Why I Wrote Any Other Love

Five nights under the city lights could give Amarie and Char the happily-ever-after they’ve always wanted, but a devastating diagnosis and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity could send it all crashing down.

With just three days ’til Any Other Love hits the shelves, I thought I’d share a bit more behind why I wrote this book.

Any Other Love is my first bisexual/lesbian, f/f romance. Even though I chose a partner who happens to be a dude, being bisexual is still a huge part of me. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation, stigma, and prejudice surrounding bi people. There also isn’t much representation of bi people on the shelves—especially of bi people in m/f relationships. When I met Amarie and Char in Just One More Minute, I knew they had to be together, and writing their book became a perfect opportunity for me to contribute to proper bi rep in literature.

It also served as an opportunity for me to represent people with invisible illnesses. Like me, Amarie lives with Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD). I wanted to tell some of my story, and show that even though UCTD and other autoimmune diseases can be debilitating and throw your life off track, you can still live a fulfilling life. You just might have to live at a different pace. Many of Amarie’s struggles in the book were inspired by my own experiences.

I’m not sure if I’ll publish more f/f romance; while I love writing it, my writing is a business and I have bills to pay. So far, my pre-orders have been low—but I’m still so very proud of this book and glad that I put it out there. If my production schedule allows, I have even more f/f romance stories I’d like to tell. It’ll depend on how Any Other Love sells after release and whether I can fit more projects in while sticking to a steady release schedule.

It’s my hope, though, that Any Other Love will resonate with readers. I hope that it’ll show the world that being bisexual is not a state of confusion, a fad, or a sexy plot device. I want to show people that having an invisible chronic illness and disability isn’t laziness, inspiration porn, or attention-seeking. Mostly, I just want to show the world that two women can fall in love and live happily ever after—even when life isn’t perfect.


PRE-ORDER ANY OTHER LOVE NOW

Any Other Love is available at a special pre-sale price of only $0.99! Pre-order now and the ebook will be delivered to the device of your choice on August 21st.

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Read an Excerpt: Chapter 1

Cover Reveal: Any Other Love

My f/f romance Any Other Love releases in two weeks! I’m always a combination of excited and nauseous during a launch, but I have more butterflies than usual surrounding this release for a few reasons.

  1. Any Other Love is my first published f/f romance.
  2. I’m not sure how it’s going to be received by my existing readers. Some of you are excited, and some of you have unsubscribed from my email list, bahaha.
  3. I’m not sure how it’s going to be received by lesfic readers. I have no other f/f romances, so I’m going to be the new kid on the block in this sub-genre. Being the new girl is always slightly terrifying.

Still, Any Other Love is a story that I had to tell from the moment that Char and Amarie met in Just One More Minute. (Yup—Any Other Love is a companion novel to Rowan and Matt’s story!) Plus, I’m very proud to be bisexual; I write f/f romance to honor that part of me, and to give other bi women a place on the shelves.

Finally, Any Other Love is important to me because it shares a bit of my journey to getting a diagnosis and treatment for my UCTD. Writing Any Other Love was like slipping into a warm bath and pouring my heart out into a journal.

So while I’m really nervous about this release, I’m also really, really excited.

Speaking of exciting things, it’s time to share the cover!

Blurb

From the outside, Amarie has it all: a promising teaching career, a big group of friends, and a gorgeous boyfriend. On the inside, though, her immune system is attacking her own body and slowly taking away everything she loves. The specialists she’s seen are baffled by her condition, so Amarie takes matters into her own hands and makes an appointment with a renowned rheumatologist in NYC. She could finally get the diagnosis and treatment she needs to live her life—if only she can get there.

Charlotte may dye her hair bold colors, but she’s never been brave enough to chase her lifelong dream of owning her own restaurant. When she finds out about a restauranteur convention in NYC, she’s way too chicken to go for it—until her best friend signs her up. With no excuses left, Char heads out to the city, taking the girl of her dreams with her.

Five nights under the city lights could give Amarie and Char the happily-ever-after they’ve always wanted, but a devastating diagnosis and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity could send it all crashing down.

Any Other Love is a f/f romance.

Behind the Scenes

Finding f/f stock photos is really difficult; finding f/f stock photos featuring a dark-skinned Latina with curly dark hair and a pale white girl with teal hair is damn near impossible. It was also really hard to find stock photos that weren’t better suited for erotica. After countless hours scouring multiple stock photo websites, I narrowed it down to a few (which you can see on my Any Other Love Pinterest board).

Then I talked with my cover designer, Chelsea of CJPB Designs. Together we decided on an image, and then Chelsea made pure magic. She also made me cry happy tears the first time I saw her mockup.

Pre-order Any Other Love Now

Any Other Love is available at a special pre-sale price of only $0.99! Pre-order now and the ebook will be delivered to the device of your choice on August 21st.

