My Personal Challenge – Fated (The Rewrite)

authoressGetting back to writing is harder than I ever imagined. After several weeks of plotting and creating an initial outline, I tried to re-write the first chapter last Saturday. Well, I’m still working on it.

But I’m determined to get it done. I think one my biggest problems right now is trying to write the story I want to write and silencing that inner critic because she has major issues.

While it is important to think about plot holes, character consistency and grammar rules, my critic also likes to throw in random thoughts like – “Who’s actually gonna read this?” “Is anybody gonna like this?” “Doesn’t this suck?”

My answers lately have been – “No one”, “No one”, and “Yes”. So I have rewritten the first chapter each day for the last seven days. And I remain in the place where I started.

Ughh!!!!

My remedy for the time being is: Do it anyway. Maybe, this piece won’t ever be published but I will finish by the end of the year and to help me along – stay tuned for unedited chapters each week.

Here’s the synopsis for Fated (working title)

Marc Rossi is a small town detective working on the biggest case in the not only the town’s history but his career. A prominent business man is found with a single gunshot wound to his head in his office. To complicate matters – the business man is not only a member of the latest wave of post-Katrina transplants to settle into the town but a member of the growing number of immigrants into the South Louisiana region. Language barriers and general prejudice hamper the investigation as well as Marc’s growing attraction to Laurence Tomas, the victim’s former girlfriend.

Can he find a killer and love at the same time?

Hope you’ll join me on Monday for that first chapter!

An Experiment – The Category Change

Last night, I was checking my ranking for Scent of a Woman on Amazon (yes, I’m slightly obsessive). And this is what I found:

soawamazonranking

It’s a good start for the book and it is showing up in two top 100 categories. My thing though – it’s not erotica.

What I learned was that “Interracial” gets put into the Erotica category on Amazon by default. So what if someone picks up the book expecting an erotic work and they don’t get one? Perhaps they enjoy it anyway or maybe they’ll return it. But honestly, I don’t think this practice is giving the IR genre the best opportunity to thrive.

anawcoverSo I tried an experiment, I have a short story on Amazon that has been there for almost two years. It has received some good reviews but has never seen many sales.

A few times, I offered it for free and a few more readers picked it up but nothing like what has happened today! On my last 3 day free sale, I had 112 books downloaded for the entire sale.

Less than twenty-four hours since a A Night at the Wesley has begun its free promotion and 85 books have been downloaded. I put a new cover on it – one that clearly shows an African-American woman and a Caucasian male and I re-categorized it as Contemporary Romance with the tags: interracial romance and sensual short stories.

The results:

anawamazonranking

I’ll let you know how the short story fairs after it’s no longer free. I have two self-pubbed works coming out in July so if I can see more exposure using general romance instead of interracial romance, then I’m going with general romance with tags.

Happy Reading!

Wanted to add in a daily total for each day.

On Saturday when I checked, my numbers for A Night at the Wesley were:

My best ranking ever!!!

Congrats to the Winners…More to Come!

Cocktail partyThe winners of the Evernight Book Boyfriend Blog Hop and the Hot n Sprung Blog Hop have been notified. I hope you all enjoy!

There is one more event going on until midnight tonight. I’m giving away a $5.00 electronic Amazon Card and a pdf of In the Moment at Romance Novels in Color.

And for Mother’s Day, both Cheers and Deja Vu are free this weekend at All Romance so why not get both!

Cheers (1)Cheers: As a successful Sales and Catering Manager for the posh Hayden Court Hotel located in New Orleans’ famed French Quarter, Darcey St. Claire is absolutely thrilled to be working on New Year’s Eve. The commission and bonus, she’ll receive from the two day Guidry Construction event will not only fund her spring trip to New York City, but buy a cute pair of shoes for the plane ride!

Her enthusiasm quickly turns to barely disguised irritation when Vincent Guidry arrives hours early for his scheduled check-in, demanding access to his suite. After he slashes the budget for the event, not even the crystal blue eyes of the former quarterback can quell the anger surging in her chest.

