Whole Lotta Frogs-Review

WHOLE LOTTA FROGS
RELEASE BLITZ
AUTHOR: SAMATHA HARRIS
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 19, 2018
COVER DESIGNER: T.E. BLACK DESIGNS

REVIEW

I was offered an ARC from the author with no expectations of a review, but I had to write a review for this one. I finished last night (I was up very late because I couldn’t put it down) and Samatha Harris did not disappoint me.

Whole Lotta Frogs is funny, sweet, and hot without going overboard with sex. The characters are flawed but very likable . By the end I felt I knew Len and Ellis as well or better than some of my own friends.

Harris’ use of blog posts in between chapters is brilliant. The blogs were believable and fun to read while giving Len (the FMC) and the plot more depth.

I’ve been known to collect quotes from books I liked and I collected quite a few from this one.  “…but you love me, Lennox. The only one who doesn’t believe it is you.” and “Wishes are like prayers fueled by hope and desire.” are just a couple of them.

Those of you who have followed me for a while know I love funny and this romance didn’t let me down–it had me laughing through the pages up to the very end.

Five enthusiastic stars for A Whole Lotta Frogs!!

My name is Lennox Brooks and I’ll admit, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I don’t take the big risks, I cover my insecurities with snark, I’ve shown my crazy a few more times then I would’ve liked, and I’ve been trying, and failing at love pretty much since I first grew tits. 
Weirdos, Mama’s boys, the over-coiffed, and underwhelming, I’ve been out with them all, just read my blog. I’ve got horror stories that would curl your toes and singe your nose hairs, but none of them compare to the toad who started it all, Ellis Walker.
He was the boy next door, the charming, infuriatingly gorgeous one who broke my heart and disappeared without a trace. Now he’s back and determined to throw my life into chaos, dredging up painful memories just when things were getting good.
But the thing is there are always two sides to every story.
I’ve spent the better part of my life hating him for everything he put me through, but without that resentment clouding my judgment how will I ever resist him?
Love is complicated, appearances are deceiving, and sometimes you have to kiss a whole lotta frogs before finding your prince.

I stepped into an enormous bowl made of trampolines. Bright neon-green padding ran in a grid-like pattern across the entire arena, separating each trampoline into its own little rectangle. The springy black fabric covered every available surface, including the walls.

I stepped down into the closest square, giving it a test bounce, and smiled. It doesn’t matter how old you get. It’s impossible not to smile when bouncing on a trampoline.

We had the entire bowl to ourselves. I could still hear the music and the screaming, but it sounded distant and not nearly as deafening.

Ellis bounced back and forth from square to square, the squeaking of the springs mixed with my own tentative steps.

“Is this part of your plan?” I asked.

Ellis stopped jumping and rested his hands on his hips to catch his breath. “I could’ve gone with the cliché dinner and movie, but I figured you could use a little bit of fun.”

I laughed. “You’re right. I could use some fun. I’ve been a little stressed since this guy from my past came back into my life and won’t leave me alone.”

Ellis shrugged. “Maybe he likes you.”

I laughed and jumped to another square. “He thinks he does.”

“Trust me, Len. He knows.”

“Okay, so what’s next? Or was your grand plan to make me work out against my will.”

Ellis held up one finger and disappeared through the curtain of netting, only to reappear with a bag of bright red balls.

“What is that?”

“I was thinking about what you said about me torturing you when we were younger. I was a punk kid trying to get the attention of the girl he liked, but I get how it may not have felt that way to you.” He dropped the bag at my feet and turned it upside down, emptying six rubber balls at my feet. “This is your chance to get me back.”

Ellis made his way to the other side of the bowl and opened his arms. “Let me have it, Len. All I ask is that you don’t aim for the face.”

“You want me to hit you?”

“If you’re ever going to give us a chance, you need to let go of the past, and if this is what it takes to get you to forgive me then so be it. I’m willing to take the hit.”