Kindle · iBooks · Nook · More

Or 1-Click for Your Kindle:

Read an Excerpt: Chapter 1

Pre-Order Your Copy of Any Other Love for Only $0.99

Cover Reveal: August 14th

Surprise! You can now pre-order Any Other Love for only 99 pennies. My goal is to launch Any Other Love in the top 100 in the lesfic category on Amazon, so if you pre-order now you’re saving money and doing me a solid.

Pre-ordering with the other retailers helps, too, so if you’re a non-Kindle user like me, you’re also helping.

Pre-order now. Click here!

Blurb

From the outside, Amarie has it all: a promising teaching career, a big group of friends, and a gorgeous boyfriend. On the inside, though, her immune system is attacking her own body and slowly taking away everything she loves. The specialists she’s seen are baffled by her condition, so Amarie takes matters into her own hands and makes an appointment with a renowned rheumatologist in NYC. She could finally get the diagnosis and treatment she needs to live her life—if only she can get there.

Charlotte may dye her hair bold colors, but she’s never been brave enough to chase her lifelong dream of owning her own restaurant. When she finds out about a restauranteur convention in NYC, she’s way too chicken to go for it—until her best friend signs her up. With no excuses left, Char heads out to the city, taking the girl of her dreams with her.

Five nights under the city lights could give Amarie and Char the happily-ever-after they’ve always wanted, but a devastating diagnosis and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity could send it all crashing down.

Pre-order Now

Kindle · iBooks · Nook · More

Read Chapter 1 »

Or 1-Click for Your Kindle

Treat Yourself to 10 Romance Ebooks for $0.99 Each!

I don’t know about you, but here in Connecticut, it’s been cold and windy, and Mother Nature keeps dumping snow on us. This Valentine’s Day, I’m collaborating with nine other authors in an exciting $0.99 sale. Diving Into Him (South of Forever, Book 1) is only $0.99 through February 18th.

Warm up with 10 romance ebooks for $0.99 each—and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Click here to get started »

Now Available: Just One More Minute

via GIPHY
via GIPHY

November has been a complete jerk so far. October too, if I’m being honest. But where last month I was able to keep up with everything, I’ve fallen completely behind this month. 🙈 Needless to say, between release day jitters, life-y things, the election, and chronic pain, I’m a blob of anxiety. Usually, pre-release, I sit down and write up an organized marketing plan, complete with deadlines. I kept up with everything until just about two weeks ago. I’ve barely promoted the Facebook release party and I’m honestly really bummed about that. Only Thursday night did I remember to email everyone who signed up for ARCs to remind them to post their reviews. Le sigh.

But the show goes on. That’s what we do. We pick ourselves up, find our place, and keep marching forward—even if we need to take frequent breaks for rest.

The theme of Just One More Minute, in a nutshell, is that life blows up. It’s not pretty. Plans change. But there are always people around us who help us get back on our feet, and we always find more strength within ourselves. There’s always a chance to start over.

My inner strength reserves are kinda shot at the moment, but I’d like to give a shout out to, in no particular order: my husband Mike, my work wife and fellow author J.C. Hannigan, my crit partner and fellow author Molli Moran, and my best friend Sandy. I also want to thank my family for doing really nice things like showing up with groceries and helping wrestle my air conditioner out of my super scary 100+-year-old windows. And a major thank you to everyone who’s helped via my GoFundMe page. Thank you also to Sarah J., who read an ARC of Just One More Minute and told me it was the one bright spot in an otherwise crappy week. Honorable mention goes to Michelle H., a lovely reader and soon-to-be-published author who has lifted my spirits several times this week just by chatting with me on Facebook.

Even when life gets sassy, there are a lot of things to be grateful for.

My fingers, hands, and wrists are especially stiff and achy, so I’m just gonna end this with the Just One More Minute blurb and some buy links.

Happy release day to me—and to you, my lovely readers!


Just One More Minute, by Elizabeth BaroneA down-on-her-luck waitress inherits a bakery with the man who stole her dream job—and broke her heart.

Rowan left Connecticut to escape her indifferent family the second she graduated high school, but when her loving aunt dies, she drops everything to return for the funeral. All Rowan wants is to say her goodbyes and get back to her life—until her aunt’s lawyer tells her that she’s inherited Elli’s Bakery, the last straw that sent her running to New Jersey.

Even worse, her brand new business partner is Matt—the guy who stole her dream job at Elli’s and crushed her heart. Is she really supposed to just forgive him and run Elli’s by his side?

For Matt, Elli’s has been a safe haven, a way to take care of his heartsick mom and fatherless little brother. When the woman who took him in passes away, Matt has no idea what he’s going to do next. Until Rowan returns to their small town and becomes his new business partner. But after everything that went down between them, it’s clear that Rowan resents him.

