28 Months Later… A Writer’s Tale

Do you have dreams that that you consider unattainable?  Have you ever been in a situation that you knew was slowly sucking the joy out of your soul, but you were too afraid to sever the cord and fall out into the unknown?

I have.

Twenty-eight months ago I was slogging away at a job that I loathed.  I’d been there for two decades and I didn’t see a way out. I reminded myself over and over again that although I was miserable, at least I had job security. I wasn’t valued or treated with any respect- but I got a paycheck.  I had long since lost the love for the field I was in- but I was trapped.  In my mind, there was no real way out.

The first ten years of work were okay.  The following ten were a nightmare and I just kept hoping something would shift and it would be okay again.  I felt imprisoned and I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do.  People I considered friends at my job turned out to be the polar opposite.  It was like “The Hunger Games,” really.  We all turned on each other because the environment was so toxic that everyone was miserable.  Long-term friendships imploded in the blink of an eye.

Right around that time, my anxiety turned into depression.  I was having trouble getting out of bed to even go to work each morning.  I had always prided myself on being someone who didn’t call out sick—in fact I’d won perfect attendance awards for several years.  Suddenly, I just didn’t care anymore.  During the last two years that I worked there, I started calling out more and more.  I self-medicated, in the form of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and fattening foods.  I stopped wearing make-up and didn’t bother getting “dressed” anymore.  I just didn’t see the point.

I used to start stories but then would never finish them.  During the darkest hours at my job, I stopped writing at all.  Until the day I realized that I needed an outlet—an escape.  This story had been swirling around in my mind for quite a while.  The more time that passed, the more it took up residence.  Finally it dawned on me that I needed to get the story down.  I picked up my laptop and started typing like a woman possessed.  The characters were Dante & Sabrina, and the book was Broken Hart.  I was midway through when I realized that I actually wanted to take a leap of faith and hit publish.

I struggled with the decision.  Would anyone else care for Dante and Sabrina?   What would happen if people in my community found out that I was writing steamy romance?  How much shit would I take from my friends and colleagues if they knew that I was writing?

My mom had been writing romance stories for years and years.  She didn’t even know that I was considering it.  Any time that I’d written before, it had always been something suspenseful and I never finished a story.  My first love has always been Romance, but I didn’t think I would have the courage to write something so… steamy.  I was full of ideas, but had no follow through.

My mom had always encouraged me to be creative and to write, but I constantly put it on the back burner.  I couldn’t believe that the story was falling out of me, and I wasn’t confident in my own ability to see it through.  So I didn’t tell her what I was doing.

I made the decision to publish the book via Amazon.  I chose a pen name, created a cover myself and wrote the back blurb.  I finished the story, then read it through at least a dozen times.  I didn’t get an editor because I was naïve and had no idea what I was doing.  I told no one.  Literally—not one soul.  I figured if I sold 50-100 copies it would be the most amazing thing in the world.  I pressed publish on Amazon one night in July of 2012, and that was that.

By the end of the first month, I’d sold two copies.  One had been returned.  Still, I couldn’t believe that a complete stranger had bought my book! In August, I sold twenty-six copies.  I was beside myself with glee.  I felt like I’d won the Miss America pageant.  I’d sold books!  Twenty-six people that I’d never met and knew nothing about had read about Dante & Sabrina!

Like I said, I was completely clueless and had no idea what to do.  I had NO blog tour, NO ARC’s, NO advertising at all, NO teasers, NO excerpts—nada.  I waited for a review, something to tell me whether my book was the worst thing ever, but no reviews came.

The question I asked myself time and again was, “How can I get reviews?”

Since I didn’t know what I was doing, I’d chosen only to publish via Amazon. The book wasn’t available anywhere else, so I joined their KDP Select Program and made Broken Hart free for a few days.  That’s when things started happening. In those few days, over three thousand copies were downloaded.

Reviews started coming in.  Finally, I thought, I have some reviews! I figured that was the end of it.  I had a few thousand people reading my words.  Life was good and for the first time in forever, I smiled for real.  Maybe I knew how to follow-through after all, I thought.  I felt like taking a chance had been good for my self-confidence.  I decided that I would write the follow-up because I was getting emails and people wanted to hear more about the Hart family.

I didn’t expect anything at all to happen after that.  But after the book was finished with the KDP Select Free Promotion—it started to sell.  By the end of September 2012, I’d sold more copies than I’d given away for free—and what I’d earned was more than what I would’ve made in two months at my job.

When I’d sold more than one hundred books during the month of September, I walked into my moms office (We worked at the same place) and sat down in front of her desk.  “I need to tell you something,” I said.

