Review Excerpts


Friday, January 20, 2023

January = Time to Write!

I'm way too busy and/or lazy to go back and check, but I'm pretty sure I usually write a blog post around this time of year about having a fresh burst of writing energy. The holiday season doesn't leave much time for writing, despite usually having some days off. This past December in particular was insane for me work-wise; I really think it was the busiest month I've ever had at my day job, and I'm coming up on my 10-year anniversary with my company. (Which is also crazy to think about!)

Both the holidays and the work insanity are over with for now, which means I can finally sit down and get some serious writing done. I've just arrived at the final chapter of Sonata for Springtime, and since this is a slow-burn romance, we all know what's going to happen here. (wink wink nudge nudge) I know I need some sort of epilogue at the end to wrap things up, and I haven't figured out what's going to go in it yet, but, as I love to say, the end is in sight!

I do like starting a new year this way. Once I'm done with SfS, I'll probably take a little break and read some and game some, but we all know those breaks never last long. My to-write list never ever ever ever gets any shorter, and as of right this second, the next two projects I have planned will be on the shorter side (I think), so I might as well knock them out. Every time I do build up some writing momentum, I try to enjoy it while it lasts, so we'll see how far it gets me this year.

Happy 2023!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Adventures in Social Media

So there's been all sorts of noise lately about the future of Twitter. I still have no idea what's going to happen there, but, like many other people, I've been trying to work out some backup plans. Twitter is probably my biggest marketing tool at this point, not to mention I've met some awesome people there, so I'd be heartbroken if it disappears one day, but it's good to make plans in case something catastrophic happens, right?

I did start an author Instagram account, which I've been...kind of posting to? Usually cross posting from other places, but at least I remember to check it. But it exists, and a lot of my writing friends and I have found each other over there. Not bad.

I made accounts under this name on Hive and Mastodon. I have not logged into either one in at least a week. I don't love how it's hard to find people on Mastodon, and while I thought Hive had promise, it's been having problems. But again, they're there, and I at least "claimed my name." I have absolutely no idea how to link to my Hive account, but I'm thealanden there, and I think to follow me on Mastodon, it's thealanden@smutlandia.com. Maybe. Something like that. As I said, Mastodon doesn't really make it easy for you to find people you know.

And now. The big one.

For a while, I've been thinking about joining TikTok, not just to be an audience member, but to create content. (Aren't we tired of that phrase by now?) I've been weighing the pros and cons for some time now. Aside from the future of Twitter being uncertain, as a romance author, I couldn't help but feel I was potentially leaving money on the table since I'd heard romance could be quite popular over there. Plus, I guess I'm cute and witty and charming and innovative and whatnot. Or at least that's what some of my better friends have told me. ;) 

So, I made an account. And you know what? Surprisingly, I don't hate it. In fact, I'm liking it a lot more than I expected to, both from the viewing side and the creating side. Coming up with ideas for little videos about my writing projects is scratching a creative itch I didn't know I had, and it's been a fun outlet. I'll also admit that sometimes I do the low-effort "What D&D class are you?" randomizers and things like that, because it's entertaining and why not. Will I ever "make it big" over there and sell hundreds and thousands of copies of my books because of it? Who knows. But I figure it can't hurt!

Come on, take a look! @thealanden

Friday, November 4, 2022

The Deeper We Go - Available Now!


Halloween may be over, but it's still shapeshifter season! Okay, honestly, I was trying to get this one out before Halloween, but I ran into some hiccups with That Giant Ebook Retailer for the first time (which I'll detail in an upcoming post). Everything worked out in the end, though, and since this isn't specifically a Halloween story, just paranormal, we'll go with it!

The Deeper We Go is sort of on the lighter and fluffier side, but there are some darker moments. And, as always, you know you're guaranteed at least one super-steamy scene in all of my books and stories! Consent and open communication are key themes here, and I hope there are more than a few lines that will make you smile.

Blurb and excerpt time!