Digging up the past will only be painful, and Matt needs to keep the bakery in business. Can Matt convince Rowan to stick around long enough to work things out between them?

Just One More Minute is a standalone small town bakery romance.

Buy Now

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I’ve decided to leave the book at $0.99 just a bit longer, so grab your copy now!

Still not convinced? Read the first two chapters here.

Just One More Minute: Chapter 2

Just One More Minute, by Elizabeth Barone

Matt slumped into a chair in Katherine’s office. After hearing the news the other night, he hadn’t even wanted to open the bakery for the next day. There was no point. The place was lifeless without her. But she’d made it abundantly clear to him that she wanted him to keep the place going if anything happened to her. Her lawyer was definitely making sure sure that he followed her last wishes, too.

So he’d opened up Elli’s on Saturday and accepted a steady stream of customers mourning Katherine. He spent the day serving them coffee and pastries, pushing his own feelings aside. There was no choice. If he thought about his mentor too much, he would break. Katherine had been more than that, really. She’d been like a mother to him.

He’d closed early and fallen into a heavy sleep, resolving not to open on Sunday. But the lawyer had given him a friendly wakeup call that morning, imploring him to get to work. Matt didn’t know what to expect, but nothing had changed. People continued to flock to Elli’s, offering him their condolences and treating the weekend as a memorial service in and of itself.

He dragged a hand through his brown curls, sighing. He’d made it through most of the weekend, but he had no idea what would happen next. Without Katherine, he had no job. It was only a matter of time.

The smart thing to do would be to skip the wake that evening and spend the night figuring out what he was going to do. He’d graduated high school only by the skin of his teeth. College hadn’t even been an option. If it wasn’t for Katherine, he and his family would be homeless. And he would never be able to thank her for what she’d done for him.

There was no way he could miss her wake, though. The thought of seeing her in a casket simultaneously made him nauseous and sent pain searing through his chest, but he had to pay his last respects. He owed her at least that—even if it would cost him dearly.

Matt rubbed his face with his hands. The whole situation was all too familiar. He’d been one of very few people who had known Katherine was sick. She hadn’t even intended to tell him, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew the side effects of chemo. He’d watched her get weaker and weaker, once again powerless to stop the inevitable. On its own, his grief for his father was unbearable, but losing Katherine was like ripping a scab off a large, still raw wound. The anger, sadness, and helplessness enveloping him were familiar, but that didn’t make dealing with those feelings any easier.

Shoulders slumped, he stood from his seat. On his way into the kitchen to clean up, he paused in the hall. The front end needed a run-through, too. His limbs felt frozen. Without any customers, the place felt too empty. Katherine would kill him if he left the place anything less than spotless, though. Torn, he glanced back at the kitchen, then at the cafe. Normally he wasn’t so indecisive, but he felt reluctant to clean either room. All he wanted to do was go home and collapse into bed. Maybe then he’d wake up and discover it’d all been a bad dream.

Danny and his mom were waiting at home for him, though. The thought of his family jolted him into action. They depended on him. He needed to stay strong.

It didn’t take long for him to clean up, even though he took his time. Once he started, he relaxed easily into the familiar ritual. He was suddenly all too aware that the sooner he locked up, the closer he’d be on his way to the wake. There was only so much procrasti-cleaning he could do, though. Squaring his shoulders, he put the mop away and grabbed his keys from the office. He set the alarm, then slipped out into the hot afternoon.

His pickup didn’t have air conditioning. He’d parked in the shady corner of the parking lot earlier that morning. Though it’d been dark when he arrived, the truck rested underneath a sprawling oak. Even though he’d left the windows wide open, when he opened the door, steaming hot air rushed out at him. The sooner he got it moving, the better.

He took the long way home—not that there was really a long way in Watertown. He crossed the small town into the even smaller town of Oakville within just a few minutes. Parking in front of the three-family house where he and his family lived, he shut the engine off. He needed to compose himself before he walked in and Danny saw his face.

The wake would start in just a couple of hours. Everything was happening too quickly. He needed a moment, but life was unrelenting. The best he could do was stop fighting and let himself be carried.

The problem was, he had no idea which direction he should float in.

Steeling himself, he pushed open the car door and got out. As he walked toward the door that led to his apartment, he felt eyes on him. Casually, he glanced up to the third floor. His upstairs neighbor Burton glared down at him through the blinds.

“That old fucker blocked me in again.”

Matt turned toward the door to the first floor apartment, shoulders tense. He did not feel like dealing with Maureen at the moment. If he brushed her off, though, she would take it personally. She and Burton had already dragged him into their war, each trying to force him to pick sides. He had no idea how Switzerland always remained so neutral. Juggling neighbors was hard. Besides, he was inclined to get along with Maureen because she frequently looked after Danny for him.

