All About Romance gives THE BASTARD a B+
“I was hooked from the beginning of the story…”
“I was hooked from the beginning of the story…”
Seriously. And they are STILL trying to get in. I had Laideebug Digital update and repair everything they could, moved to a more secure hosting format and changed my passwords to gobbledegook that I hope I remember! I lost EVERYTHING I have blogged about since my first book came out. FOUR YEARS worth of stuff. It was enough to crush me, honestly but I refuse to let them win. So I’m back and will just push on.
Stay tuned for more INEZ updates!
(Retrieved after hacker attack)
Originally published August 03, 2014
*jumping for joy*
Gather ’round, everyone. Aunty Inez is going to tell you a true story.
Long long ago, way back before computers and cell phones, when music was sold on vinyl circles the size of dinner plates and gallons of hairspray fumes were wafting over high school campuses, young Inez got in trouble.
See, I’d been caught writing a story (in pencil on notebook paper) when I was supposed to be doing an assignment. That day shook me because not one teacher, not two, but two teachers and a guidance counselor told me my dream of being a professional romance writer was silly. It was immature. It was a waste of my intelligence. I needed to stop playing at ‘love stories’ and either foster an English Literature degree focused goal or forget that whole childish writing thing altogether.
It was a critical time in my teens. It was the year we were supposed to select our lives, map out these carefully crafted plans for the next six years of our high school and college lives then stride into the world of adulthood, devoid of childish dreams. To say I was crushed and confused is an understatement.
The following week, my family traveled to Florida to see my grandparents. My moodiness was excused as ‘being a teenager’ and ignored. They all left me at the house with my grandmother while they went out to swim at the community pool. Then my grandmother pried it out of me. I told her things I had never told anyone about what I wanted. I wanted to write, write romance novels. I remember a weird look on her face and feeling like I’d just spoiled Christmas or something.
Her name was Katherine but everyone called her Katie. She’d had a rough life, married young and had babies. She loved her husband but he was a hard drinker, a womanizer and abusive. She raised five kids in that marriage and stood by him through the booze, the women and the beatings. They scrimped, they scraped and they did without but she never wavered in her devotion to family. To everyone who knew her, she was a sweet woman but behind closed doors, she was strong.
She only found her public strength in her late 40s, when her husband was gravely injured on the job. He was electrocuted and thrown 30 feet. He suffered from complications of that the rest of his life. She bathed him, fed him and cared for him as she had his children. He got better and was able to walk and talk, to function but not to work again. So she went to work outside the house.She went back to school, got her high school diploma then went on to get her college diploma.
A newspaper once called her “The Pistol Packin’ Granny.” She worked for a Child Support Service that went after dead-beat fathers who owed far too much in back child support money. She tracked them down, served them and set about getting their wages attached and their property confiscated, some even went to jail. She did carry a little derringer after one too many men objected to her taking ‘their money’. She fired it on more than one occasion.
When she was ready to retire (though she never really did), she decided to move from West Virginia to Florida. My grandfather said “Hell No”. Her response became family legend. “Old man, I’m going. Get your shit together or stay here but I’m gone.” She went. So did he. She’d found the strength to stand up to him and never backed down. And she never stopped loving him.
Go back to that moody teenager sitting in a Florida kitchen whining about her future. My Gramma went into her sewing room and came back carrying a faded aqua-blue binder. Apparently when life for her was at its bleakest point, she would hide in her sewing room. In there, amidst the scraps of quilts and skirts, buttons and blankets, she had a manual typewriter. My grandmother had written a love story when her fingers were sore, her hands swollen and her face bruised.
She only wrote one that she admitted, but it helped her deal with with the darkness and she’d never told a soul. No one. I will never forget what she told me. “You don’t need permission to write. The stories are in your blood. Don’t let any man beat you or run around on you. You make up a good man in words and one day, you find him for real. You can do what I wasn’t strong enough to do while you’re still young enough to do it.”
She asked me to keep that story and to never tell anyone that she’d written it or given it to me. After all, she called me Katy-did because what she (Katie) did, I always wanted to do. I went home, planned my career and majored in Advertising. I acted in drama, did make-up for theater and worked my ass off paying for school by myself. I discovered real romance and fell in love, and fell out of it, and then did it again. But I didn’t write much. When I did, I did it in secret and shared with no one. But I have never allowed a man to abuse me, physically or emotionally. I had a great role model there.
My grandmother died in 1992. She’d gotten a little delirious in her last days and spoke about the book she wrote, the one that had parts of her life in it. Some people panicked. After all, she knew some dirt on every member of her family since all families have dirt that they hide. They literally went through her house looking for it. All she would ever say was it was where it was supposed to be. I never said a word.