I’ll never forget the look on her face when I blurted out that I’d written a book and it was selling.  She was a mix of flabbergasted that I’d kept something like that in, and completely in awe of the fact that I’d actually followed through and done it.  When I told her that I was already writing the follow-up, she gave me a high five.  “You’ve got this, E.  I’m so proud of you.  Holy shit!”

I still believed that I was trapped at my job, but now I had an outlet.  Something that was just for me—something that made me happy.

As the sales kept on and the reviews came in, I realized that I was hearing one thing fairly consistently.  “Needs to be edited.”

So I went at it and found myself an editor.  Since then, I’ve had Broken Hart edited three times in order to get it just so.  Since Broken Hart, all of my books have been professionally edited.  After book 2, Shattered Hart, I started having my covers professionally done.

Through all of this, I still had zero teasers, no blog tours, no advertising of any kind.  When book 3, Loving Hart, came out and hit the Amazon Top 100, I almost fainted.  My mom was my rock because it was right around then that I freaked out.  I realized that what I was doing was real—and that I had a choice.

Stay at the job that I hated, or leave.

My entire goal was to get myself—and my mother—out of that hellhole.  I wrote three more books while working there.  Unbroken Hart, Picture Perfect and Missing Hart.  I never did teasers for any of them and I wasn’t even on Facebook until just before Missing Hart came out.  I wrote six books while working full-time and I never told anyone other than my mother that I was doing it.

As I worked on my stories, I started harassing my mom about hers.  “Hit publish, hit publish,” I chanted as she wrote faithfully, every single day.

One day I realized that if I stayed at my job for one more second, I was going to lose it.  I submitted my resignation three times before it was accepted.  I stayed because I hated leaving my mom working for those people.  The universe being what it is, it took care of that right away.  We left together in April of 2013—and it was one of the best moments of my life.

My dream of getting out started out as a whisper.  I believed I was trapped.  Slowly but surely, I started making changes.  Taking that huge leap of faith and quitting a job I’d had for two decades—even though I hated it by the time I left—was no small feat.  That was my sink or swim moment.  I learned a lot about myself when I had the courage to jump out with no safety net—and I like what I learned.

There have been ups and downs—but the downs are better than the best day at my old job.

Not everything comes up roses. Writing requires self-regulation and time-management.  Sometimes I suck at both.  Not all stories are well received.  “Catch My Fall” was my baby and I loved it.  There were some autobiographical elements to it, little bits and pieces of my own life made it in.  I bled over that book, fell in love with those characters, had it double-edited before release.  I booked my first blog tour ever.  I had teasers made.  I spent a literal fortune putting that book out.

It bombed.

BOMBED.

To date it has sold fewer copies than any book I’ve ever written—and by a wide margin. I barely made back what I put into it.

“You left a full-time job with benefits you idiot,” my subconscious railed at me.  “Now you’re not going to sell anything and you’re going to wind up having to get another job you’ll hate.  Good job, genius.”

The Catch My Fall experience messed with my mojo big time.  Maybe I’d never sell another book again. Maybe I was a flash in the pan.  Maybe I was nothing. I kept trying to get more words to flow, to get anything to come out of my brain onto my keyboard. I tried to work on a bunch of different books, tried to get back into the groove.  Nothing was really happening.

I had this idea for a story—something I had written down in my notes was likely a “Guaranteed Career Killer.”

Might as well go out with a bang before I go back to the 9-5 grind, I thought.

My Guaranteed Career Killer was Consequences of Deception.

You could literally have pushed me over with a feather the day I found out that it had made USA Today as a best seller.

I was thrilled to make USA Today, but I knew then (and I know now) that it wasn’t a guarantee I’d make it again.  My priority is to support myself. As long as I am doing that, I’m succeeding.  I believe that making the marker of success the ability to make a list is a huge mistake and I will never do that.  Bottom line: I won’t ever make it more times than I don’t, and that is FINE.  Getting there once was something I never imagined—like seriously, never—and the fact that I got there at all was almost more amazing than I could comprehend.  I was beyond thrilled.

Then, the unexpected happened. The reaction I got from some people to getting on the list scared the shit out of me. I felt an insane amount of pressure to perform at that level again, or be labeled a loser.  The anxiety came back and everything I tried to write, I hated.  My word count was awful, I couldn’t figure out what to do, and I was panicking.  Suddenly what happened with Catch My Fall didn’t seem so bad.  Sure, it tanked… but no one had any expectations of me.

That’s when I figured it out—if I allowed the USA thing to go to my head, I would expect it and be an unbearable shit when I didn’t make it.

So, I did the unthinkable.  I made a conscious choice to write a book that I absolutely positively knew would not even get to the Amazon best seller list.  I knew it would earn me a living, but I also know that it wasn’t a straight, “Ella Fox” book and it wasn’t going to burn the building down with sales. I knew the book wouldn’t make it and I wasn’t just okay with that—I was happy about it.  It kept me real, made sure that I stayed humble, and reminded me that I write books for readers—NOT LISTS.