“What else is new?” he asked, keeping his tone light.

Maureen nodded toward the other side of the house. “So I knocked his garbage over.” She smirked.

Great. Burton would, without a doubt, blame Danny. Every time Matt’s little brother played outside, Burton made an effort to intimidate him back inside. The old fucker was territorial and mean. Matt opened his mouth, then shut it. Reminding Maureen that she had other neighbors would do no good. He’d have to remember to clean up the mess as soon as she went inside. He climbed the steps to his door and put a hand on the knob.

“Want a cigarette?” Maureen asked, holding out the pack to him.

He considered it. A cigarette would help soothe his nerves. But he’d promised Danny he would never smoke again, and he intended to keep that promise—even if his mother didn’t. “I’ve got a wake to get to.”

Maureen’s lips twitched to the side and her eyebrows slanted. “Sorry to hear that.” She took a drag from her cigarette. “I’ll catch you later, then,” she said, exhaling smoke as she spoke.

Closing the door behind him, Matt climbed the flight of stairs that led to the final door to his apartment. They were steep, creaking and groaning beneath him. He still thought the placement of the stairs was odd, but he was glad that there were two doors separating him from his neighbors.

As soon as he opened the door, Danny flung himself into his arms. “Matty,” his little brother said affectionately. The kid hadn’t hit puberty yet, and his voice was still childlike. Soon that would change, though.

“Is Mom . . . ?” Matt let the question hang in the air.

Danny nodded. “She said to get her up before the, well, you know.” He looked down at the floor.

Matt knelt in front of him. “You don’t have to go, if you don’t want to.” He considered for a moment. “But you’d have to hang out outside the funeral home—unless you want to stay with Maureen.”

His little brother shook his head rapidly. “I’ll bring my Gameboy.”

Matt smiled. The Gameboy Advance had been his, from his own childhood. Despite its age, Danny loved the Pokemon Red and Super Mario Bros. games that Matt had played at his age. He was glad he’d held onto it. Neither he or his mother could afford to get Danny the latest Nintendo handheld device, and definitely not something as expensive as an iPad. But if the kid knew the difference, he didn’t let on. Danny was a good boy.

Straightening, Matt glanced around the kitchen. Cereal bowls from that morning were still on the table, soggy Os floating in probably rancid milk. He sighed. “You’ve got to remember to clean up, Danny.” Though he hated that his little brother had joined the Take Care of Mom club, eleven was old enough to put a dish in the sink.

After he rinsed the bowls out and set them in the sink to soak, Matt headed into the bathroom. “I’ll be out in a few. Wake Mom up,” he called over his shoulder.

* * *

He pulled into the funeral home’s lot and followed one of the usher’s directions into a parking spot. “Danny,” he said, turning in his seat. His little brother sat bent over his Gameboy. “It’s too hot to stay in the car while we’re inside so go sit in the shade over there.” He pointed to a grassy area. A bench sat underneath a tree. From there, engrossed in his game, Danny probably wouldn’t even remember that he was at a funeral home. Or so Matt hoped.

Matt unbuckled his seat belt and slid out of the car. At some point, he’d have to stop babying his little brother. He knew that. But he’d never forget the look on Danny’s face when they first walked into another room in another funeral home, six years earlier. Matt hadn’t even been prepared for how their dad would look, the once tan skin ashen and flat. Their father had looked like a sleeping statue, a parody of himself.

Shaking the memories away, Matt went around to his mother’s side of the car. He opened her door and offered her his arm. She glanced up at him from beneath thinning lashes, her eyes somber.

“You can hang out with Danny, if you want,” he said gently.

Relief flickered across her face for a moment, then she shook her head. She lifted her chin. “Katherine did so much for you—for us,” Emily said. She clasped his arm and climbed out of the car, grimacing in pain at his touch. Grief had not been kind to her. Where she’d once been strong, Fibromyalgia wracked her nerves, the stress of losing her husband aggravating her illness.

Still, he was able to lead her into the funeral home without much trouble. He started to guide her to a seat, but she shook her head. Nodding, he led her toward the line. It was long.

While they waited, he tried to look anywhere but the casket. The room was crowded with people, many of the faces familiar. He glanced at the line of family members receiving condolences. He’d only met Katherine’s brother Noah once. He could only assume the woman standing next to him was his wife. He knew Katherine hadn’t exactly seen eye to eye with her family, but he’d never learned why. He was pretty sure that, if Katherine could have it her way, none of them would be at the wake or funeral.

The line of mourners moved forward, rapidly passing time shoving Matt closer to the casket. He forced himself to focus on something else as he moved his feet.