That year, my last year of school, I was taking an advanced writing class, not for romance of course, oh no, it was aimed at real stories, books like Chaucer and Shakespeare, Pearl Buck and Harper Lee. The entire class after September was “WRITE”. There was one assignment, one grade. A novel, due at the end of the term. I wrote and turned in a romance story and didn’t give a flying fuck if I passed or not. It was my private tribute to my grandmother. The heroine was named ‘Katherine’.
My instructor returned it with a one sentence critique. “I’ve never read an assignment with the words nipple, cock and pussy in it before.” I got an A.
Fast forward several years. I still wrote and still kept it hidden. I found that man I’d written about and married him. We have 3 children. While I writing one day (now on a computer) he came into the room and asked to read it. I said no. He asked why I wrote if I didn’t want anyone to read it. I just had to write, I said. He asked if I was every going to do anything with the stories I’d written. I said no, I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t anything earth-shattering, it was just a silly romance.
He kissed me and said romance with me was earth-shattering for him and did I really want my kids to have a life long dream and hide it? I remembered my Gramma, hiding in her sewing room and writing on a manual typewriter the one story she thought she had inside her. I couldn’t stop thinking maybe I should try. Damn him.
So I tried, I wrote one story, crossed my fingers and hit submit. Eleven days later, I got an offer. That first book, JINXED, has a special dedication to my Katherine ,my Gramma. I did it. For her and for me.
Now since she gave me her story, I’ve moved a lot. First to college then to New Hampshire and then to Virginia. Then it was Connecticut and back to West Virginia. Then Michigan and back to West Virginia. I was afraid somewhere along the road I had lost that irreplaceable bunch of typed pages in an aqua-blue binder. Tonight, I found it. It was in the best place. Sealed inside the box that holds my wedding gown.
Her story is simple, pure. It is a lonely childless woman who inherits a long-distance cousin’s little boy and the sweetheart police officer who aids her in letting boys be boys and love bloom. There is no dark family secret, just a strong love that weathered adversity. There is one kiss on the last page. There is no cursing. But she named her grandchildren in the story, each one of us (she called me a prissy princess with Shirley Temple curls). The hope and innocence bleeds off the page and the love shines so much brighter than the faded type.
And it is mine. Only mine. And one day, it will be my daughter’s. Her name is also Katherine.
(Retrieved after hacker attack)
Originally published on May 28 2014
Did you read my once freebie series Beauty and The Badge?
Jace and Dayna had a big following. There are over 250 ratings on Goodreads for the series installments and people visit my site hundreds of times a year to download them. The reader mail has never stopped, most people asking me to write more.
Readers seemed to connect with Jace and Dayna. They are everyday people, with money issues, irritating relatives and normal jobs. He’s a cop, she’s a school teacher. Each tale was a glimpse into their lives at a critical moment during their relationship, from the first kiss, the first ‘I love you’ and beyond. 10 mini stories, one couple, one heart-comforting story.
I started those short stories for two reasons. One, I was a few months away from my first book going on sale and it was a good way to get my name out to readers before it went live. It worked! Two, I was trying to teach myself to write short. That didn’t work so well. What I did was stay with one couple for 10 short tales, basically writing a full-length book served in installments. Oh well, I tried.
One purpose those mini-stories served was as a palate cleanser for me. After my first romantic comedy, JINXED, debuted, I was working on other stories. Darker ones. Ones that were challenging to write and difficult to feel. When the journey became too taxing, I’ve veer off for a while, write a new Jace and Dayna story, refresh my brain. It really helped. I also did this with Turn it Up, clearing my head after Sweet as Sin.
So I’ve missed Jace and Dayna, too. Especially after writing The Bastard. Since I’ve outlined the entire series for The Baddest Boys in History, I know what evil lurks in the future. I also knew I needed a mental break. Not to stop writing but to write something different. I thought about resurrecting one of my incomplete lighter comedies but nah, didn’t feel right.
Then I stumbled across some reader mail, the ones asking for more Jace and Dayna. So I reread the Beauty and the Badge and although I could see where I’ve grown, I really enjoyed them. I started thinking about “what comes next for them”.
So I did it. I pulled the stories, edited them again, beefed up a few things, deepened a few things and wrote 2 new installments of the Beauty and the Badge. This time, I am packaging all the stories in one book. Each ‘moment’ is a new chapter with new chapters added. There is a new cover. It went through extensive line edits. It is live on various vender sites next week. I’m marking the price at $.99 and that is where it will stay.
Jace and Dayna live again!