***

Emma is thrilled to be dating Charlie and wants to take their relationship to the next level. When he invites her over to his apartment, however, he surprises her with a confession: he’s a shapeshifter. Though he claims he can mostly control when he changes into an animal, she asks for some time to process what he’s revealed.

Anxiety and indecision plague her as she considers whether they have a future together. While she searches for answers, an unexpected incident puts her life in danger. Charlie can be the hero she needs, but is Emma ready to accept him in every form he takes?

***

Charlie groaned as she ground against him. His hands skimmed up her sides, and she anticipated them roaming over the rest of her body. Instead, he pulled away from her. “Emma, wait,” he said, panting for air.

Their pace hadn’t bothered her. “I don’t want to wait.” Before he could answer, she assaulted his mouth again.

He kissed her with the same vigor, but only for a moment longer. “We have to stop.” With one swift, gentle motion, he extricated himself from her grasp and moved her off his lap.

Emma knelt on the couch next to him, her brow furrowing. “What’s the matter? Did I do something wrong?”

“No! Oh, no, of course not.” His chest heaving, he fell back against the cushions and rubbed his eyes. “Look, I wasn’t sure what you were expecting tonight, whether you wanted a quiet evening cuddling on the couch or…this. But, before we do anything else, I need to talk to you about something.”

Remains of the pleasurable haze clouded her mind, and she fought to push them aside. “Okay,” she mumbled.

Charlie straightened and faced her. “I like you a lot, Emma, but there’s something you should know about me before we go any further. I never know the best time to bring this up, so I might as well just tell you now.” His shoulders slumped as he took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I’m a shapeshifter.”

Shapeshifter. She mulled over the word and tried to make sense of his confession. “You mean like a werewolf?”

“Pretty much, but I don’t turn into a wolf.”

***

The Deeper We Go is on sale for $0.99 and free on Kindle Unlimited!

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Off the Shelf

Firstly, the release schedule for the Searching the Skies series is still being finalized, but I promise I will let you know when I have details!

Okay, so. Summer has ended, the kids are back in school (thank GOD), and we're all returning to reality after some great vacations. I held firm and did not write a single new word of fiction after finishing up the Skies series in early July, but of course, I was thinking about what I wanted to work on once my self-imposed break was over. As always, I had a few different ideas to choose from, each at a different stage of development.

Let's backtrack a bit. Longtime readers and followers of this blog will remember the saga of Fire Beyond the Frost. To recap, I wrote the whole book, eventually decided I wasn't 100% in love with it, shelved it for a while, and then came back to it. I wouldn't say I did a complete overhaul of it, but I re-edited it and tweaked some scenes. (And, if memory serves, I got rid of one entirely.) Interestingly enough, when it was finally published, it became my most popular book, and I think it's still my highest-rated one on Goodreads.

Back to the present...ish. A few years ago, I was working on a contemporary romance project, and got far enough that I even gave it its own tag here on the blog: Sonata for Springtime. For whatever reason, I just couldn't seem to gain any momentum on writing it, despite having a decent outline, and every paragraph felt like a slog. Rather than forcing it, I decided to put it to the side for a while, and that was when I started writing Hunting Astrid (which also was a success, so that was the right decision!). I didn't know when, if ever, I would return to SfS, but it stayed in my files (as well as its backup), and I did still like the basic story and the characters.

As I started contemplating what I wanted to work on next, said story and its characters started calling to me. I did have about a third of it complete, plus the aforementioned outline, so I figured, why not give it a try? Believe it or not, I stopped in the middle of a chapter way back in 2019, but after rereading what I had, I jumped right back in and finally finished that chapter almost three years later.

So, here we are. The words are coming out again, and I'm rediscovering the characters' voices. There are a few blank spaces in the outline, but I still want to tell their story. As it's contemporary romance, it may not be the most groundbreaking, creative story I've ever told, but I'm hoping it will entertain and resonate with readers. Will it be as successful as Fire Beyond the Frost was after spending a considerable amount of time on the shelf? Who knows.

But hey, at least I get to use that tag here again!

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Finally Finished Up That Marathon

IT IS DONE.