I know a lot of authors that take getting on the lists VERY seriously.  To them, it’s all about the list.  I cannot, and I will not, write like that.  The philosophy I’ve developed is this: Reading is like any form of entertainment, and all entertainers go through an ebb and flow—up and down.  One minute you’re hot-ish, the next minute you’re an anecdotal story on “One Hit Wonders.”  I’m fine being a One Hit Wonder, as long as I can earn a living.  There’s no shame in making it only once.  None at all.

I believe that as long as you know that, you’re okay.  The second you believe that you’re somehow entitled to something… you’ve gone off the rails.

Last week I released the entire Hart Family series as a box set.  I knew I wasn’t going to make money off of it—it’s been over two years now, after all.  My whole goal was to get new eyes on the stories so that I could possibly draw in new readers.

Yesterday I got a text from my friend Tessa Teevan.  “You hit USA Today!! #72!”

I burst into tears.  In no way had I expected that news.

My reaction to this was even bigger than when Consequences of Deception hit.

Why?

Because it’s icing on the cake.  The Hart Family got me out of my dead end job.  The Hart Family helped me dream big.  The Hart Family changed my life.  I love these characters in a way that I can’t properly express.  To this day, they’re all alive in my head.

And now, they’re USA Today Best Sellers.

I owe this life to Dante & Sabrina, Damien & Brooke, Spencer & Delilah, Dillon & Minnie—and to YOU.  I am grateful in a way that I can’t ever possibly hope to express.  Making the list this time is a reminder that taking that leap of faith twenty-eight months ago was the best thing I have ever done.

My dream is to continue writing.  I want to create stories that make readers smile.  The most important thing I’ve learned is that you have to do what you’re passionate about.  Some stories will be well received, others not so much.  I’m okay with that.  My life is good and I am thankful.  Because I took one chance, I am now able to take more.  I can’t put a price on that.

Whatever your dream is, reach for it.  Whether you take one tiny step or a big leap, YOU CAN DO IT.  Don’t ever let a shitty situation dictate what the rest of your life will be like.  There are always choices—always a fork in the road that can be taken.

My fork in the road was called Broken Hart, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

 

 

 

99 Cent Sale!

 

 

 

 

The entire Hart Family Series is now together in a box set! To celebrate the big release, I’ve set the box set price at 99 cents.  When the sale concludes the set will go to it’s permanent $7.99 price.

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Amazon http://amzn.to/1pLJ8Yr
B&N http://bit.ly/1nDDDPO
Kobo http://bit.ly/ZNm5pe
Scribd http://bit.ly/1rAVd3s
Inktera http://bit.ly/1DMOQ4I

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I’m also celebrating the fact that Consequences of Deception got a beautiful new cover!  For a limited time, Consequences of Deception is on sale for 99 cents.  After the sale ends, the book goes back to $3.99.

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Amazon http://amzn.to/128o3SJ
B&N http://bit.ly/1j2hCnE
iTunes http://bit.ly/1t4qvUN
Kobo http://bit.ly/1tR6mn1
Scribd http://bit.ly/10l7kv3
Inktera http://bit.ly/1CVBsZJ

 

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Professionalism in the Indie Community- Part 1

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I’ve had a raft full of things to say about what’s going on in Indie Author Business for quite a while, but I keep shoving it down.  Tonight I saw something that took my patience to the absolute limit—and with it, my ability to keep my lips zipped.

For the record, I don’t see a lot of this behavior coming from the traditionally published authors– although yes, there is definitely some (see Chelsea Cain– AKA An author I used to love reading).  There’s bad behavior there for sure, but it’s not as in your face as what’s going on in the Indie Author arena.

In my opinion, being an Indie Author is a job that, like most other jobs, should be approached professionally.  More and more lately, I’m seeing an alarming amount of behavior that is so far from professional that it boggles my mind.

Instead of being vague, I am going to come straight out and say what, in my opinion, the issues are.  I’ve got a list.  Tonight, I’m sharing the first one.

Yesterday a New York Times best selling author, Cassia Leo, announced that she is no longer going to publish because no one will purchase her books for anything other than 99 cents. (I’m using her name because she did this as a public post and this is not a secret.  I don’t do vague- if I’m going to say something, I’m actually going to say it)

Here is the text of the post Cassia put up on Facebook:

 So… I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not I should even post this (I’ve had a large portion of this post written since the middle of August), but I think I really have no choice. So here goes.

CHASING ABBY will be the last book I write under my Cassia Leo pen name. I will no longer be writing RIPPED. Since preorders are not charged to your account until the book is released, you will not be charged for your RIPPED preorder.