I picked up a ball, testing the weight in my hands and eyeing him as he stood, arms wide open, feet spread apart, muscles tense and prepared for impact.

I wanted to hit him. I really did. But I am an adult, and adults don’t solve problems by hurling rubber projectiles.

“I can’t,” I said. “This is childish.”

“You scared?” he asked that trademark smirk of his spread wide across his face.

“I’m not scared. This is stupid.”

“I agree, but continuing to punish me for the mistakes I made as a kid is also pretty stupid.”

Anger welled inside of me and I drew back, hurling the ball as hard as I could toward his chest. The ball hit its target with a loud thud and bounced away.

Victory swelled inside my chest.

“See?” Ellis said. “Feeling a little vindicated, aren’t you?”

“Shut up,” I said, hurling the next ball toward him.

 

Samatha “Sam” Harris lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband David and daughter Ava. Born in Florida, she migrated north which most people agree was a little backwards. She has been an artist all of her life, a Tattoo Artist for more than ten years, and a storyteller since she was a kid. 
 
Sam has a slightly unhealthy love for Frank Sinatra, classic movies, and Jazz and Blues music, but her first love will always be reading. From Romance, to Thrillers, to Historical Fiction and everything in between, she loves to become a part of the story. As a writer she tells the stories that she would want to read.
Website: 
Facebook: 
Twitter: 
Instagram: 
@LipServicesPR

 

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Coming Soon- Dean Mayes’s The Artisan Heart

 THE ARTISAN HEART

by DEAN MAYES

Featuring a strong female lead, THE ARTISAN HEART captures the essence of small town romance by bypassing the norms of gender roles, and beautifully portrays a second chance at love, all snuggled in the valley of a picturesque Australian mountain village.

Artisan

BLURB

 Hayden Luschcombe is a brilliant pediatrician living in Adelaide with his wife, an ambitious event planner. His life consists of soul-wrenching days at the hospital and tedious evenings attending his wife’s lavish parties.
When a betrayal coincides with a traumatic confrontation, Hayden flees. His destination is Walhalla, nestled in Australia’s southern mountains. With his city life in ruins, he stays, and picks up the pieces of his life by fixing up the home his parents left behind.
A chance encounter with a deaf young girl introduces Hayden to Isabelle Sampi, a struggling artisan baker. While single-handedly raising her daughter and trying to resurrect a bakery, Isabelle has no time for matters of the heart. Yet the presence of the handsome doctor challenges her resolve. Hayden, protective of his own fractured heart, finds something that awakens dormant feelings of his own.
As their attraction grows, and the past threatens their chance at happiness, both Hayden and Isabelle will have to confront long-buried truths if they are ever to embrace a future.

dean-mayes

BIO

 The author of three novels and an Intensive Care Nurse, Dean Mayes returns to his romantic roots with a heart warming story about starting over and rediscovering love, set in the former gold mining town of Walhalla, Australia where he spent much of his own childhood.

PUB DATE SEPTEMBER 1, 2018

PRAISE FOR DEAN MAYES

“Mayes’s characters inspire sympathy, and I kept reading to learn more about them.” ~ San Francisco Book Review (Gifts of the Peramangk)

“Dean Mayes clearly cares deeply about his characters, and his dedication to them shines through. I highly recommend this tale.” ~ Long and Short Reviews (Gifts of the Peramangk)

“…a great read that was fascinating medically and had great character development…” ~ Manhattan Book Review (The Recipient)

Central Avenue Publishing 

Other books by the author

GOTP Blogger

The Not-So Glamorous Life of a Writer

Yesterday I had my second signing at a Barnes & Noble here in Northern Virginia. I have been trying to get them to let me have one at a local branch but the district manager won’t return my emails. A writer friend was able to get three other branches in the area to hold multi-authors signings and I managed to snag two of those.