That is until he walks into the Chat Noir where she is trying to regroup after her irksome day.

In the private enclave known as the Cristal Room, Vincent willingly lights up Darcey’s New Year’s Eve and may have lost his heart in the process to the young woman who isn’t looking for anything serious.
Please be aware, this is a short story and contains language some readers may find offensive.

DEJAVUFinalDeja VuOne week has passed since Darcey St. Claire, a sales manager for a posh French Quarter hotel, broke the cardinal rule of sales – you don’t sleep with your client. Against her better judgement, she agrees to an even more egregious breach of her hotel contract.

A real date with the handsome former quarterback to take place over the course of a weekend. For both she and Vincent, it wasn’t supposed to be anymore than that.

But things changed…

Beginning a campaign to become the governor of Louisiana, Vincent Guidry’s plans are halted when his feelings for Darcey become more than sexual and the young woman cuts all ties with him. Her appearance in his office, seven weeks after their break-up, begins a backward journey to right the wrongs of their separate pasts.

Is a shared forever possible?

 

Evernight Book Boyfriend – Shane Fowler

bookboyfriend

The Book Boyfriend Blog Hop is back and better than ever!

The authors of Evernight have a brand new team of swoon-worthy book boyfriend candidates. A sexy assortment of cowboys, Doms, detectives, millionaires, royalty, vampires, soldiers, and shifters are just a click away.

Get ready to find your next book boyfriend…

Male model smileI’m excited to introduce you to Shane Fowler of One Stormy Night and one of the many book boyfriends you’re going to meet over the next few days.

Shane is a little different than most. Not a cowboy, not a millionaire. He’s the boy you wished lived next door – handsome, funny, smart and very sweet. Well, not so sweet according to one ex-girlfriend. But that’s not the point. When you’re together he’ll flash that megawatt smile and have you floating.

That’s what he does for the heroine of One Stormy Night, Alexis Joplin, and they’re just friends…or so they say.

Let’s take a peek at what happens one evening while the two are watching the rain from the front porch of a hundred-year old inn:

OSNFrom One Stormy Night

“Alexis, you are a beautiful woman.”

“Thank you,” she mouthed.

The gentle breath she blew across his cheek tingled. The subsequent pucker of her lips against his skin burned. Desire to have her flamed in his groin, and not even the furious splatter of rain down his back doused it.

“You’re smart and funny and caring. A woman any man would want to wake up next to,” he whispered. Shane stopped fighting the urge.

He kissed her.

Shane savored the lingering tartness of the wine as he kissed her lips. Bursts of simmering raspberries and cherries tingled over his mouth, adding to the fire growing deep within him.

For a few seconds after slipping his tongue inside her mouth, he thought he’d found relief from the gnawing ache.

Then she kissed him back, sweeping her tongue over and under his in slow, tantalizing circles. How many nights have I dreamed about kissing her like this?

“Damn.” He snapped his head back, excited by the tickle of the murmuring sounds coming from deep in her throat, and lifted Alexis into his lap.

The swing creaked from the sudden movement, but he wasn’t going to let go just yet.

“Oh.”

He covered her mouth with his and caressed her breast. The lush mound was as firm, yet yielding to the squeeze of his hand, as he’d always imagined.

But he needed more than the feel of fabric to satisfy the awful thump between his legs. He slid his fingers under the dress’s crisscrossed neckline until he reached her nipple. Her tender skin shrunk into a point, making it easier to pluck while his tongue danced over hers.

“Shane.” Alexis moaned out his name.

He kissed down her the smooth skin of her neck, now wet from the rain splattering over them.

“Yes,” she whispered into his ear.

I’m not letting her go now. He licked closer to the spot where his fingers played.

Clunk. Clunk.

“Oh, shit.” Alexis tore away from him, staggering to her feet as the swing plummeted.

What’s up for grabs?