 I’ve had an amazing time writing under this pen name. I’ve seen a lot of success. Unfortunately, the book industry has changed so drastically over the past year, and especially the last three months, there aren’t as many people who want to read the kind of books I write. And with so much piracy and so many readers refusing to buy my books unless they go on sale, I can’t survive if I continue to write under this pen name.

I have to do what’s best for me and my family. I’m a single mom and the sole provider/caregiver for my elderly mother. The changes in the book industry and the changes Amazon has made to its website have hit me and many indie authors hard. For me, that means I have two choices: 1) Get a regular job and give up on my lifetime dream of being a professional writer, or, 2) Evolve with the market. I’m not a quitter, so I choose to evolve.

I have so enjoyed getting to know you all. And I’m sure I will stay in touch with many of you. I will still be attending the upcoming signing events I have scheduled. And I will still be writing, but it will be under a different pen name (stuff that people actually want to read). I won’t be divulging that name to anyone.

In a few weeks, I will no longer be checking this page or any of my Cassia Leo accounts or group on a regular basis, if at all. I just don’t have the time to be a single mom, caregiver, and manage two social media empires. I’d like to give you all a few weeks to see this post or find out the news from your friends. That gives you enough time to send me a message (or bottle of vodka  ) before I disappear. I don’t want any of you to feel ignored.

……….

The UNMASKED series boxed set is being released next week at a special price of 99¢. And the KNOX series boxed set is going on sale for 99¢ on the same day, both for a limited time. This is the last sale I will ever run on any of my Cassia Leo books, so make sure you sign up for my newsletter so you get a notification when it’s live.

So… thank you to all the wonderful readers who have supported me over the past couple of years; especially the ones who’ve been there since CHASE. And the ones who go beyond clicking the buy button. To all the readers who buy the book, recommend it to their friends, and post their reviews, they are the ones who make it possible for us, the indie authors, to keep writing the stories you all love. So THANK YOU, thank you, thank you. A quadrillion times, thank you.

Yes—that happened.  There are some issues with her assertions, and these are my thoughts.

Her new book, Chasing Abby, went on sale on Monday for 4.99.  It was ranked #310 on Tuesday.

#310 is NOT a horrible rank.  I’m going to tell you right now that the 70% royalty at Amazon for a $4.99 book is roughly $3.45 per book.  In my response to Cassia’s post, I noted that the 300 rank wasn’t bad.  She argued that she had sold less than 100 copies.  Straight up—this is not true.  Any author that sells books on Amazon can warrant a pretty good guess as to what the daily sales numbers are once we get a look at the rank.  I know an author who is currently ranked in the #1,300 area.  She’s selling about 100 a day.  Being in the top 500 means that Cassia would have sold AT LEAST 250 books that day.  Now here’s some math:  250×3.45= $862.  I know many authors who stay in the top 2k on Amazon with a book or two—and they earn THOUSANDS of dollars a month.  A hell of a lot more than they would make at another job.  Cassia has a stable full of books.  Let me be blunt: She’s making EXCELLENT money.  Money that one could live off of- and support their family with- very, very well.  Sounds to me like she’s annoyed that Chasing Abby didn’t blow the doors off the joint.  Do I really think that she’s shutting the Cassia Leo pen name down?  Let’s put it this way—I have no real clue, but I wont be surprised if she publishes a new book with that name.  The woman has thirty-nine thousand LIKES on facebook and she’s a New York Times and USA Today Best Seller.  Be logical—why would someone throw away those achievements to go with a new and unknown pen name?

For the record, Cassia has removed the above post.  She did say that she gave forty thousand dollars worth of prizes away last year—something that, again, I find questionable.  I give away A LOT of stuff… but I know that giving away forty thousand dollars worth of swag would be ridiculous.  Do you think Sylvia Day, EL James or Stephen King give away FORTY THOUSAND dollars worth of stuff each year?  I doubt it.  Sometimes too much is too much.  This is a business—treat it like one.  If you give away forty thousand dollars worth of anything, you aren’t a business person and you need someone to help manage your money.

There IS something that Cassia said that I DO agree with.  The 99 cent sales are a problem and it’s screwing everyone over. First of all, readers, you should know that when a book is 1.99 or less, the author only gets 30% of the sale price. That means we make about 30 cents per book. For this reason, I will never put out a new full-length release at 99 cents.  EVER. If it’s a novella, sure! But otherwise, no. The books have to pay for themselves- editing, covers, promo, formatting and a ton of other stuff goes into each book.  Average cost to publish a book is between $1500-$3000.  The biggest variable is what type of cover photo you go with.  As authors, we put a lot into our books.  Hours and hours and hours and hours (are you getting that its hours and hours?) of writing, reading, re-reading, revising, writing more, editing, proofreading, editing again… etc) It takes a lot to put a book out and 30 cents a copy is NOT a livable wage.  It just isn’t.  That’s why the 99 cent price point should be used as a SALE.  In my opinion, sales shouldn’t happen until a book has been out for quite a while.  Consequences of Deception has been out for almost 8 months and it’s not been on sale yet.  Will I eventually do a sale? Sure.  But I refuse to disrespect my readers by jerking the price around on a whim.

