I wrote a book and then….

Crickets chirped into the internet ether on this blog.

Pretty sure I’ve done this twice now, but I’d have to go back to the days after Hush was released to be sure.

The thing about it isn’t that I don’t love blogging (I do), but that I am just incredibly BAD at figuring out how to time things. I wrote Hush and somehow managed to align stars so that I was in serious edit phases at the same time as I was writing What it Takes. The day Hush when up for presale? Was the day I had to turn in What it Takes as a manuscript. I was very tired and emotional that day. The next day I pitched a couple of ideas to my publisher because apparently I can’t help myself? Thankfully, I’ve had a lot of time to write this third book I am working on. Not thankfully, I didn’t really think through what it would be like to try to write a book while IN grad school.

Not easy. At least not for me. I juggled grad school and writing the third book for NaNo (or well, the biggest chunk), but have been struggling to get it all together since. And in the time between those, What it Takes came out. A book coming out is a huge emotional investment and event, and the days after are so weird. Like…is anyone reading? Did they like it? What’s happening in the great old world?? The only thing one can do is check Amazon rankings to see if they change at all and obsessively check Goodreads for reviews (people don’t review as much on Amazon? Not sure why, but I’ll tell you guys, it’s pretty helpful to the author, because once you hit a certain number — 50 maybe? — your book starts to pop up as a suggested book which = more exposure).

I was very lucky after What it Takes came out to get such lovely reviews, it has made me so happy to know that you guys loved it! Keep on reviewing, it makes our days and helps our books 😀

That said, I am so close to a finish line with book #3 I can taste it. But I’ve been trying to do well in school (or well, keep up on readings, I do well in school as a rule), juggle new job responsibilities, and right now, deal with some really heavy life news.

Hence, a tiny bit of silence.

That said, Hush and What it Takes just had some great pre-Valentines sales a bit ago, so if you read and want to chat or ask question or anything, I LOVE that. I love interracting with people!

If I’ve read YOUR book recently, and haven’t reviewed (or perhaps not even recently, I owe Melissa Graves a review for her AMAZING book, Tainted Heart, that came out in OCTOBER how awful am I?) it’ll come! I’m just very behind and overwhelmed. You’ll fine out the most about what’s going on in my insane life at the moment if you follow me on twitter. Apparently I can only handle a commitment to 140 characters at a time 😉 I’m @JudeSierra.

In the meantime, if you have NO CLUE what I’m talking about, both Hush and What it Takes are available for purchase now at:  Interlude Press Web Store
AmazonAll RomanceBarnes & NobleBook Depository, Apple iBookstore, Smashwords, and Independent Bookstores

 

 

Top 10 Reasons I’ve Been MIA

  1. NaNoWriMo: I almost gave up a few days ago. It was very weird. I’m generally a pretty fucking determined person when I decided to do something hard. BUT I didn’t. Which means I’ve been pounding away there. I’m about 5k from winning, eeek! I can totally do this.
  2. Graduate School: You’ve heard me complain about this one if you follow me on twitter (you don’t follow me on twitter? That’s crazy. I’m funny. I like to chat with people. I post snippets of poetry, reblog book reviews, talk about life stuff). As the end of the semester draws close, work for school is ramping up, and I have some big projects I have to get done.
  3. Work: Here’s the kicker in my life. My school pays me to go to school — they pay for my credits, a stipend, and health insurance. But that is in exchange for “20” hours of work a week, which is more often more than that.
  4. That fucking commute: With good weather, I commute about 10 hours a week. Darn snowstorms are ruining my life.
  5. I’m writing a book: I realize this goes with NaNo, sort of. But this NaNo project is also book #3, and it involves research and a lot more plan/thinking than I usually do during NaNo, which I usually complete in an insane style.
  6. My kids: Who have decided they do not like all of the things pulling me away from them and have (particularly the younger) become very, very challenging. Sigh.
  7. What it Takes: Virtual Book Tour is coming soon! Promo stuff is getting going, which is a lot of planning and writing! I’m finishing last minute detail checks on the manuscript. Oh gosh the release is so soon, I AM SO EXCITED.
  8. I’m sick: I haven’t been sick in at least 6 months. With a cold I mean, we won’t speak of the stomach virus of death from September or the surgery/hospitalizations in July. I mean a cold. I thought I was going to get through the semester without getting sick because I’ve been fending off some doozies that are taking out my classmates. No dice.
  9. Holidays: Thanksgiving! Yay! I love family holidays. But ya know, that means I’m not here as much.
  10. My freaking hands: Sometimes I struggle with typing because of my bad hands and elbows. The NaNo and schoolwork and driving have all combined to make this hard. But school break is coming up soon and they’ll get to rest and heal, and next semester I’m hoping to commute only 3 days a week and not four.