Next to Mr. and Mrs. Ellis stood their daughters and son. Their oldest daughter, he knew, was a relatively successful theatre actress out in New York City. Their son was a teenager who regularly got into trouble, though. He’d barely graduated high school, but only because he preferred to smoke pot and snort pills in the school bathroom. Katherine was not fond of either Mia or Leo.

But she’d loved her other niece.

Matt’s eyes fell on the young woman named Rowan. He’d never met her, but he felt as if he knew her. As he took in the sight of her, his breath caught in his throat. The dress she wore hugged her curves, its pencil skirt shape falling to just above her knees. Though the neckline reached her collarbone, parts of the dress that stretched across her breastbone were tastefully cut out in three diamond shapes. Light brown hair fell in waves down to her waist. She was stunning—much more so than the photos on Katherine’s desk hinted at.

Pale blue eyes met his from across the room. Recognition flashed across her face. Her eyes widened. He smiled, starting to lift a hand. Rowan’s eyes narrowed in a hard glare. Her lips twitched in distaste.

Turning around, he glanced about for the object of her anger. No one in the vicinity seemed to even notice her, though. He glanced back at her. She was definitely glaring at him.

And she wasn’t happy.

Matt took an involuntary step back. The line moved forward—Murphy’s Law. He realized that his mom was eyeing him expectantly, one brow lifted in question. For once, his mother was more possessed than he was. He shook his head at himself, then joined her. Throwing a glance at the casket, he tried to decide what he was going to do once up there.

People knelt, bowed their heads, and after a few seconds, made the sign of the cross. Then they stood up. Though his father had been raised Jewish, Matt’s parents had basically raised him Protestant. All that came to an end six years before. He knew Katherine’s family was far from religious—never mind Catholic—so the ritual seemed even more impersonal to him.

What he really wanted to do was shake her awake and take her out for a coffee, escaping from the too warm room and all the formalities. The thought was absurd, but there it was.

Suddenly it was his turn.

He hadn’t noticed his mother go ahead of him. She stood off to the side, waiting for him.

Matt wiped the palms of his hands on his worn black Dickies. He stepped forward. Swallowing hard against the dry knot in his throat, he knelt down in front of the casket. He found himself staring into Katherine’s arm. Quickly he bowed his head.

He didn’t know how to pray, or if he should even bother. He had no idea what happened after life. Heart thudding in his chest, he tried to think of what he’d want to say to Katherine if he’d had the chance.

I’m sorry, he blurted into the spaces of his mind. I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry—

Someone in the line behind him cleared their throat. Matt’s head snapped up. With a final nod, he jumped away from the casket and joined his mom.

She gave his arm a squeeze.

Together, they turned toward Katherine’s family.

“I’m so sorry,” Emily said, clasping Noah’s hand.

The man nodded his thanks. The bitter, sticky scent of marijuana oozed off of him. His eyes were red-rimmed and glassy. In fact, Matt noticed as he moved down the line shaking hands, the entire Ellis family smelled like weed. A smile tugged at his lips but he forced his face to remain blank. Part of him wished they’d invited him to spark up. The scent was so strong, it almost knocked him over. All of them were engulfed in it—except for Rowan.

He stopped in front of her. She smelled clean, a light fragrance hovering around her like an aura, enveloping him in soothing warmth. Standing next to her family, she was a complete contrast—in more than one way. Her father and brother, for example, wore rumpled jeans. Rowan stood out in her funeral black. And while her family’s eyes were bloodshot, relaxed smiles painted their faces. Her eyes were red and swollen, and her mouth tugged down in a frown.

So maybe she hadn’t been glaring at him after all. Her family appeared almost jovial. No wonder she looked so pissed.

He held out his hand to her. “I’m Matt,” he said.

She wrapped her arms around herself. “I know who you are.” Her tone was sharp.

He blinked. Okay. He wouldn’t take it personally. She’d just lost her aunt, after all. “Katherine really loved you,” he offered. “She talked about you all the time.”

For a moment, Rowan’s face softened. A smile lit up her face. Then fresh tears filled her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he said softly.

She gazed at him, a mixture of emotions playing off her face—feelings he couldn’t read.

He stood there, feeling more awkward with each second that passed. His feet felt rooted to the floor, though. Something about her drew him in. It was familiar, almost as if they knew each other. But he’d never met her. Only through Katherine’s stories did he know that she made delicious pastries and that her face turned bright red when she swore. But still. He felt an almost relief in her presence, the same kind that came from being reunited with someone you love and haven’t seen in a long time.

It was ridiculous. He didn’t believe in instalove. The crazy thing was, though, that for a second, she looked like she felt something too.

Then the mask slipped back over her face. Her eyes narrowed, guarded.