My commitment to my readers is this: you can trust that I will not ever put a book that is not six months or older on sale.  EVER.  I’m supporting myself and my family, and I can’t afford to give things away.  I think that’s totally understandable and, in my opinion, most readers get that.

As a reader, the 99 cent sales annoy me.  Here are some examples of my personal experiences where the 99 cent sale has driven me bananas.

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  1. I purchased a new release that was on the Amazon best seller list for $4.99.  It made it to USA Today.  The next week it dropped out of the top 100.  The author promptly dropped the price to $2.99.  Three weeks later, it was on 99 cent sale.  Essentially, readers that purchased the book when it came out were punished.  I thought that was appalling.
  2. I purchased a new release for $2.99.  FOUR DAYS LATER it was 99 cents.
  3. I purchased the first book in a novella series for $2.99.  Two months later… 99 cents.  Now, less than five months later…. It’s permanently FREE.

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Readers are experiencing these same exact issues—and they’re annoyed.  In fact, one of the posts in Cassia Leo’s thread addressed this very issue.  Her exact words were, “…I am part of a reader group and the reason why they DON’T pay full price is because they just believe you authors will reduce the prices to get more sales. It isn’t about not being willing to pay the regular price, but more about “why bother” because they know it will go on sale later.”

If you’re going to put something up for 99 cents… Don’t do it five seconds after you release.  It’s a slap in the face to early adapters.  There needs to be an industry standard—no sales for six months OR MORE.  Period.

 

Why there’s no real drama in Twist of Fate

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The release for Twist of Fate is going really well.  So far (I always knock on wood when I say things like this) readers are enjoying Gavin & Leah.  I have gotten some feedback about the lack of DRAMA within Twist of Fate– and, while 97.8% of it has been overwhelmingly positive, I’ve also heard from readers who missed it.  In lieu of explaining my reasoning several dozen times to different people, I’m going to address that all here.

Gavin & Leah’s story is different for several reasons– the first being that I felt as if Leah had been through enough.  I didn’t want to throw unnecessary drama at her or Gavin because that isn’t what their story was telling me to do.  I love dramatic books as much as the next person- trust, I get SO excited when there’s some crazy curve I didn’t see coming & I will wait with baited breath for the follow up like an 80′s kid waiting for concert tickets- but Gavin and Leah didn’t need that.

There was kidnapping and drama in Missing & Finding Hart.  Consequences of Deception was fairly dramatic.  I came to think of Twist of Fate as my ‘palette cleanser’.  There’s no assault, cheating, kidnapping, rape, hostage situations, death, murder, stealing, addiction of any kind, lies or other women.  I’ll say again that I have NO problem with any of that– I’ve done some of it in my stories & I will again– but it is VERY important to me that my books not be the same thing over and over again.  My books all share a common thread– that most people who start out good are capable of change & that fate/destiny finds a way to make love happen- but I’m not going to throw unnecessary drama in just for the sake of doing it.  I think my men generally have similar character traits and that’s because I feel VERY passionately about the kind of men I think are good Heroes.  Leah had a tough life and as such, some overbearing asshole that talked down to her and came at her alpha style was not going to work.

Twist of Fate is sweet and direct.  I didn’t add fluff or draw it out to bulk my word count up.  I did what I always do– let the characters speak to me so that their story could be told.  I actually think that Twist of Fate might end up being my most realistic love story.  Gavin and Leah actually communicate and work things out so it’s very low on conflict.

When I was finished Twist of Fate, I was happy and I couldn’t stop smiling. (After I cried while writing the epilogue– don’t judge!) I hope that all of you will feel that way too.

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Cole and Tyson will be the subjects of the final two Renegade books.  Cole and Devon have a great story that I can’t wait to share.  Tyson’s story is completely different than the rest of the band because his is the darkest. There is A LOT that hasn’t been revealed about Tyson’s background but once you get his story… you guys!! The feels on this one.  I was going to keep the identity of Tyson’s love interest a secret but I am terrible with keeping stuff like that in… so……

Hard to Handle wasn’t included in Twist of Fate for no reason.  Tyson’s love interest is none other than Violet’s younger sister, Daisy Hammond.

Tomorrow morning I go back to writing– and I need to decide what to write next.  Here’s what I’ve got in the pipeline.