The first one was kind of a sleepy event. Not many people visiting the gigantic store but somehow we all managed to sell books and interact with many people. The second one was held in a wealthier part of Northern Virginia and the place was teeming with humans. The four of us got pretty excited. If we had a good turnout in a sleepy branch, here we should make a killing, so to speak.

Ashburn BN signing

Here’s how it really went:

  • Several kids came to ask for our candy.
  • Several people refused to accept free swag.
  • One very nice aspiring  author asked us for some guidance in the publishing world.
  • An older lady came and asked each of us if we used the F-word in our books (I use it very sparingly and only because it was pointed out to me that my characters are too proper, lol). Once she found out that pretty much all of us did in one way or another, she asked us why did you use such an offensive word. She didn’t buy anything.
  • When I offered them my FREE postcards, they almost always took the one advertising an event I’ll be participating in but which holds absolutely no information about me or my  books.
  • A very kind older man came to talk to us and had us all laughing with his jokes. He didn’t buy anything but thanked us for all the work we do (he used to  work for one of the Big Five)
  • Lots of people entered the raffle to win books from all of us, but most of them didn’t buy anything.
  • We heard a lot of, “I don’t read romance” (totally understandable. It’s not for everybody, of course).
  • People thought we were the information desk and came to ask us about items in the store.
  • We left the event with about $6 each for one book sold from each one of us.
  • I sold a M/M paranormal romance book to a lady who told me she didn’t read romance at all.

Moral of the story: don’t judge an event by how posh the neighborhood is. Buying power and romance doesn’t always jive, apparently.

All I Want by Megan Lowe-New Release

All I Want

Title: All I Want
Series: Rocking Racers #5
Author: Megan Lowe
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Genre: Contemporary Sports/MM Romance

Release Date: June 2, 2018
Blurb
He’s all I ever wanted, but what I could never have
Bishop Royal is a sleaze. He’s a cheat, a copycat, a bastard. He knows what you think of him and he doesn’t care. All he cares about is his best friend, Jake.

Jake Ellis has loved Bishop Royal for sixteen years. He’s been by his side
through everything: deaths, hardships, and triumphs.
When Bishop’s life is pulled out from underneath him, he figures with nothing left
to lose, it’s time to tell Jake how he feels.

Under pressure to be the picture-perfect boyfriend and his father’s perfect son, will
Bishop fold or go after the only thing he’s ever truly wanted?
Purchase Links
99c for a limited time
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Also Available
Books 1-4 are Contemporary Sports/MF Romance
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Author Bio
Megan Lowe is a lost journalism graduate who after many
painful years searching for a job in that field, decided if she couldn’t write
news stories, she would start listening to the characters whispering stories to
her and decided to write them down.  She writes primarily New
Adult/Contemporary Romance stories with Sport and Music themes. She is based on
the Gold Coast but her heart belongs to New York City. When she’s not writing
she’s either curled up with a good book, travelling or screaming at the TV
willing her sporting teams to pull out the win.
Author Links

New Release- The River City Chronicles

The River City Chronicles

New Release

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer magical realism book out:COVER-River-City

A group of strangers meets at Ragazzi, an Italian restaurant, for a cooking lesson that will change them all. They quickly become intertwined in each other’s lives, and a bit of magic touches each of them.

Meet Dave, the consultant who lost his partner; Matteo and Diego, the couple who run the restaurant; recently-widowed Carmelina; Marcos, a web designer getting too old for hook-ups; Ben, a trans author writing the Great American Novel; teenager Marissa, kicked out for being bi; and Sam and Brad, a May-September couple who would never have gotten together without a little magic of their own.

Everyone in the River City has a secret, and sooner or later secrets always come out.

iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads  Amazon Paperback 

Amazon


Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4710/?


Excerpt

Matteo stared out the restaurant window into the darkness of Folsom Boulevard. It was getting dark earlier as summer edged into fall. Streetlights flickered on as cars drifted by, looking for parking or making the trip out of Midtown toward home.