Long and the short: My life is so crazypants right now, I’m surprised I’m coherent. I maybe just coughed up a lung on you guys. QUICK, EVERYONE RUN A VIRUS SCAN ON THEIR COMPUTER.

I think I’m funny. Just pat my head and pretend I am.

As we draw closer to What it Takes, I’ll be posting excerpts and as I did prior to the release of Hush, character bios. In the 10 days leading up to release, I’ll be doing my ten tiny spoiler tweets, each 1 line from the book.

Soon as well I’ll be posting links to book giveaways through Goodreads, and you can enter to win a free copy of What it Takes.

IN THE MEAN TIME, AND THIS IS IMPORTANT:

Interlude Press is having a huge sale through Monday: all books and e-books are 30% off! WHAT. And you guys, this applies to pre-sale book, which are a great deal already because for the price of the paper book you get the DRM-Free multi format books. That means that you can get BOTH for the price of ONE at 30% off right now. Just use the code 30STORIES.

BOOM. If you’ve been waiting to get Hush, or are ready to make a killing on pre-ordering What it Takes, I’ma suggest you get your tush over there. Plus, it’s a great time to stock up on all IP titles. Trust me, it’s all gold. I’ve read every single one of those badboys (well not the pre-order ones yet, but I will soon).

What it Takes is currently available for pre-order and will be out Jan. 14th.

Hush is currently for sale at Interlude Press Web Store
AmazonAll RomanceBarnes & NobleBook Depository, Apple iBookstore, Smashwords, and Independent Bookstores

 

 

Grannie Panties and All

A few weeks ago I talked about my naturally squirrely nature. It’s no secret that I fly by the seat of my pants. So it really shouldn’t be a shock when life sneaks up and pantses me.

Of course when you’re not expecting to be pantsed, you don’t have time to put your sexy undies on. When Interlude Press contacted me last year with an offer to publish a book, I’m pretty sure I was wearing those pale pink grannie panties no one but my husband sees (and even then he averts his eyes and everyone pretends it didn’t happen).

This weird metaphor is going someplace. I think.

The point is, I had NO IDEA this was coming. It was so far off the radar. For years my radar had pretty much been stuck between “keep dreaming” and “don’t try because you’ll fail”. Maybe every 108 days that ominous beeping (that’s a reference for my fellow Losties!) obligated me to punch in a string of consonants and vowels, try to pretty them up, then sit back thinking, “never gonna get it”.

Let’s take a moment to jam out to some En Vogue. I’ll give you a second.

Anyway. I’m making myself out to sound rather pathetic, which is not my intent. The truth is that I always wanted to be published, but I lacked in self esteem and suffered from a fear of failure.

Publishing was very much a What If that depended on Some Day.  I don’t know if the universe was speaking to me, but just before Interlude came to me, two good friends of mine got publishing contracts. I was green with envy, but also, began to feel a little warmth near my bum that may have been the start of a fire being lit under it.

I might have been newly motivated to reshelf my publication dreams to another dream category (I can do this, right?), but I certainly was NOT prepared to be approached for publication. Hence, the grannie panty metaphor. In the stuff of fantasies, when someone approaches you about writing gay erotic romance, you should have a leather thong on right? You live in that thong. You breathe sex.

Uh. Suuuuuure.

Those grannie panties were a safety net. They were comfortable. They didn’t propel me into any sort of motion. As much as I wanted to do it, I had fears. I spent a few weeks thinking “there’s got to be a sneaky catch” when they approached me. I have kids and had just gone back to school. I was juggling those with a house and a husband and hardly any time to breathe. Was committing to writing a book something I could believe in myself enough to do?

But, you know, chasing a dream even when it isn’t expected or planned for is kind of a me thing to do.  Writing a novel for publication? Despite lingering apprehension, writing a novel was not only a dream, but a totally shiny thing in what was already a life in upheaval. It was time for me to gird my loins, grannie panties and all, sign a contract, and try to be brave. Make myself uncomfortable. Go on another adventure. Consider that leather thong more seriously.