Saving Hart- The Hart Family Book 7 (Sandra & Todd)

Dark Desires- The Deception Series Book 2 (Killian and Sloane)

Catch and Release- The Catch Series Book 2 (Darby & Trace)

Two Roads- Renegade Saints Book 3 (Cole & Devon)

Shadows and Light- Renegade Saints Book 4 (Tyson and Daisy)

As of right this very second…. Sandra & Todd are talking to me.  Their back stories are BEGGING to be told- especially Sandra’s.  Not all is at it seems…

What would you like me to write next? Sound off in the comments.

Consequences of Deception is a Bestseller!!

 

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Consequences of Deception is currently #54 on the Amazon Bestseller List & #1 on the Amazon Erotica list!

The reviews are amazing! Right now there are 73 reviews & 66 of them are 5 star.
Everyone is falling head over heels in love with Killian and Sloane’s story and I couldn’t be happier!

Consequences of Deception is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

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Consequences of Deception is NOW AVAILABLE!!

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Consequences of Deception is finally here!  So far, the reviews are absolutely AMAZING.  People are stunned by how sexy, deep and dark the story is- not to mention all of the twists and turns.  I’ve gotten more emails, messages, tweets and DMs in the last forty-eight hours than I’ve ever had with any one of my books.  Killian has hit a nerve (and a g-spot) for a lot of you, and I am thrilled! This story is complicated and dark, and I am very proud of how it turned out.  I didn’t shy away from telling the story the way that it needed to be told and I am thrilled with the end result. From beginning to end- and yes, there is an END, this is a stand alone- this story was a labor of love.

I can’t say much else because I don’t want to give spoilers, but I will leave you with what some of the reviews have said.  In 48 hours the book has gotten 42 Five Star reviews on Amazon!

“I am literally in awe of this book. That is how out of this world fantastic it was. I am typing this review after spending the last few hours entranced by its magnificence.” – Megan, The Never Ending Book Basket

“There’s not much I can give you in details without ruining the book for you. You will hate and love Killian, and then hate him some more. He’s angry, cocky, ruthless. At times I didn’t think he had a heart. If you adore those dirty talkers, Killian is your man. Had me tightening my thighs and all *fans self* Can you say Alpha?” – Yahaira, SMI Book Club

“Holy fucking shit..LOVED this book! Bossy, arrogant, rich and fucks like a champ! Killian is my new love…” – Dawn, Tara & Dawns Sizzling Pages

“This by far is the best book I have read this year! I don’t give out many 5 star reviews, I am very picky and the book really has to appeal to me in every aspect, draw me in, keep me there, and want me coming back for more. THIS book did absolutely that!! Killian and Sloane story is so unique that you will have to keep turning the page to find out what could possibly happen next.”   – Rebecca, Author Groupies Blog

“Consequences of Deception in a word, HOT. Killian has a way about him that when he walks in a room, panties start dropping or dripping or whatever. You get the idea. A few parts, I had to reread, because…you know…I needed to really grasp the concept. The delicious, sexy, image of Killian being naughty…yum!”  - Kristi, Book Breath Babe Blog

“A masterpiece of smut, that’s what this book is.  COD is not like any other book Ella has written before; this book is darkerdirtier,kinkier and hotter!”  Midian,  SMI Book Club

You can buy Consequences of Deception by following these links to Barnes and Noble or Amazon  

The prologue for Consequences of Deception

Consequences of Deception-2

Prologue

I was being a bad girl and I knew it, but I didn’t care because the need to be with him was so all-consuming that it hurt.  I floated on my back, in the water, while I stared at the late night sky, smiling dreamily as I counted down the minutes until he came outside.  I had turned on the pool lights and slipped into the water, knowing full well that he’d have no choice but to come to me.  If he really wanted to, he could ignore me, but I knew that he would never do that. This was the fifth time I’d done this, and each and every time he broke a little more. The truth is, I would have done it every single night. Since I could only do it when Shannon wasn’t home and my father was safely asleep in my house, I had to take my chances when I could, which is why I was there floating in his pool—after midnight.

I felt him the minute that he was outside, so I turned over and swam toward the spot where I knew he would be standing. I broke the surface of the water and started walking up the steps of the pool in a fluid series of motions, smiling as I watched him devour me with his eyes. My bikini choice was nothing short of scandalous; four teeny-tiny little red triangles that left very little to the imagination.  Smiling at him, I stepped out of the pool onto the stamped concrete patio. Standing next to him, I blatantly admired how sexy he looked in the lounge pants he was wearing.  As was my intention, I’d woken him up, which meant that he came out clad in lounge pants and nothing else.  They sat low on his hips and I licked my lips as I stared at the sexy V-cut muscle that led to his promised land.

“Dammit, Sloane,” he rasped.  “You’re making this so hard.”

Since that was my intention, I didn’t bother to deny it.  There were six more months until I would be eighteen and he wouldn’t bother to fight it at all anymore.  We both knew it. I didn’t see the point in waiting.