  • One lucky hopper will win a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate sponsored by Evernight Publishing.
  • Plus, each author is giving away their own unique prize! So visit each blog hop stop for a host of fabulous prizes to win.
  • The Vallory V blog will be giving away a $5.00 electronic Amazon Gift Card or $5.00 in eBucks from All Romance, winner’s choice. One lucky winner will be chosen from the comments so be sure to leave your email address!

 How to enter? Answer this question in the comments below…

With only a snippet, a photo, and my description of Shane, where do you think he’d take someone on a romantic date?

Be sure to leave the answer and your email address to be eligible to win a prize. Each comment gives you an entry for the grand prize (one per blog hop stop).

Keep hopping to the next author or blogger. After you’ve met each hero click here to vote for your favorite book boyfriend. You’ll earn an extra grand prize entry!

You’re one step closer to meeting your next Book Boyfriend…

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Click here view the other hoppers…

The Virgin Heroine?

When I began college eons ago, I became friends with a group of ladies and gents that I still hang out with. At the time we met, we were all virgins. Every single nerdy one of us.

By the time we graduated, only two virgins remained. Unlike the rest of us waiting for our moment to bloom in the eyes of the opposite sex, they had made a conscious decision to not have sex before marriage.

darceystraighthairSo here’s where my life experience affects my enjoyment of smexy reading material. The Virgin Heroine who is old enough to legally buy alcohol.

In order for me to buy into this woman’s story, I need the reason she’s a virgin. I don’t even care what is – self-esteem issues, daddy issues, religious view point, whatever! Secondly if she’s now going to have sex with this guy then I need to why as well. And sorry it can’t be lust at first sight.

This is a lifestyle choice we’re talking about. Like being a vegetarian, you don’t look at one burger and say to hell with this. This is years of hearing – “Say, girl, you wanna come back to my place?” And the answer being – “No thanks.”

Of all the heroine romantic archetypes, I think the virgin is trickiest one to write for contemporary writers. I applaud those who have done it well and keep me seeking out their stories. And I’m asking for support as I put the finishing touches on my own virgin heroine’s story. Look for it over the Christmas holidays!

Happy Reading!

Typed ‘The End’ – Now What…Part 1

Cocktail partyIt’s been a while. But I’m back in the blogoshere and the writing world. However, it’s not easy to jump right back into late nights, no Candy Crush and marketing, marketing, marketing!

So I’m easing into it, instead of running full steam ahead.

The first thing, that I’ve done is to create a writing schedule that will take me to the end of the year. Along with that came a promise to myself that I was going to complete it. Here’s schedule and where I am:

  1. Anthology Submission to Hot Ink Press for an upcoming project called Naughty Bedtime Stories – This has been submitted and now I’m waiting. If not accepted then I’ll rework and find a new home.
  2. Holiday Short Story – I have a first draft completed at 11,000 words and will begin working on the second draft next week. Plan on submitting this one to Secret Cravings before the September deadline. If not accepted then I rework and self-publish this one.
  3. Second Shifter Novella – I have an outline completed for a follow-up to A Scent of a Woman which will be released by Evernight Publishing in a few weeks. First draft should be completed next week. Please, please let them accept this one!
  4. The Rose Gold Collection – A Loving Affair is in first draft form and Dulce Means Sweet is in outline form. Just got to get started. Choose cover art, contract an editor, hire a proofreader…

That’s the schedule. Check back with me next week for an update.

Happy Reading!

There’s a Sale Going On!

Each year, Smashwords hosts a site-wide sale on its e-books for Read train_ebookweek_2014an E-Book Week. And I’m so proud to once again have something to offer for this event. As an indie author, it is a wonderful feeling to say – I wrote this and I think it’s worth your time to read it, so it’s on sale. 

The hope behind that thought is that the readers think it’s as great as I do and tell their friends!

So readers, if you are enjoying a free copy of Cheers or In the Moment and you just loved it, feel free to give me a tweet @ValloryVance.

Also feel free to give me a tweet if you read it and hated it, I need that feedback as well. Even though, I’ll cry and whine for a few hours, I need the tough love as much as the praise!

