my books,  reflections

What Women Can Do

All this month, women are writing about the magic of romance as part of the Read a Romance Month. My friend Shari Slade tagged me to write a blog post, and I immediately knew what my topic would be: the amazing things women can do. Individually. Collectively. Casually and with great planning.

This time last year I had a single book out and was furiously editing a prequel novella. I’d already experienced the loveliness of the romance community, through the encouragement of Romance Divas and the early support of bloggers like Nadine from Hook Me Up Book Blog and Kim from Read Your Writes, among others. And I made friends on Twitter–in fact, that’s where I bonded with Shari, over our mutual love of NSFW Tumblr links. (NSFW means Not Safe For Work. Also kids or Starbucks, although I’ve probably looked at my fair share of Tumblr images while sipping an Americano).

But then in late August of last year, the amazing Noelle Adams sent me an email. Would I like to participate in a boxed set for Christmas?

And that changed everything.

It spurred me on to finish my next novel in the series, which had been languishing. It brought me some wonderful new readers, and finally sparked my mailing list and Facebook reader groups into action. And most of all, that boxed set gave me confidence.

We can do this. It’s hard work, writing stories that connect with readers. But it’s not impossible work. And we can make it easier on each other by sharing an audience. Here’s a secret: readers love books. And they’ll love more books than any one of us can every write in our lifetime. I’m one of those readers who, when I’m not writing, will devour a short novel every single day. When I am writing, it’s much less: only a few a week.

So it didn’t take much to convince me that this spirit of working together to grow our audience was a GOOD THING. That led to the origin of the SEALs of Summer military romance superbundle, which hit the NYT Bestsellers List (#6 in ebook sales the week we released, thank you very much) and sat on the USA Today Bestselling List for a month. Ten amazing women did that.

And this week, forty-two authors from Romance Divas, NYT bestsellers and debut authors alike, released a charity anthology of short stories that makes me cry happy tears it’s so wonderful. Let me tell you a little bit about the Love is…collection. 40 stories (two of them co-written), many of them connected to existing series, some of them standalone, all of them inspired by that simple tagline.

So when I think about romance, first as a reader and then as a writer, I’m struck with what women can do, and how wonderful it is.

My story in this limited time collection is Perfect No Matter What, a sequel to What Once Was Perfect. Laney and Kyle are living together, but Kyle’s starting to think they’ll never make time in their competing busy calendars to make their commitment to each other official.

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A swish of fabric and a familiar scent had him half off his stool before Laney stroked her hand down his forearm and gave him a play along look. “Is this seat taken?”

“All yours.” He looked her up and down. Damn, she looked good. Shiny hair, bright eyes, and not a stethoscope in sight. She wore a black mini dress and strappy high heels, her legs bare and long and ever so close to his. Yes, he’d play along. “You come here often?”

“First time.” She returned the admiring look and smiled a secret smile. “You in Vegas alone?”

“Sure am. My fiancée had to work.”

“All work and no play?”

“I wouldn’t say that.”

She leaned closer and lowered her voice. “It’s okay, you can tell me. What happens in Vegas…”

He closed the gap between them and brushed his mouth against her ear. “Order your drink, woman.”

She grinned at the bartender and once they were alone again, she squeezed his thigh. “Miss me?”

“I missed Laney. I have no idea who this wonderful temptress is, but I think she might be trouble.”

“Of the best kind, I promise.”

“Dare I ask how you managed to get out here?”

A serious look drifted across her face for a moment. “It turns out, nothing’s impossible if it’s important enough.”

“I didn’t want you to feel like you had—”

“I came because I wanted to be here. With you.” Sexy, teasing Laney roared back to life. “Tell me more about your fiancée.”

“She’s beautiful. Looks a lot like you. Has a wicked mouth.”

“Not sure I can compete with that, but I’m willing to give it a go. I do this thing with my tongue…”

God, he was glad she’d made the trip. A laugh ripped up from his chest and he tossed his head back. “She has that too. She’s pretty perfect.”

“But she let you come to Sin City all alone. Naughty girl.”

“When I get home, I should spank her.” He pulled his wallet out and tossed enough on the bar for their drinks and a tip. “But since you’re here, I feel like a practice paddle.”

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