped writing Bittersweet. I don't think I answered this one very well...

Friday, January 8, 2016

How my life is often the backdrop of my work...and why I'm okay with that.

 If you've ever felt that my use of horse related properties, bars and small beach towns was repetitive, well, there's a reason for that. Those are my go-to locations because they're the places I know inside and out. I know what they look like, smell like, sound like. I don't have to research them or think too hard about it while I'm writing. It just comes naturally...and in turn, hopefully, creates an environment within the story that feels real and alive to readers.

As well as the setting, the other things that naturally sort of weave their way into my work are habits. Routines. We all have them, right? So, it stands to reason that characters have them as well. Sometimes those of the characters mirror mine, whether it's intentional or not. Coffee. That's one. My coffee habit (or...addiction?) definitely appears throughout most of my books. Wake up? Make coffee. Have a bad day? Make coffee. Get together with friends? Make coffee. It's sort of the natural response to everything.

Some other things about my life that tend to surface in my writing...Motherhood. Military. Addictions. Loss. Abuse. Pets. Mental illness...Most people don't know the ways in which each of these topics has touched my life, but there are books of my mine my mother can't bring herself to read...because fiction or not, they tell the truth and that truth isn't always pretty. BUT, it makes for a never ending flow of writing material.

It's not so much that I set out to write about my life or myself (I'm not as egocentric as this post is making me sound), as it is that I strive to write things that feel alive and authentic to others. So, regardless of what the story is and who the characters are, I try to find some way to relate what I'm about to write to something I've already experienced. That way I can draw from those feelings. Recount those thoughts. Remember my actions and then create a story as real as humanly possible while still keeping it completely fictional. If that makes any sense at all...

Ironically, I think the only thing I write about pretty damn frequently and have no first hand experience with at all, is the love and happily ever after bit, which is sort of expected to be part of the story when you write romance novels ;-) 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Insta-love. Do we love it or hate it?

I'm just going to come right out and say it. I'm a fan. Well, within reason. You still need to sell it to me, but, if I'm convinced, I'll totally buy. And, I can be convinced quite easily. Ironic really. Because I'm a jaded motherf*cker when it comes to love, but I'm also in my thirties with a kid to raise and a full-time career and no time to date. Insta-love is pretty much what I'm in the market for.

Some days, I'm tempted to write Insta-love stories left and right. And not believable ones. Ridiculous ones. Just because. Just to satisfy the insta-romantic buried deep within who actually does believe that Prince Charming fell in love with Cinderella in ONE night after ONE dance and NO conversation and clearly limited eye contact (what with the recognition issues later on in the story - or can we blame that on bad lighting?).  And why is that romantic? Why did we fall for that crap when we were little? Why are some of us still holding on to it now?

Maybe, because Insta-love, like the Cinderella kind, gives us hope that someone out there already loves us. Already knows us. And when they finally find us, they'll recognize us in an instant. Not by the way we look, or the things we say, but on a deeper level. Because unlike every other human we've ever encountered, they'll see us. Really see us.

In a society where we are busy portraying lives on social media, counting friends by likes and shares and winding up living less and being less connected than ever, the idea that someone out there could bypass all the bullshit and ugly mean stepsisters, all based on an inexplicable need from within to be with you because you're it, you're the one, is more romantic than ever.

Sure, it could all be total fantasy. I mean, it probably is. Love isn't instant. Lust is. But Love? Probably not. Love needs to grow. And develop. And blah blah blah. But where's the magic in that? Where's the excitement and the wonder? And the freaking fairy Godmother?

Call me unrealistic all you like. Because, frankly, I am. It's why I choose to spend my time writing fiction. Sometimes even silly, romantic, instant - happily ever after, fiction. 

It's probably also why I'm still single :-P

Monday, January 4, 2016

Finding Time to Write

As a stay at home mom who's blessed with being able to home school, it should go without saying that I am in the company of my mini-me nearly every second of every day. I love it. Truly, I wouldn't have it any other way. But, that means that every minute she's awake, my time is pretty much spoken for. Sure, I can jump online and piddle around on Facebook here and there. I can peruse some interesting blog posts or articles. Catch up on emails while she's playing. But writing? That's out.

Not that I don't attempt to. Most days that word file sits there open from the time I first sit down at the computer in the morning with my coffee to eleven o'clock at night, when I actually get to work on it. I keep it open just in case. Just in case I have a moment to add a sentence or two. Maybe, if no one interrupts me for long enough, I can even squeeze in an entire paragraph. Usually this falls under wishful thinking...but I get lucky just often enough to keep doing it.

It's not until after everyone has gone to sleep (and the dogs have finished their night time wrestling which for whatever reason has to be done within three feet of where I sit) that I actually get any real writing done. Some nights, I get caught up chatting online or talking on the phone (because lengthy conversations with other grown ups are also hard to come by when you're hanging with a seven year old all day long) and then I don't really get to work until midnight or later. I don't need much. A couple of hours and I feel as though I've made enough progress to let things simmer until the next day.

And really, that's kind of the key to everything. Consistency. It doesn't much matter when I write, or for how long, but when I'm at my most productive, I'm writing every day.

I slack off and my writing suffers. Suddenly, my word count is lower. I'm tempted to lounge around and binge watch Netflix and skip writing all together. The story doesn't flow. Doesn't feel right. Doesn't claim me. Because it can't. Because I'm not committed. I'm not up to it. I'm out of shape. And that's a horrible feeling. (Some people will call this Writer's Block. I'm not those people. I think Writer's Block is bullshit.)