Amber Meets Her Cowboy3Cheers (1)

Happy Reading and Fill Up those E-readers!

In the Moment: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/144947 Don’t forget that the follow up, The Beginning of Forever is available at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/356812

Cheers: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/258364 And the follow up, Deja Vu is available at a 50% discount at: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/298257

 

A Day Late and a Dollar Short – The February 2014 Update

The February Update of this writer’s journey is being posted on the first day in March. And so my life has been going lately.

I’ve been sucker punched and laid low by circumstances of late, but I’m learning to feint in a good way.

As of the writing of this post I’ve sent the finished novella, The Scent of a Witch, to my editor and await word before submitting to publishing companies.

Isn’t this overkill, if you aren’t self-publishing? Obviously, even the tiniest e-publisher provides both an editor and a proofreader at no cost to the author.

Reviewed by LASRBut we can all miss something or multiple somethings and garner a sales-stopping review like this three star comment by Long and Short Reviews of my short story One Stormy Night:

Repeated typos and grammar and spelling errors lead me to give this novella a lower rating than it would have otherwise received. While it was easy to figure out what author intended to say most of the time, the actual meanings of a few sentences remain a mystery to me.

Can I blame the editor or the publisher?

No. Ultimately, it was my name attached to this work and I have resolved to work harder.

I want to make it as a writer and no matter how good the story is and how welled developed the characters are, honestly I have to write at my grammatical best. If that means hiring an editor prior to submitting to a publishing company then so be it. The megalomaniac inside myself can rip her hands from the steering wheel of our career and enjoy an iced coffee.

OSNLovers of One Stormy Night, you’ll be able to read an error free edition of this short story or maybe you’ll join me as I grow with my next entry inside the world of romance.

***Unedited Excerpt: The Scent of A Witch***

“I couldn’t leave you in the visitor’s room, Adua.”

“Don’t call me that. My name is Ada.”

“Ada.” He lifted her chin up into his hands, stroked his fingers down her throat.

Her skin blazed with the touch and she scooted away from it. This was no time be thinking about how even his gaze warmed her insides and how she would love to trace her fingers over the ridges of his abdomen. Never had the desire for one person been this strong. Concentrate, idiot. “Why did you bring me here?”

“You fainted. Fatima elongated the state of unconsciousness. She is also Ngali.”

Also Ngali. A witch like me. Ada swallowed the impending snicker. If she starting laughing again she might never stop. “You didn’t answer my question.”

“Why did I bring you here? I wanted to make sure you were safe. There is the possibility that you may experience some…some discomfort as your power grows.”

“Like what?”

“Visions.” He turned away from her and stared out of the window. With his face in profile, his hair was as dark as she’d imagined last night and more beautiful in the shimmery light filtering in through the window. “They can be overwhelming at times.”

Visions? Like the one she’d experienced the first time she saw him.

Without a second thought, she moved her hand through his hair, lifting and twirling the silky strands with her fingers. “Was that all?” She leaned close to him, breathing in his intoxicating scent until she was almost panting. “Was that the only reason?”

“No,” he growled deep and low. “I want what you want.” Ewan placed his hands at her sides, his nearness sending a delightful tingle down her spine. He kissed her.

Unlike before, she could respond. Ada parted her lips for the slow entrance of his tongue. Ewan tickled the insides of her cheeks and swept across the roof of her mouth, languidly stoking the fire already melting her core.

Suddenly it was alright. This she could understand – the heated kiss and his moans of pleasure echoing in the moonlit room.

Spotlight and Review of Arranged Love

SOR Arranged Love VBT Banner

What It’s About:

They think they’re fooling their parents, but really, the joke’s on them.

Kayla Ames’s parents could win an award in meddling. Every time she turns around, they’re setting her up with someone new. Try as she might, she can’t convince them to butt out of her love life.

