When Good GIFs Go Bad: Sorry, Saved by the Bell

Writers don't have watercoolers to chat by at work, but we have Twitter and instant messaging. My friend Dawn Alexander and I use IM and the GIF keyboard probably a little too much during the day, but it keeps us sane. And the things writers end up talking about can either sound illegal (do you think you could murder someone with a shoestring?) to the wildly inappropriate, which is where things went today.

Today's topic: pond sex.

My verdict: Cold water does not make for hot scenes.

Dawn's verdict: No one wants pond scum in their special places.

Which of course meant I needed to respond with an appropriate GIF. I searched "gag" and got a Saved by the Bell GIF. Of course, being a Saved by the Bell fan, I chose that one. It seemed perfect. Until I pasted it in and the GIF looped and made the action repetitive. >.<

Yeah. So. I'll leave you with that for the day. 

Friday Reads: Sex, Lies, and Online Dating by Rachel Gibson

So remember how I was asking for help dealing with my epic TBR pile earlier in the week? Well, while I was culling some books, I plucked this one off my shelf and read the back. It sounded funny, and I was in the mood for that, so I figured I'd give it a try. I guarantee this book has been on my shelf for at least three years. A while back I bought two "grab bag" boxes of romances from the used book store, and this was one of those in the mix.

And see, this is EXACTLY why I have trouble getting rid of TBR books even when they've been languishing on my shelves for years. Because I KNOW that there are some gems on those shelves and I don't want to miss out on them. (Yes, I have major FOMO over books.) But anyway, Sex, Lies, and Online Dating by Rachel Gibson proved the point and will now make me even more paranoid about donating books I haven't read.

So, let's get to the book. First, the back cover summary, which has a bit more of a chick-litty feel than the actual book, so take that with a grain of salt:

Sex . . .

What is it about men anyway? Bad cars, bad jobs, even bad teeth—nothing convinces them that they can't snare a Size Two Babe with a D-cup chest. And after way too many internet dates with men named "luvstick" and "bigdaddy182," Lucy Rothschild should know.

Lies . . .

But sitting across from her now is "hardluvnman," and he seems different—sensitive, honest, and hot! He says he's a plumber, while Lucy claims she's a nurse! She's really a mystery writer, dating online while researching her next book. Hey, everyone lies a little, don't they?

And Online Dating . . .

But Quinn's really an undercover cop hunting down a serial killer, and he sees Lucy as his top suspect. And while he could really go for this smart, sexy woman with the killer bod—if that's the only thing "killer" about her—he knows he needs to wine and dine her and discover the truth. Hey, he realizes the dating scene can be deadly—but this is ridiculous!

Okay, so first, this is a series following four writer friends, each getting their own book. Obviously, I'm a writer, and I have a group of writer friends who I'm very close to. So this was ridiculously relatable. Almost freakishly so at points, lol. I actually texted my friend Dawn mid-read and was like--go get this book right now. 

But besides that, why did I love it? Well, this story is funny and sexy with a great voice (and I'm a junkie for a good voice.) Plus, after picking up a few books lately that I couldn't get into and worrying that it was me or my mood, this one instantly hooked me. Now, fair warning, some of the references are outdated since I think this was released in the mid-2000s. (Hero wears button fly jeans which made me snicker. And there are lots of references to high end brands, which makes me think of Sex in the City chick lit.) But it wasn't a distracting amount of dated stuff. Also, this has a suspense element to it, but it's very solidly contemporary romance. The focus is on the couple and their developing relationship.

I'm not going to go into a detailed plot synopsis because you can get the gist in the back cover summary, but the reason I'm recommending it is because it's hard to find books that pull off humor well, while still being romantic and sexy. This one does. I laughed aloud multiple times and still got the payoff of a great, sexy romance. If you're looking for a lot of angst and emotional backstory, this is not the one for you. But sometimes it's nice to read something light-hearted and fun with characters who could be your friends.

Now I'm going to have to track down the remaining books in the series and add MORE to my TBR pile. It's an endless cycle, people.

Grab this one for only $3.99 right now.  And have a great weekend!

MY BIG NEWS: The ONES WHO GOT AWAY Series has sold to Sourcebooks!

If you've been hanging around here lately, you know I've been hinting for a while that I had some big news to share. Well, I finally can talk about it! Yay!

I've sold a three-book contemporary romance series to Sourcebooks!!! 

Here's the official announcement:

From Publishers Weekly:

New York Times bestselling and RITA award-winning, Roni Loren’s THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY, a contemporary romance series following the survivors of a school shooting twelve years later, damaged souls who discover they are worthy of receiving and giving love, to Cat Clyne at Sourcebooks, in a three-book deal, for publication in 2017, by Sara Megibow of KT Literary Agency.

I'm so, so excited to be working on this new project and am thrilled to partner with Sourcebooks to do it. Tackling school violence as part of a romance is a little out there, I know. But when this idea came to me, it was one that wouldn't leave me alone. I really wanted to explore the idea of how people heal and find their HEA after not just tragedy but after being part of something that defined their existence both privately and publicly, when you're labeled as a "survivor" or in this case, The Ones Who Got Away.

But be assured, this will still be what you've (hopefully) come to expect from my books--emotional romance, sexy/steamy times, and humor to balance out the heavy stuff. Though, note that these will be contemporary romance not erotic romance. 