“I’m not trying to be difficult, Killian, I just wanted a late night swim.”

He scoffed at that, the same as he did every time I pulled this stunt.  “What’s the difference between my pool and the one in your yard right next door?”

Grabbing the towel he’d brought out with him from his hand, I laughed softly.  “The difference is that if I were swimming in my own pool, you wouldn’t bring me a towel.”

“Do you understand what would happen if your father thought something was going on between us right now?  You’re jailbait, baby, and I don’t want to spend my life, without you, behind bars.”

On my tiptoes, I slid my arms around his neck and linked my fingers together as I smiled up at him.  “My father isn’t stupid, Killian.  He’s seen this coming for a while and he isn’t going to do anything.  How much of a hypocrite would he be if he did have an issue with us?  My mother was ten years older than him.  There’s only a six year age difference between you and me, and it means nothing because we’re meant for each other.”

I could feel him losing the battle, the rigid heat of his erection pressing against my stomach as his hands slid down my sides before settling on my ass.  He wanted this just as much, if not more, than I did.

He groaned as he pulled me closer and lifted me up, a position that I took immediate advantage of as I wrapped my legs around his waist.  The new position left his hands free and he slid one up to the center of my back and the other to cup my face as he stared into my eyes.

“Your father would lose his fucking marbles if he knew the kind of things I like.  God, Sloane… this is so fucking wrong.  You don’t know what you’re asking for.  The things that I want to do to you right now…  you’re too young.  Sex isn’t always champagne and roses, princess.  I think if you knew how wild it gets – you would run.  You should run.”

I’d take him any way that I could get him.  I leaned in until my lips were just over his.  “Don’t you know, Killian?  If you want it, so do I.  If you need it, I need it just as badly.”

Using the hand that was cupping my cheek, he pulled me in and settled my lips against his.  One swipe of his tongue against my lips had me moaning as I opened for him, the taste of his tongue, pure sin and explosive heat, against my own.  This was the fifth time that I’d gotten him to kiss me and he was being far more aggressive than he usually was.  Instead of being scared, I loved it.  I threw myself into the kiss, gasping and moaning as he fucked my mouth with his tongue, and he was hard against my wet center.  Only the fabric of his pants and my bikini kept us from being joined, and I whimpered from the need to have him claim me.  I’d been obsessing for months about what he would feel like inside of me, and instinctively I knew that only he could ease the ache that was building within me.

The feeling of distress that came as he set me down, and away from him, was painful.  “Killian… please!”

He hugged me gently before placing a soft kiss on my forehead and letting out a sigh that sounded a lot like surrender.  “You need to be patient, princess.  In six months, if you’re positive that you want this, I’m going to make you mine.”

I needed the reassurance in order to be able to walk away.  I wanted to be with him—really with him. Sometimes I got scared that he’d be able to walk away from the attraction.  After all, Killian had had girlfriends before, girls that made me want to punch, kick and scream because he belonged with me.   Hugging him tightly, I whispered, “I’m one hundred percent positive now.  It’s always been you, Killian.  Promise me that we’ll be together.  I need to know that you feel it, too.”

Sliding his hands up to cup my cheeks, he looked me straight in the eye as he answered me emphatically.  “I feel it too, princess.  There is nothing that will ever keep me from you, Sloane.  Nothing at all.”

-*******************-

Of course you all know that nothing is ever that easy….

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 Consequences of Deception arrives Monday February 17, 2014.

Here is the official blurb:

Once upon a time, girl met boy and a love story began.

Their future was assured until tragedy struck and deceptions were made.

There are consequences to every action, and the Consequences of Deception are always the most punishing.

Sloane Evans lost nearly everyone that she’s ever loved, but losing Killian Brandt left a scar that never healed.

Four and a half years after turning his back on her, Killian steps back into Sloane’s life in the most shocking of ways, giving her no choice but to abandon her life and go with him.

Why would a man buy a woman that he hates?

Not everything is as it appears.

Love is beautiful, revenge is ugly, and lies destroy lives.

Prepare to discover the Consequences of Deception.

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My favorite books of 2013

2012favorites

 

 

Mission: Impossible

 

Last year I tried to do a Top 5 books of 2012. That didn’t work and I wound up with 12 books.

 

So this year I figured… 13 for 2013! (If you want to read last years list, click HERE)

 

Here they are, in particular order.  Let me know if you’ve read and loved these books as much as I did!!  If you haven’t, I highly recommend each and every one.  (Note: Click the title of any book and the link will take you to Amazon to read the synopsis & purchase the book, if you decide to do so.  Where possible, I’ve linked the authors website, Facebook or Twitter to their name)

 

1. Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless was on my list last year so you all know how much I loved that book.  Did I ever, even for one second, think that it could be topped?  Absolutely not.  Guess what?  I loved Losing Hope EVEN MORE!! It seems like that should be impossible, but it wasn’t.  Dean Holder is one of my BBF’s for life. Trust me when I tell you, THIS BOOK ROCKS.