Honestly, what is more important than my underthings is the fact that I finally took a chance and decided to put myself out there. Hush isn’t just sexy: I put my whole self into it. It’s layered and emotional and all mine. It’s been a crazy ride, which yes, involved lots of pantsing and a few forays into the land of “ohhh shiny object”; it’s been an adventure with a few missteps, but fucking fun as hell too. I hope you’ll take a chance on this book and let me take you on an adventure too.

I won’t promise that I took off the grannie panties while writing Hush, but we can all certainly pretend I wrote it in a negligee.

I wouldn’t want to ruin the fantasy.

Hush is currently available for pre-sale at Interlude Press.

 

Confessional: Should Sucks

I talk a lot about juggling balls in my life, and trying to find a balance between work, my young kids, and my art. And I am definitely a work in progress, because transitioning from being a full time mom to a student, then to working an hour away (only two days a week, but that’s still 2 days that I’m gone most of the day), and being able to give writing the attention it needs is very hard for me. I do tend to let things slip, and I also give myself a lot of permission to not be productive AT ALL after the kids go to bed. When it’s just me on days my husband works, the complete silence is a gift. My poor brain gets so over saturated by noise and sensory input during the day that if I don’t get some quiet alone time, I start to unravel.

This post isn’t really about writing, but it is a lot about learning to balance parts of my life, and about honoring my needs and limitations, and celebrating successes. I, like many people, have structured my life around should. “I should be doing this”, “I should be able to manage”, “I should be more patient with my kids”, etc.

Should is poison in our lives. It’s toxic and damaging when we let it overcome the celebrations and positive strides we take. On days where my brain feels like it’s shutting down (I really get over saturated by sensory input sometimes), I should only leads to guilt and low self esteem, which spreads into other sections of my life until my failings and shortcomings speak a lot more loudly than anything else.

I often feel as though I am failing at balancing part of my life, and that enjoying writing as an outlet with rewards that are intangible to my family but necessary to me, are bad.

I have long admired women like Joy Harjo, Marge Piercy, and countless others whose stories speak to tremendous will and hard work. Challenges they faced, triumphs they managed to pull out in difficult circumstances, balancing so many things in their lives, are things I often feel like I should be able to do, because I have the intelligence and capability to do so.

I often feel incredibly lazy because there is a lot of time in my life that I could be using differently.

But that really means that I’m not listening to my body and mind. That I am discounting my need to take care of the things that I need for mental health, for good interactions with friends and family, and for flourishing creativity. I discount the many things in my life I balance. All I see are the balls I’ve dropped. Last November and December, I was trying to balance classes, work, trying to get into grad school, my mother being in the hospital for two weeks, NaNo, and edits for Hush; I had a friend ask me if I kept elves in my pockets in order to do these things. But what I saw were the things I didn’t get done, or the ways I should have been able to do them better.

I don’t know if there is a clearer way to convey the message, to you and to myself, that should has the power to destroy positivity, self love and appreciation, and good outcomes in our lives.

In those moths, and January, I helped my mother through a two week, two surgery, emotional roller coaster of an ordeal. I got into grad school, got a perfect grade in my course. I finished edits for Hush, even though I was an emotional wreck that perhaps made it harder than it could have been (oops). I spent two weeks literally on the floor after a debilitating back injury, and I wrote the rough manuscript for my upcoming book.

Should is a word I want to burn away (in the fireplace might be nice, because this winter has been cold as fuck), so that I can let myself say “I am fucking awesome”, It’s incredibly sad to me that tearing ourselves down is a natural state, but that owning how incredible we can be is often, especially for women, seen as bragging, ego driven, self centered hubris.

This week’s confession: I want to learn that I am fucking awesome. I’m not there yet, but there’s not room in my life for not appreciating myself, especially when it takes up or hinders precious time I could be enjoying the gifts in my life.

Well and working on this manuscript, because it’s due soon, but also because it’s a story I love, want to tell, and desire to give my very best to.

Anyone reading this: I would love to see us all working on these positive statements and telling should to fuck off. If you want, I would love to see these messages in the comments or reblogs so that we can all support each other, and cheer for our successes.