The sign on the window read “Ragazzi” (the boys), lettered in a beautiful golden script just two months old. Investing in this little restaurant his uncle had left to them when he’d passed away had been their ticket out of Italy. But now with each passing day, as seats sat empty and tomatoes, pasta, and garlic went uneaten, the worry was gnawing ever deeper into Matteo’s gut.

Behind him in the open, modernized kitchen, Diego was busy cooking—his mother’s lasagne, some fresh fish from San Francisco, and some of the newer Italian dishes they’d brought with them from Bologna. The smells of boiling sauce and fresh-cooked pasta that emanated from the kitchen were entrancing.

They’d sent the rest of the staff —Max and Justin—home for the evening. The three customers who had shown up so far didn’t justify the cost of keeping their waiter and busboy on hand.

Matteo stopped at the couple’s table in front of the other window. “Buona sera,” he said, smiling his brightest Italian smile.

“Hi,” the man said, smiling back at him. He was a gentleman in about his mid-fifties, wearing a golf shirt and floppy hat. “Kinda quiet tonight, huh?”

“It always gets busier later,” Matteo lied smoothly. “Pleasure to have you here. Can I get you anything else?”

“A little more wine, please?” the woman said, holding out her glass so the charm bracelet on her wrist jangled.

“Of course.” He bowed and ducked into the kitchen.

He gave Diego a quick peck on the cheek.

His husband and chef waved him off with a snort. “Più tardi. Sto preparando la cena.”

“I can see that. Dinner for a hundred, is it? It’s dead out there again tonight.”

Diego shot him a dirty look.

Matteo retrieved the bottle of wine from the case and returned to fill up his guests’ glasses. “What brings you in tonight?” Maybe they saw our ad.…

“Just walking by and we were hungry. I miss the old place though.… What was it called, honey?”

Her husband scratched his chin. “Little Italy, I think?”

“That’s it! It was the cutest place. Checkered tablecloths, those great Italian bottles with the melted wax… so Italian.”

Matteo groaned inside. “So glad you came in” was all he said with another smile.


Author Bio

J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott lives with his husband Mark in a little yellow bungalow in East Sacramento, with two pink flamingos by the front porch.

He spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own reality.

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

 

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Whole Lotta Frogs-Cover Reveal

WHOLE LOTTA FROGS
AUTHOR: SAMATHA HARRIS
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 19, 2018
COVER DESIGNER: T.E. BLACK DESIGNS
My name is Lennox Brooks and I’ll admit, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I don’t take the big risks, I cover my insecurities with snark, I’ve shown my crazy a few more times then I would’ve liked, and I’ve been trying, and failing at love pretty much since I first grew tits.
Weirdos, Mama’s boys, the over-coiffed, and underwhelming, I’ve been out with them all, just read my blog. I’ve got horror stories that would curl your toes and singe your nose hairs, but none of them compare to the toad who started it all, Ellis Walker.
He was the boy next door, the charming, infuriatingly gorgeous one who broke my heart and disappeared without a trace. Now he’s back and determined to throw my life into chaos, dredging up painful memories just when things were getting good.
But the thing is there are always two sides to every story.
I’ve spent the better part of my life hating him for everything he put me through, but without that resentment clouding my judgment how will I ever resist him?
Love is complicated, appearances are deceiving, and sometimes you have to kiss a whole lotta frogs before finding your prince.

 

I got ready in a fury and reread Ellis’s invasive text three times while I fixed my hair and makeup, shaking my head each time and fighting back a smile.

I still hadn’t answered when I started walking the six blocks to Sawyer’s apartment. I’d barely stepped off the stoop of my building when my phone rang.

“You never answered my question,” Ellis said.

My lips curled up at the corners. “Of course, I didn’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s none of your business.”

“Len, your nudity is absolutely my business. In fact, I’m the CEO of that luscious body and I’m a hands-on kind of leader.”