He needed to say something. People behind him pressed closer. He was holding the line up. He should tell a funny story about Katherine, bring that smile back again. Give her something to carry with her. Blank static filled his mind, though. He’d spent the last two years working with Katherine, yet he couldn’t recall a single moment. His pulse echoed in his ears. He realized that he might just be having a panic attack. The wake was proving to be too much for him.

Resolving to find her again before he left, he mumbled another quick sorry, then hurried away. He retreated to a seat at the back of the wide room. Then he cursed himself.

He’d had a chance to pay it forward, to spread some of Katherine’s kindness toward him to her niece. And he’d botched it—completely. Bringing his hands to his face, he bent over. Suddenly, he needed air. He stood and headed toward the exit.


JUST ONE MORE MINUTE
Available November 18th

A down-on-her-luck waitress inherits a bakery with the man who stole her dream job—and broke her heart.

PRE-ORDER NOW
Special $0.99 Offer*!

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*Offer ends November 18th; regular price $2.99. Hurry and pre-order now to save!

November 2016 News and Goals

via Unsplash
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Just One More Minute comes out in 12 days! You can pre-order your copy for only $0.99 here. Books2Read will either automagically detect your favorite retailer, or you can choose from their list.

It’s a beautiful thing indeed.

This month is already proving to be a tough one, so I’m trying to take it easy. Easier said than done, of course. I’m flaring hard, so pacing and resting are important. But I also have a release, which means promotion! And of course I’m writing SOF4 (see my latest update here).

Goals for November

  • Write at least 50K for Twisted Broken Strings (South of Forever, Book 4). (My total goal is 75K, but I’m taking it slow.)
  • Release Just One More Minute. Thank goodness for pre-order. I don’t have to lift a finger on release day, other than to change the price to $2.99. I’m also looking for bloggers who’d like to share Chapter 1 sometime this month, and maybe even review an ARC. If that sounds like you, you can sign up here.
  • Finish beta reading for my CP. She is seriously a doll; I’ve been taking way longer than forever on this and she’s been nothing but patient. The worst part is, I love her novel! Time is not my friend.

There are a lot of other things I’d like to do, but I’ll be grateful if I can accomplish these three. I’ve been scheduling important social media posts so that I don’t have to spend a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook (plus I can get some extra rest). I struggled a lot with doing this—in my silly mind, I felt like scheduling them was disingenuous. But Rachel Thompson and all the wonderful people in #bookmarketingchat assured me that it’s all still me, and that it’ll make my life so much easier. They were totally right.

Speaking of chats, I’d really like to make more of these. Unfortunately, by the time they start I’m usually shot for the day. That’s typically the hour that all I’m good for is curling up in front of the TV and fighting sleep. There are some really good ones, too, so it’s a bummer. If this sounds like you, let’s high five and make matching #TeamTiredAuthor T-shirts.

I’ve slowed way down with my reading. I still have the rest of Claire Contreras’s Hearts series, and my pre-order of J.C. Hannigan’s Rebel Heart came in and I can’t wait to re-read it! Plus I have about a dozen books I’ve bought but have yet to read. Reader/writer problems, am I right?

However, I’ve started writing morning pages again! I’m beyond broke, so I picked up an $0.88 composition notebook. My pages are not usually in the morning; often I’m scribbling in them just before bed, to try to alleviate my mind. Not to mention it kills my wrist and fingers. But I get those three pages done anyway.

There are a few writing books I’d like to pick up, especially Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant’s The One with All the Writing Advice. I’m fascinated by the concept of cultural shorthand. I also realized I never finished Larry Brooks’s Story Engineering. I didn’t even make it halfway through, because there was so much to absorb. But I think I’m ready now.

So many books, so little time.

My GoFundMe page for donations and author services to help my husband and me catch up on bills is still up. I was able to pay a couple of bills thanks to your help, but we have a long way to go. We didn’t make our electricity bill, so we now owe that plus next month’s. I’m thinking of coming off the budget plan, because ours is set way higher than what we’re actually using, and keeping up with it is killing us. It’s only in the brutally cold January and February that we go over and it comes in handy. If you’re an author in need of budget-friendly services or would just like to help, you can donate here.

This month What Happens on Tour (South of Forever, Book 3) is part of Kobo’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend sale. It will be $0.99 from November 22nd to 28th, no code required! And the first book in the series, Diving Into Him, is forever free (everywhere). So if you’ve been eyeing the South of Forever series and are a Kobo reader (you can even use their free app), now’s a great time to start. I recommend getting the free Book 1, then the $2.99 Book 2. Then when the sale goes live, pick up Book 3 for only $0.99! Check out the series page on Kobo here.

A lot of people ask me when I’ll have paperbacks in stock again. I have a few on hand in my office that I’m using as rewards for the GoFundMe. Eventually I’d like to get all of my books back in print, but here’s the thing: it’s less budget-friendly than publishing an ebook. If you’d like a paperback, please consider picking up an ebook copy and telling your friends. My hope is, once I get ahead of my bills, I can finally get started on paperbacks.