 

2. Making Faces by Amy Harmon

This book… I just…. It was unreal.  Honestly, I needed stock in Kleenex by the time that I was done.  I loved it and I think that EVERYONE ON EARTH, EVERYWHERE- should read it.

 

3. When It Rains by Lisa De Jong 

You know how I just said I should have bought stock in Kleenex when I read Making Faces?  Well, someone should have bought me a FACTORY to read When it Rains.  Put bluntly, I looked as if rain was pouring continuously down my face while I read this book.  Heartbreaking, uplifting, soul-crushing, life changing… This book is the entire package.

 

4.  Ignite by Tessa Teevan

This book had me from Hello.  I loved the premise and the execution of the story.  Remember your first love?  This story is the full package- the loss of your life followed by the love of your life.  Yin and yang.  It was handled beautifully and I have a BBF (book boyfriend) for life in Jace.  I’ve read 60% of the follow up book, Incinerate, and let me tell you- Tessa’s got a HIT on her hands.  When Knox & Charlie come out, you guys are going to flip!

 

5.  Bully by Penelope Douglas 

Tate and Jared rocked my flipping world!  You can’t go wrong with this story.  Bully is told from Tate’s (Tatum) POV.   I was SO happy when Penelope did a follow-up from Jared’s POV.  It was all new material and I loved seeing things from Jared’s perspective.  I love him, HARD!

 

6.  Addicted to You by Krista & Becca Ritchie

This series is gritty, real, dark and light.  I alternately wanted to hug and smack Lily & Loren, and I loved the ride.  The story is engrossing.  I love that it was written by sisters.  Every one of these books is a winner.

 

7. Remy by Katy Evans

Two words: REMINGTON TATE.  The third book in the REAL series came to us in Remy’s POV.  THUD.  I loved all three books, but Remy’s POV has a special place in my heart.  I love him now more than ever!!!

 

8. Beautiful Broken Rules by Kimberly Lauren  

I loved Emerson & Jax.  Jax, to me, is one of the best BBF’s ever.  What this man does for his girl!!!!! I love his notes and pretty much every word that came out of his mouth.  The follow up to this, Beautiful Broken Mess is also one of my favorites this year.  I can’t wait for the next book.

 

9.  Beck by Harper Sloan

Beck is book 3 in the Corps Security series.  I have loved each and every one, but Beck…. oh, Beck.  This story was amazing from beginning to end, and I loved finding out all of the things that we didn’t see before.  Harper knocked this one out of the park, no doubt about it.  People tell me all the time that I can write a sex scene.  I can, but as I found out during Beck, I need to bow to the MASTER: Miss Harper Sloan.   Pop Rocks have never looked so interesting!

 

10.  Façade by Nyrae Dawn 

I didn’t think it was going to be possible for me to love book 2 of The Games Series as much as I loved Book 1.  I was wrong.  Put bluntly, Nyrae could write a grocery list and I’d show up to read it.  This woman can write!  I loved Cheyenne and Colt from Charade, but Adrian Westfall is MY MAN.  The things he writes to Delaney… OH. My. THUD.  My heart broke- flipping seriously broke- for Adrian.  I love him.  That is all.

 

11. Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden Mills 

Nora & Leo are phenomenal!!!!!  Love, love, love them.  This story was rich and full of depth, and I can’t recommend it enough.  I love the way Leo fights it!  I hated Nora’s mother BIG TIME.  I can’t wait for Book 2 in the Briarcrest Academy Series.

 

12. Try by Ella Frank

There are two kinds of people in the world.  Those that have read Try, and those that have not.  Be one of the ones that has!! Logan and Tate are HOT.  As in, ring the alarm and get ready for a hot flash.  It’s almost too good.  I am anxiously awaiting the follow up!

 

13. If I Were You by Lisa Renée Jones

I can’t even count the ways that I love the Inside Out series.  It’s so. damn. good!!   I want to say more but- as you all know- I hate spoilers.  Let me just say that I LOVE the MAIN man of this series.  Loveeee. Himmmmm.

 

So, that’s my list.  This was hard to pare down!  There are honorable mentions, of course-

The Dark Light of Day by TM Frazier

Bad Things & Rock Bottom by R.K. Lilley

Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

The Breathing Series by Rebecca Donovan

Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken

Leap of Faith by Jamie Blair

Take This Regret & If Forever Comes by A.L. Jackson

The Forever Series by Heidi McLaughlin

Sex, Love, Repeat by Alessandra Torre

Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski 

 

What were YOUR favorite books of 2013?