I shook my head, unable to hold back my smile any longer. “Wow, you managed to turn a creepy text into an even creepier metaphor. Kudos to you.”

Ellis laughed. “Are you?”

“Am I what?”

“Naked,” he said. “I’m about the hop in the shower and I need a visual to, you know, help me finish the job.”

“You’re unbelievable.”

“Unbelievably sexy you mean.” I could hear the grin in his voice.

“Whatever.”

“Seriously, though,” he said. “What are you up to?”

“Well.” I took a deep breath, the ice-cold air burning my nose. “If you must know, Sawyer offered to make me dinner. I’m on my way to his place.”

“Really?” he asked. “Great!”

I stopped short on the sidewalk my feet frozen to the pavement. People around me grunted their disapproval and moved around me as I stood glued to the concrete.

“Great?” What happened to throwing his hat in the ring?

“Yeah. I’m starved; I’ll meet you there in ten.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I love his food—man, that guy can cook. Best decision I ever made, going into business with him. Even if he’s trying to steal my woman.”

“Ellis!” I shouted into the phone. An elderly woman pulling a grocery cart behind her glared at me for my outburst. I mouthed my apologies to her then returned to my phone. “So help me God if you show up at Sawyer’s…”

“What’s the big deal? I’m friends with him. He’s friends with you. We can all have dinner together, it’ll be fun.”

“You aren’t invited.”

“Oh, Len, I’m hurt. I thought we were moving forward. We’re friends, aren’t we?”

I sighed. “Yes, we’re friends.”

“And friends sometimes eat together?” I groaned, not liking the route this conversation was taking. “Sawyer and I are friends, which I expect might change when I tell him how I feel about you. Oh, what the hell—we’ll just leave him out of this and you and I will just go ourselves.”

“Smooth, Ellis,” I said. “Real smooth.”

“I am pretty smooth if I do say so myself. Not to mention devastatingly handsome, and moderately charming.”

“Only moderately?” I asked.

“Yes, but don’t worry; I grow on you.”

I took a deep breath to calm my nerves and closed my eyes. “Please tell me you are not going to show up this evening.”

Ellis laughed. “Relax. I won’t be interrupting your little dinner.”

“Thanks.” I checked the address and looked up at Sawyer’s building. The door to which was sandwiched between a dry cleaner and a greasy pizza place. “I’ve got to go. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay,” he said. “Lennox?”

“Yeah.”

He didn’t say anything right away. I just stood there, the cold wind biting at my fingertips.

“Don’t—,” he started, his voice sounding almost pained.

“Don’t, what?”

I stood there listening to him breathe on the other end.

“Nothing.” He sighed.

I groaned and rolled my eyes. “Bye, Ellis.”

Samatha “Sam” Harris lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband David and daughter Ava. Born in Florida, she migrated north which most people agree was a little backwards. She has been an artist all of her life, a Tattoo Artist for more than ten years, and a storyteller since she was a kid. 
 
Sam has a slightly unhealthy love for Frank Sinatra, classic movies, and Jazz and Blues music, but her first love will always be reading. From Romance, to Thrillers, to Historical Fiction and everything in between, she loves to become a part of the story. As a writer she tells the stories that she would want to read.
Website: 
Facebook: 
Twitter: 
Instagram: 
@LipServicesPR

 

Infinite Blue-Cover Reveal

Coming September 8th, my ninth romance novel will be released into the world. I absolutely love this cover and can’t take my eyes away from it. It’s mesmerizing, lol.
Any shares would be very appreciated. Should you choose to share, go here for easy HTML and/or text.
Author: Natalina Reis
Title: Infinite Blue
Genre: Gay Paranormal Romance
Release Date: September 8, 2018
Cover Designer: Soxsational Cover Art

 Add to TBR

 PREORDER FOR HALF PRICE 

Amazon links coming soon!

All other links: books2read.com/infinite-blue

When a shifter and a human are bound by fate, neither man knows if their connection will be enough to save not only their growing love, but their lives.