I think that’s it for now. To keep up with everything I’m doing, join my email list!

#TeaserTuesday: Roving Over Her… (NSFW)

This week’s teaser is not safe for work (NSFW), so I’m hiding it behind the cut. My apologies to everyone on social media; when I originally scheduled it on HootSuite, I was half falling asleep and not really thinking! Continue reading #TeaserTuesday: Roving Over Her… (NSFW)

40 Reviews: Max and Savannah’s First Kiss

40 Reviews Bonus!We did it! Late Friday I saw that we reached 40 reviews for The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos. Thank you so much to everyone who left a review! As promised, here’s Max and Savannah’s first kiss—in her point of view.


When their hands touched, his fingers grasping hers and lifting her from the floor, Savannah felt waves of warmth tingling through her. She wanted to ride that wave, drifting along wherever it carried her. As her feet found the floor, her hand remained in his.

She’d wanted him to kiss her from the moment they met in the coffee shop. Though he was a couple of years younger and not her usual type, he was sweet. He didn’t have the tall, muscular build that most of her boyfriends usually had, but give him a few more years and he’d fill out. Those full lips of his seemed like they were made for hers, locking into her like a puzzle piece. The stage was almost set. She just needed one more thing.

“I’ll be right back,” she told him. Before he could say anything, she danced out of his bedroom and into hers. All of her doubts no longer mattered. The heart wanted what it wanted—and at the moment, her heart was all about tangling in his sheets. Of course, if she was wrong and he had no feelings for her whatsoever . . .

She couldn’t worry about that.

Lifting the two canvases, she carried them out into the hall. She was about to take them into his room when movement from the living room caught her eye. Well, that was fine. They could always retreat to his bedroom.

If her sister—or anyone else in her family—knew her thoughts, they would give her a stern talking to about how she needed to focus, how she was once again tarnishing her reputation, and blah, blah, blah. She was sick of it. There was nothing wrong with a healthy sexual appetite. After all, she had to work off all that food she ate somehow.

Max knelt in front of an empty wall, stacking Chloe’s gifts into the shape of a tree. Her heart twisted. He was just so damn sweet. She could easily see herself having babies with him. She didn’t care that her thoughts were already careening that way. Sometimes love just took people by force. All she could do was hope she didn’t wreck.

Even if she did, she’d survive and move on.

She always did.

“Hold on,” she whispered to him, lugging the canvases into the living room. Giving up, she left one leaning against a wall and brought the bigger one to him.

“What’s that?” he asked, his voice husky.

Shivers ran through her. Oh yes, she was done for. All her life, she’d gone for the bad boys—the rugged ones with the dark looks and pasts, bodies built for ravaging and worshipping her body. Their hearts, on the other hand, not so much. It was time to do something different. After all, the definition of insanity . . .

She spun the canvas around, watching his face. “Ta-da!” She flipped on the light, revealing the Christmas tree she’d painted. It wasn’t her best work, but she was proud of it. She’d done it almost as an after thought, hurrying to get it finished after she wrapped up the other painting.

He blinked at her, and for a moment she thought he might be offended. After all, she’d probably stuck her nose into his Christmas plans far enough already. But he sprang to his feet. “I don’t know what to say, Savannah. This is perfect.” His voice was thick with emotion, and she felt her own eyes moistening. He crossed the room and pulled her into a hug. She felt herself melting into his embrace. “Thank you,” he whispered into her ear.

All systems go, she thought. Releasing the canvas, she wrapped her arms around his neck. “You’re welcome,” she whispered back, her lips brushing his ear.

This was it. He was going to kiss her, and to hell with what her family said about her libido. She held him close, feeling his heart beat against hers. She started to close her eyes, but noticed the forgotten second canvas.

Might as well seal the deal, she thought, pulling away from him. Already her body missed his touch, her skin aching to be near him again. Maybe this time it was the real deal. She always thought it was true love, until she ended up with a black eye or face to face with the other woman.

Grabbing the Christmas tree painting, she walked it across the room and slid it behind Max’s pile of gifts for Chloe. The scene was almost complete.

She scooped up the other painting, her heart thudding in her chest. If this didn’t reel him in, she’d know for sure that they weren’t meant to be. She’d let go of her silly feelings and focus on Chloe—and on finding another place to stay. By now she knew not to stick around when things weren’t working. One black eye, one broken heart was enough. She wasn’t one to hope for things to change.

She stood in front of him, holding the wrapped canvas like a baby. She hadn’t had any pretty paper, so her leftover packing paper had to do. Holding it out to him, she swallowed hard.

“What is this?” he asked in that husky voice.