Writing is like anything else you ask of your body. It has to be practiced. You have to train that writing muscle and you have to do what it takes to maintain the bulk if you want to keep churning out the big books. It's not always easy.

In the last six months or so, I've gotten burned out twice from the previous years of pushing non-stop. I've taken time out. I've binge watched the shit out of some Netflix shows. It felt like the right thing to do. Felt like it would help. It didn't.

Taking time off only made it that much harder to come back. To find my groove again. And it's not for lack of stories. Or lack of time. My schedule is no more or less conducive to writing full time now than it was last year. But I've been out of shape. do you fix this, you ask? You stop writing what you think has to be written and you just write whatever the fuck you want. It doesn't even have to be a book. You can journal. Write poetry. Blog posts. Anything to get that muscle working again.

Get that sucker back in top shape and you can write as much and as often as you like. It won't matter if you have time or not. When that writing muscle is active, it insists on being used. And you'll make time. Even if it means writing in the most unexpected places on the most unexpected things.

For years people have become accustomed to seeing me with my laptop anytime my kid has gymnastics or dance or theater rehearsal. I don't care if I'm sitting in a corner of the room, on the floor with the lights dimmed for dress rehearsal. I've got my ear buds in and I'm working.

Day trip in the car and I'm not driving? Perfect. Talk to me again when we get there.

Visiting family? If someone gets distracted or leaves the room to go pee, I'm breaking out that keyboard. Sure it's rude, but they have to love me either way.

My point is, if you love it, you'll do it...but you have to do it often to love it that much.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Release ~ Catch My Heart by Lyssa Layne

COVER: KG Cover Art
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
CONTENT WARNING: Some adult content


No one said love was easy. No one said love was perfect. No one said love didn't hurt. No one said love would last forever.

Follow these characters from your favorite Lyssa Layne books as they experience Valentine's Day in an unexpected, non-traditional fashion…

Love is a Fire/Burst Into Flame - Andy Garrity lost the love of his life almost three years ago. Giving in to his daughter-in-laws, he decides it's time to get back in the saddle and go on a first date for the first time since high school. Before he even meets his mate, Andy's having second thoughts and ready to pass on this opportunity at love.

Everybody's After Love/My Favorite What If - James Paul and Brianna Rossi are expecting their second child in less than a month. Brianna can't wait to have a daughter while James Paul is thrilled to have a new princess to spoil. Brianna has the perfect day planned for her husband until she’s blindsided in a way she never imagined.

Loved by the Linebacker - Recovering from a torn ACL, Blake Purser isn't used to taking it easy. He also isn't used to not having his best friend, Camila Lemos, spend more time with her boyfriend and his brother Evan than him. His long-time on-again, off-again girlfriend, Molly Feiser, is doing her best to entertain him during the off season but Blake isn't prepared for her latest news.

Holding the Other - Lee Maverick and Miranda Wallen are the king and queen of country music. The married couple have ruled the charts for the last ten years and fans love the chemistry between them. Before the night is over, this Valentine's Day will be one for the records.

My Favorite What If - Sloan Talbott and Jacob "Smitty" Smith are spending their first Valentine's Day as a couple. In the short time they've been together, they've carved out the perfect nook for just the two of them. Having spent the last six months in Italy, it's time they head back to the States and learn to be together with their meddling families surrounding them 24/7.

Love's not easy. Love's not perfect. Love hurts. Love doesn't last forever. Can these couples endure love at it's ugliest or will it break them down more than they can endure?


  Sloan fingers walk up my chest, grabbing my shirt and forcing me to look down at her. Her eyes glimmer with sensuality and I know exactly where her mind is going. Leaning down, our lips barely touch and the passion is ignited. With a shrill squeal, I scoop her into my arms as though we’re newlyweds about to cross the threshold for the first time. Sloan nibbles on my neck and I moan as I walk us toward the bedroom, ready to christen our new bed.

“You gonna give me the chance to marry you and do this for real?” I ask, already knowing the answer.

“Not a chance in hell.”

I chuckle as I set her on the bed, tugging my shirt off. “I’ll get you to change your mind some day.”

Sloan pulls her own shirt off, leaving me licking my lips at the sight of her in just a black lacy brassiere. Teasing me, she runs her index finger from her collarbone between her breasts, licking her lips and keeping direct eye contact with me. The tip of her finger slips inside her bra and I bite my lip, wanting to replace her hand with mine, but am way too turned on by her own handiwork to stop her.

“Maybe one day, when we’re old and gray,” Sloan says, drawing out her words and speaking in barely a whisper.

She stands up, wiggling her hips and pushing her pants to the floor. Now she’s in just her black lace bra and thong. She turns her back to me, crawling over our king size bed and I reach out, running my hand over her perfectly tight runner’s ass. Sloan stops moving forward, placing her hand on top of mine and leaning up on her knees. Her back is against my chest, our bodies flush against each other’s and I squeeze my hand tightly around the handful in my touch.

“I don’t want easy right now, Smitty. I want you, me, and passion.”

Book Links

Available on Kindle Unlimited!!!

About the Author 

Lyssa Layne is first, and foremost, the proud momma to her precious daughter, AR. In addition to working full-time and being a mommy to AR, she is also an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, a runner, blogger, and an infertility survivor.
Having watched one too many medical dramas and being inspired by author Rachelle Ayala, who introduced her to the world of indie writing, Lyssa decided to try her hand at writing a romance story. Her attempt turned into the Burning Lovesick series. You can find Lyssa's own interests throughout her stories although all stories are fictional.

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