Shahin Halcón has been taught that if and when he meets his soul mate, he’ll know immediately. Always the rebel, he doesn’t believe it until the day he crosses paths with Cai, a full-human.

Plagued by unsuccessful relationships and heartache, Cai Banes’s life is quiet and unexciting. When he meets young and wild Shahin, his life is turned upside down, and he’s not sure he likes it.

But neither can deny the powerful pull that draws them together.

Old secrets and ancient myths about cross-species relationships plague their romance and threaten to put their happiness and life at risk. Will their love for each other be strong enough to survive?



 PREORDER FOR HALF PRICE 

Amazon links coming soon!

All other links: books2read.com/infinite-blue

 

Writing Across the Rainbow

Last weekend I attended the Washington Romance Writers’ retreat and I’ve been itching to write about it but alas, time has been very limited. This is the first of what I hope will be a series of posts about it.

One of the running themes of the retreat was diversity and feminism in romance novels. If you been following me for a while you know those are two subjects close to my heart, so I was a happy camper 🙂

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During one of the sessions (I believe the one led by the great author Sonali Dev) we participated in a small exercise that brought my journey as a writer more into perspective for me. We were all asked to think back to the first time we had written something that made us realize we loved writing. That took me all the way back to when I was in second grade.

At the time I was living in Angola in Africa and I wrote a poem (I believe I titled it, Lágrimas, Tears) about something that, as a child, I had just realized. Never being one able or interested in expressing my thoughts out loud, I wrote them down.  Lágrimas was a short poem that expressed my young view of the world–that people were simply people no matter what color, what religion, what nationality.

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The memory surprised me–I hadn’t thought about that in a long time–but it sure made my love for everything multicultural make a lot more sense to me. That was possibly the moment when my future as an author was sealed. Not only did I find my love for writing, but I also discovered how interested I was in writing multicultural characters.

Since I was published in 2016 I have written characters from different racial and ethnic groups (see Desert Jewel and Loved You Always), characters with disabilities (Blind Magic and Her Real Man), and characters with different sexual orientation (Lavender Fields). My only hope is that I didn’t misrepresent any group. I write romance (with a touch of mystery and humor) so all I want to do is to create characters that accurately represent the world and its inhabitants. And to make the point that no matter who we are or where we come from, in the end we all have the same basic needs and a wish to be loved.

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Books and Heartgasms

This weekend I learned a new word. One that totally describes what I feel when I read good romance: a heartgasm. It’s a perfect term for that feeling I get when reading about a loving relationship between the pages of a book. A relationship between equals, between two people who respect and love each other despite their differences.

Those of you who follow this blog or my Facebook page know that I have strong feelings about certain things that have became a part of the romance novel scene (some that have been around from the beginning, other things that came later but are just as insidious). In the heels of E L James’ success, a lot of other romance writers and readers were sold on the idea that disrespect can be sexy.  I have quit reading many a romance book because of that idea. Including romances that have been international best sellers and critically acclaimed.

Old vintage books and cup with heart shape on wooden table

Outlander is such a book. After hearing my friends and acquaintances praising the series as the most romantic book in years, I bought and began reading it. At first I absolutely loved it. What’s there not to love? A strong woman travels back in time to Bonnie Scotland to find the love of her life in the shape of this amazing, hunky Scot. The best part about Jamie Fraser is that he is strong but sweet, respectful, willing to lay his life down for the woman he loves, and in total awe of her beauty and strength. Even though there is way too much unnecessary sex in the story (my opinion) it didn’t bother me–it was loving and mutually satisfying.