Ryan Newell isn’t looking for love. After having his heart torn to shreds by his ex, he’s determined to never again fall in love and leave himself that vulnerable to being hurt. His parents, however, believe he just needs some help finding the right woman, and their friends’ daughter, Kayla, might be a perfect match.

Realizing they both have the same problem—parents who won’t stop nagging them about finding a partner—Ryan and Kayla agree to an arrangement of sorts. All they have to do is pretend to date, and they don’t even have to see each other, they can discuss the details of their “dates” via email. But then the email conversations lead to real dates, and Kayla finds herself struggling to keep her feelings for Ryan in check as he’s made it clear love will not enter into the equation for him. Then Kayla’s parents suddenly announce they’re getting a divorce, and she begins to wonder if maybe Ryan has the right idea.

When it all gets to be too much for Kayla, she has a hard decision to make—agree to stay with Ryan and never experience love, or walk away for her chance to find it.

Content Warning: contains adult language and graphic sexual content

 Excerpt:

ArrangedLove_MediumLeaning forward, Kayla grabbed the remote and turned the TV off. It was early still and since she wasn’t tired, sleep wasn’t an option. She could go out again. Maybe call a friend to go to a club or something. Or she could go back to the bar from last night…no, no she couldn’t.

If she went out though, she’d have to change. And she was really comfortable. She grabbed the remote again, and as the TV turned on, she swore she heard someone tap on her door. Was Bunny chewing on something she shouldn’t be?

Kayla got off the couch, but saw the rabbit had taken a corner and was lying there, far away from the front door. She peeked through the peephole and, to her surprise, she saw Doug, or whatever his name was. Why was he there? And what was he carrying in his hands?

Taking a deep breath, she opened the door. “Hi.”

“It’s nice to see you again.” He smiled an oh-so-sexy grin. “Your parents sent me with food. They insisted I get this to you right away.”

“They did, huh?”

He held the bag out to her and she took it. “Could I come in?”

She sucked in her bottom lip and weighed her choices. Send him away and be done with this, or see what he wants. What did she have to lose? “Sure.”

Doug brushed past her into her house. She stood back a moment, watching him as he glanced around and then finally took a seat on her couch. Kayla joined the mystery man in the living room, tossing the bag of food on the coffee table as she sat on the love seat opposite of the couch he was on. Her stomach rumbled as she inhaled the aroma from the bag now sitting on the coffee table.

“So, what brings you by, besides the food?” she asked, and quickly added, “Please tell me your real name as well. It’s only fair since you know mine.”

“Kayla, and it’s a lovely name. Mine is actually Ryan. Ryan Newell.” He took a moment to rub his temple and proceeded. “Obviously, our parents are interested in us hooking up.”

Hooking up…they’d covered that already. “I’m sorry. My parents are a bit over the top.”

“I’d have to agree. Yours are a little worse than mine. Usually my parents leave me alone, but with your folks, it was like they were double-teaming me. They feel very strongly about you and I getting to know one another.”

“Figures. I’d say we accomplished that in a way they probably weren’t wanting.”

He grinned again. Her heart fluttered. She needed to pack this man up and get him out of there.

“Why don’t we give them what they want?”

What did he say? He couldn’t really want to go along with them. “Excuse me.”

“Let’s date, for them. It’ll get them to leave us alone.”

She laughed. He wasn’t serious, was he? “Brilliant plan, but I’ll pass for now.”

“Just hear me out. I’m not looking to fall in love. But if we pretend to be dating, our parents won’t try to set us up anymore. We don’t even have to see one another. We can discuss our dates and be on the same page with our stories.”

“Wait.” She held her hand up, staring at the dark-haired man that made her stomach do summersaults. “You’re saying we aren’t going to actually date. We never have to see one another. But our parents will think we are.”

He nodded.

“I’m in.” Kayla shrugged. “What could go wrong?”

 Buy Links:  Beachwalk Press

My Review of Arranged Love

Over all I liked this book and give it a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I love a quirky heroine and Kayla didn’t disappoint. She spends her days working from home as a freelance editor with her pet rabbit, Bunny. She dresses up like a “hooker” as her mom says for a dinner and quickly regrets her decision. She made me laugh on more than one occasion and I could believe her struggle with her feelings with the hero, Ryan.