Conquering the Skies, the fifth and final book of the Searching the Skies/Geneva Greyson series is finally finished. I have bundled it up and sent it off; receipt has been confirmed, and now I'm waiting for details on a release schedule. While it's been a fun ride, I won't lie and claim it doesn't feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

The word count of this book wound up going a bit longer than the previous four, which is fair, since it's wrapping up the series in a pretty little bow. I will admit there are times when I have some doubts about some of the plot lines in Books 4 and 5, but I think the series as a whole might be a rarity for me, in that it's more character-focused than plot-focused. And for the core characters, their journey is exactly what I wanted it to be for them, beginning to end.

My goal was to finish this up before leaving for our annual summer vacation, and I made it with about a week and a half to spare. After doing author-ly things nonstop for almost the past year and a half (not only writing new books, but promoting new releases), I have decided I'm not even going to think about writing a new word until September. Summer vacation is when I do most of my reading, and my Kindle is all loaded up and ready to go. I sometimes wondered if I was at risk for burning out while just wanting to get this series DONE, but whatever, it's finished, and I hope this little writing break will do me a world of good.

I haven't decided what my next project will be, though I have some book ideas that are fleshed out enough for me to feel comfortable starting. (Says the pantser.) For now, though, I'm not going to worry about it, and I'll just spend the next month and a half basking in the overwhelming relief I feel. I'll be sure to keep you updated with release news! (Reminder: These days, I'm sharing news faster on Twitter and via my mailing list, so make sure you're all signed up there!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Awards Season

I'm thrilled to announce that Disintegration has won the silver medal for erotica in this year's Independent Publisher Book Awards! (aka the IPPYs) This has been a long journey, one that's been well-documented on this blog, and if nothing else, regardless of how long I've been doing this, I'm still learning a lot about promotion and getting my name out there and whatnot.



Apparently I'm being mailed a fancy package with some seals and the actual medal and so on. I MIGHT be giving away some paperbacks with the aforementioned seals in the near future, so be sure you're signed up for my mailing list so you don't miss out!

Monday, March 21, 2022

The Home Stretch (of what feels like a marathon)

The release of A Flame Among the Stars went swimmingly, which is always a good thing. Reviews are popping up on Amazon and Goodreads, and they're largely favorable. As of right this second, I don't have any additional promotional events coming up, but that can always change!

As the saying goes, however, there is no rest for the weary. In addition to wrapping up AFAtS and promoting it, I've been working on finishing up the Geneva/Searching the Skies series. Book 4, Chasing the Skies, kind of went slowly, probably because I was promoting a bunch of other things while trying to write. There were a few times I questioned whether I still liked the plot I'd come up with, and one night I even debated scrapping the whole thing, but it worked out, it's done, and I'm satisfied with the results.

So, here we are at the end with Book 5, Conquering the Skies. I had a better mental outline going in than with Book 4, though there are still some details in the middle I need to flesh out. By my calculations, I estimate I'm roughly about a third of the way through, but since this is the final book, I won't mind if it goes a little longer.

It's funny - after spending so long with these characters, there are points where it almost feels like the book is writing itself. I know what they're going to say, how they're going to feel in any given situation. There have been times when I've had an idea for the plot, thought "no, that can't happen because of XYZ", and then actually included one of the characters pointing out that something can't happen because of XYZ. In fact, for the first plan I had for wrapping up one of the plot lines, I finally realized it would be out of character for our gruff but lovable space heroine and I have to do something different. (At least I realized before writing it out!) A lot has happened in five books, and I want everything to make sense and be satisfying for readers.

I still have a fair amount to write. As I've said before about other projects, I'm not quite at the point where I can say "the end is in sight!", but that point of being able to say that may be in sight. And really, it feels like a significant place to be, near the end of a five-book series that I wasn't sure was ever going to happen. I have no idea what I'm going to write once I'm done with Geneva & Co., but I think I'll finally take a bit of a writing break and play some games and catch up with Netflix. But first, to the finish line!