Until a scene about half way through the book when Jamie sort of forces himself on his wife to “show” her who the boss was. I couldn’t read anymore after that. Before that scene there was the whole issue of a beating to put her in “her place”. However historically correct that may have been, the Jamie that I fell in love with in the beginning of the story ceased to exist and was replaced by someone very willing to do the unthinkable to prove to himself and the other men in the clan that he was man enough. Disrespectful and power-driven. I was very disappointed because the book was well written and the premise for the story was just up my alley. After all the first full length novel I ever wrote, way back before the new millenium (yes, I’m that old) was a time-travelling romance set in beautiful Scotland. My hero was from the same era as Jamie’s but he would never, ever disrespect his girl.

Heart icon. Vector illustration.

So back to the heartgasm. Throughout the years there have been many novels in different genres who have given me one. There have been YA novels, science fiction books, fantasy, women’s fiction, classics, and of course romance. It so happens it is the feeling I want to give my readers with my heroes and heroines, with their relationships and the way they overcome difficulties and obstacles together. The way they love and support each other while tackling their day to day life with all its troubles. That kind of thing–not the tough sex, the hot billionaire or the sexy biker–never fails to give me multiple satisfying heartgasms. What about you?

A Writer’s Nightmare

As most of you know, I’m a traditionally published author (small, awesome publishing house). Being the weirdo that I normally am, I wrote a sci-fi/dystopian romance in 2016 told in three POVs and holding two separate romances–one F/M and another M/M, never once stopping to wonder how difficult it would be to market such a book (do you market it to the F/M romance readers, or the M/M?). The first sign that I was in trouble was when friends or beta readers began complaining about different things–too much romance (the sci-fi readers), too much sci-fi (the romance readers), main characters are too sexual, main characters are not sexual enough, it’s too intense, it’s not intense enough… I had one reader that actually tried to change the whole thing including the way I write and erase my voice. Holy shit!

After I submitted it to my publisher, I was told what I already suspected–that I either changed the manuscript radically, which meant breaking it into two separate romances, or they couldn’t publish it because of the potential marketing nightmare. At that point I had to totally agree with them. I had poured my heart and soul into this manuscript (which at times was emotionally very difficult to write) and I wasn’t willing to change it at that time. I was not being arrogant, just overwhelmed with it all. For me that story was one and I couldn’t imagine breaking it into two. It would be like leaving a part of myself behind.

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The manuscript had already gone through one round of professional edits, but after I had unsuccessfully tried to modified it to better fit the marketing woes, I knew it was back to a mess. So I hired my usual editor for another round of edits with the growing idea (which terrified me) of self-publishing it in the future. Unfortunately, my editor  broke the trust I had in him by doing an extremely superficial edit and taking off with my money. I may be trusting but I also know when I’ve been had.

I had a couple more people read it for content feedback and I was again disappointed that no one was willing to read my manuscript to the end. Beta readers were giving up after a couple chapters. It didn’t bode well. I almost gave up on the idea of publishing it. But in the end I couldn’t give up on my characters and the world I created. I felt I owed it to them to stay the course.

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I contacted a book cover designer I have admired for a few years and asked them to design my cover. I was delighted with the results. That cover is amazing (cover reveal to come in the near-ish future).

I changed a few things according to suggestions and critiques from others, tightened up the writing (I have a tendency to be wordy), and hired another editor to do a final round. After the edits were done, I went over it again twice, tightening it even more, paranoid as I am now that my writing truly sucks. I went over it once more after a friend of mine had formatted it for publication (and amazing friend that she is, she was willing to do it again after subsequent changes).

My book now has an ISBN and I have to choose a publication date in the next couple days. I’m already paralyzed by all I will have to do. Because I have a couple more books releasing this year, there is a very short window to publish this one so it doesn’t conflict with the others. Which means I have to do it within the next month or so.

Frightened and stressed young business woman

My nightmare is not over yet because after suffering so many setbacks and getting bad feedback for two years, I’m terrified of how the public is going to respond to it. I have now invested more money into this book than possibly all my other six together and, being my first self-pub, I’m sailing in uncharted waters from where I expect a monster to jump out at any moment.

Do you think I did the right thing sticking by my story or was I a total dunce and should have just scrapped it?