I liked the romantic arc of the story and the sex scenes were HOT!

My only wish for this story is that was more of a reason for the characters to be involved in the fake relationship to the extent they were. Did that stop me from finishing this book in less than a day? No, because the story was so good and I wanted them to make it work!

 I received a free ARC for review in return for an honest opinion of this work.

More About the Author:

Lacey Wolfe has always had a passion for words, whether it’s getting lost in a book or writing her own. From the time she was a child she would slip away to write short stories about people she knew and fantasies she wished would happen. It has always been her dream to be a published author and with her two children now of school age, she finally has the time to work on making her dream come true.

Lacey lives in Georgia with her husband, son and daughter, their six cats and one black lab who rules the house.

Author Links:    Site     Twitter    Facebook

What They Did Last Christmas

I can’t believe that one I have a day off from the day job and two I get to spend it with my family enjoying Christmas.

I’m writing this on Christmas Eve because I know tomorrow is going to be busy and I’ll probably have a few glasses of wine with lunch and dinner.

Tonight as we have arrived home from a Christmas musical and eaten our usual take-out Chinese Christmas Eve dinner, I began to reflect on the couples with whom I’d spent my 2013 writing year. What were they doing last Christmas?

DEJAVUFinalDarcey St. Claire and Vincent Guidry from Déjà Vu  –

By Christmas Day 2012, Vincent Guidry had finalized plans for a New Year’s Eve party for one of his companies, Guidry Construction. He rarely attended the employee events himself but had to admit that he was intrigued by the woman who was the catering manager at the Hotel.

It was her laugh. He couldn’t get the melodic sound out of his head and booked a room at the Hayden Court.

Darcey St. Claire spent Christmas Day with her family in Miami. The only time her father was remotely interested in her career was when she mentioned that a former quarterback, Vincent Guidry, was a client.

“He was magnificent on the field,” her father said.

“Really? He seemed like an ass on the phone.” Darcey then turned to her sister-in-law, counting the hours until she could spend her Christmas bonus at the Sawgrass Mills Mall.

100836-20121209-001_HotFlashesElise Donaldson and Jacques Aristide from The Artist, a flash fiction piece included in Hot Flashes –

On Christmas Day, Elise was fielding questions from her family in Tyler, Texas about what exactly she was doing all these years in school. Apparently, anthropologist didn’t resonate with anyone within a hundred miles. By the end of the day, she snuggled up with a six pack of beer and her dog-eared copy of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel in what used to be her childhood bedroom. She read and drank until she fell asleep.

Jacques Aristide attended a private showing of an emerging artist. His date for the evening was a curvy red head with sparkling green eyes. They left soon after the initial walk through. He wasn’t interested in hobnobbing; besides Annette charged outrageous rates for her holiday dates.

TheBeginningofForeverAmber Grayson and Kevin Miller from The Beginning of Forever –

These two spent Christmas together and Kevin proposed. You can read about it on Goodreads.

OSNAlexis Joplin and Shane Fowler from One Stormy Night

Actually they spent Christmas Day together as well.

The weather derailed Alexis’s flight to her hometown of Ellicott City, Maryland. On Christmas Day, she was treated to a marathon of Christmas movies and a warm-and-eat dinner from a grocery store close to Shane’s apartment.

“I guess it all worked out since your dad is out of town. You didn’t have to spend Christmas Day alone.” Alexis had said as she stuffed the last paper plate into a wastebasket.

She turned in time to see Shane flick his tongue over around his opened mouth.

Surely, there were no hints of the apple pie left after they’d devoured the dessert.

“I’m going to get some sheets for the guest room.”

Shane left the kitchen leaving her wondering exactly what he hoped to taste on his curvy lips.

That’s what they were doing last year. Please feel free to comment on what you think they’re doing this year.

And Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

~Val