She shivered again. She hoped he talked dirty in that tone. “It’s for you. I didn’t have a chance to buy you anything, and I didn’t really know what you would like, and, well, just look at it.” She was babbling. Biting her lower lip to shut herself up, she let her hands dangle at her sides.

Max peeled the paper off. He held out the canvas in front of him, studying the lines of Chloe’s face.

Her teeth dug into her lip. She was always nervous about doing portraits for people. Capturing someone’s true likeness and the essence of their spirit was nerve-wracking enough, and Max hadn’t even asked for it. He knew his baby girl’s face better than anyone else in the world. If she’d messed up even one line, he might find it offensive.

A gasp escaped his lips.

She swallowed hard, fists tightening at her side.

“It’s beautiful,” he said. “Thank you.”

Though his words sounded sincere, she still peered up at him from beneath her lashes. “You like it?”

“I love it, Savannah. How long have you been painting?” His voice rose in enthusiasm. Gently, he set the canvas down, leaning it against the couch.

Relief swept through her. Giving him a shrug, she said, “Since before I dropped out of art school.” Taking a step closer to him, she winked. “I wasn’t sure if I was gonna be able to finish it in time, and then you offered to go shopping. You’re so easy.” She gently shoved his arm, a smile playing on her lips. Shaking out her hair behind her, she steeled herself.

It was show time.

He laughed in response to her joke. “I’d say you have to buy me dinner first, but you cook for me all the time.”

She blinked at him, not sure her ears were working correctly. The heat spreading across his cheeks confirmed his words—and emboldened her. She closed the distance between them, ready to draw the curtain on her final act.

“That was stupid,” he said, backtracking. “I’m sorry—”

Pressing her lips to his, she cut him off. Doubt no longer plagued her. The second their lips touched, she felt the familiar tingles rocketing through her, caressing her. Might as well go for a standing ovation, she decided, and cupped the back of his neck, deepening the kiss.

When he kissed her back, lips gliding across hers like silk, his arms wrapping around her waist, she cemented her decision.

Tonight, she was all his.


Our next goal is 50 reviews. If you haven’t already, please go here and post a short, honest review—even if it’s a sentence or two, even if you didn’t love the book.

I promise you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t love this book. I’m really just looking to get as many reviews as possible so I can submit to sites like Bookbub and receive access to other marketing opportunities.

When we make it to 50 reviews, I will post a video of me reading another chapter from The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos!

Haven’t read it yet? One-click now or shop all retailers here.

Help Me Reach 50 Reviews on Amazon for The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos

The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos, by Elizabeth BaroneIf you haven’t heard the news by now, my publisher is closing its doors at the end of this month, which kind of sucks. To be totally honest, I’m kind of in a jam. If you’ll help me, I’ve got some awesome goodies for you.

To make a really long story short, every book needs a marketing plan in order to be successful. There are thousands of books out there, and it’s easy to get lost in that sea. This is why it’s helpful to have a publisher, because they can assist you with marketing and open doors for you that you wouldn’t normally be able to access.

I’m tough, so I have no intention of tapping out of my writing career. This is only a bump in the road, and I just have to get a little more creative now. Challenge accepted.

I’ve adjusted my course but I need some hands on deck. (I don’t know why I’m making pirate references. Maybe it’s because I’m an arrrtist and I have arrrthritis. Okay, I’m done now. Matey.) The more reviews my books get, the better chances I have of marketing them. Before the big announcement, my book manager and I were working on getting 50 Amazon reviews for The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos. Here’s how you can help.

If you haven’t already, please leave an honest review for The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos on Amazon. It can just be a quick sentence, such as “I really liked this book.” If you didn’t love it, that’s okay too! All reviews help, even the 1-star ones. I promise, you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t like my books.

Haven’t read The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos yet? Click here to grab a copy.

In exchange for your help, I’ve got some awesome goodies. If we make it to…

  • 40 reviews on Amazon, I’ll post Max and Savannah’s first kiss in her point of view
  • 50 reviews on Amazon, I’ll post another reading from The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos on YouTube
  • 60 reviews on Amazon, I’ll hold a giveaway for a signed paperback copy of The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos* (plus some temporary skull tattoos and other rad swag)
  • 70 reviews on Amazon, I’ll post Max and Savannah’s first time in her point of view
  • 80 reviews on Amazon, I’ll hold a giveaway for a signed book cover poster*
  • 90 reviews on Amazon, I’ll post a sequel short story in both Max’s and Savannah’s point of view
  • 100 or more reviews on Amazon, I’ll hold a giveaway for this exclusive 3D sugar skull painting by yours truly*

So there you have it. Go post your review now! We only need two more to get to the first reward. 😉

Thanks in advance for your help.


*Due to the cost of shipping, giveaways are open to US residents only.