I don't have a set release date yet, but the tentative plan right now is for the first to release in the Fall of 2017. The books will be available in both ebook and mass market paperback. I can't wait to start this new journey! :)

Also, this does not mean that I'm shutting down my other series or erotic romance. I'll blog more on the details of that tomorrow. But for now *throws confetti*

 

Checking Off the Bucket List: Guns 'n' Roses Live

Hey, y'all! I know it's been a few weeks since I've popped in. When I disappear it's usually for the same reason--I'm writing my butt off. That's been the case since I've gotten back from RWA. My super secret project is underway, and I'm hoping I can share the news of it with all of you next week! :)

But today I wanted to share a little from my bucket list night last night. Yesterday was mine and hub's 15-year wedding anniversary. Here we are all those years ago with my super fabulous arm dancing.

So the day was awesome already, but what we did to celebrate was even better. We saw Guns 'n' Roses, the band that we never thought we'd get to see (with original band members) in our lifetime. In fact, the tour is called Not In This Lifetime, lol, so we weren't the only ones thinking that.

GNR is hubs' favorite band and very high on my list as well. If you know us at all, we're concert people. We have a wall of albums in our living room marking some our favorite bands we've seen in concerts. 

But this was that band. The one we always went back to with, "Man, I wish they could get it together and tour." So it was one of those life moments to be standing in a stadium with sixty thousand people and hearing Axl Rose belt you, "Do you know where the f**k you are? You're in the jungle, baby!" (Video below, but warning, it has the f-bomb.) 

Cue full body goosebumps and the adrenaline rush to end all adrenaline rushes. It's all that childhood memory stuff wrapped in with loud music and residual teenage angst/rebellion and knowing that you'll probably never see this again. I highly recommend it. :)

Also, Duff and Slash are still hot. Just sayin'.

 

And super talented. Here's the opening to Sweet Child O' Mine.

So if anyone asks why I write books about rockstars, like Wanderlust and Call on Me, it's because it's me. This is what I love. So if I can't BE a rockstar, then I damn well am going to write about them, lol.

Do you have any bucket list singers/bands you want to see? What's the best concert you've ever been to?

What I'm Reading: The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women by Dr. Valerie Young

RWA always has fantastic speakers at the national conference, and I always leave inspired. This year was no exception. This past week I was lucky to hear authors Beverly Jenkins and Sherry Thomas give keynotes. Both women were amazing. But I had to miss the third keynote given by Dr. Valerie Young on "Imposter Syndrome" because I had another meeting. I'm usually a little skeptical about motivational speakers, so I didn't think much of missing it. Then, I started hearing from everyone how awesome and helpful it was. Cue me being sad I missed it.

However, lucky for me, Dr. Young has a book about Imposter Syndrome and the things she talked about. So though I'm sad that I didn't get to hear her speak, I was excited to order the book. I'm only halfway through, but already it's been worth the price. The basic premise is that a lot of successful women (and some men) suffer from "Imposter Syndrome" or always feeling like you're successful because you "got lucky" or were in the "right place at the right time" or that you "fooled everyone." In other words, for some reason, we feel like we're  frauds. That people are going to find us out. That we're not really that (insert adjective) as good/smart/capable etc. as people think we are. That resonated with me and I know it resonated with a lot of others. Writers tend to be a little neurotic anyway, lol, but I think this is more universal than that. We try to explain away success instead of owning it. This book is about fixing that kind of thinking. 

So even though I'm not done yet, I wanted to pass along the recommendation. If you think you might fall into this kind of thinking, it's worth a read: The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Imposter Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It.

About the book:

It’s only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don’t deserve this. It’s just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake. 
 
If you are a working woman, chances are this inter­nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you’re not alone. From the high-achieving Ph.D. candidate convinced she’s only been admitted to the program because of a clerical error to the senior executive who worries others will find out she’s in way over her head, a shocking number of accomplished women in all ca­reer paths and at every level feel as though they are faking it—impostors in their own lives and careers. 
 
While the impostor syndrome is not unique to women, women are more apt to agonize over tiny mistakes, see even constructive criticism as evi­dence of their shortcomings, and chalk up their accomplishments to luck rather than skill. They often unconsciously overcompensate with crippling perfec­tionism, overpreparation, maintaining a lower pro­file, withholding their talents and opinions, or never finishing important projects. When they do succeed, they think, Phew, I fooled ’em again. 
 
An internationally known speaker, Valerie Young has devoted her career to understanding women’s most deeply held beliefs about themselves and their success. In her decades of in-the-trenches research, she has uncovered the often surprising reasons why so many accomplished women experience this crushing self-doubt. 
 
In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Young gives these women the solution they have been seek­ing. Combining insightful analysis with effective ad­vice and anecdotes, she explains what the impostor syndrome is, why fraud fears are more common in women, and how you can recognize the way it mani­fests in your life. With her empowering, step-by-step plan, you will learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel—and act—as bright and capable as others already know you are.

Has anyone else read this or did you see Dr. Young speak? Anyone think "YES THAT'S ME!" when reading the book description?

Holy S#!t! I Won a RITA!!!!! (oh, and I have a book out tomorrow)

*insert all the curse words* I did it y'all!

This past week was the Romance Writers of America conference, and the big event that wraps up the conference is our version of of the Oscars--The RITAs. I was nominated for two this year, which was a huge honor in and of itself. But then this happened...

Okay, so I thought *maybe* I had a chance at the erotic category (where BREAK ME DOWN was nominated) because it only had five nominees and the odds were better. But the Best Novella category was first of the evening and had like ten nominees from all different genres. I was not prepared to say the least. The first words out my mouth as I heard the word "Nice" and my table erupted in screams were, "Oh SHIT!" Lol. Always so eloquent, right? Then I was shaking all over and in some weird out of body state as I walked up to the stage.

I had a speech prepared. I couldn't read it. I choked up on stage and announced that I was going to cry. I forgot to thank everybody I meant to except my husband, mom, editor, and agent. But despite me completely having a breakdown in front of a giant ballroom of people and the live stream on internet, it was the BEST THING EVER. I can't even tell you how amazing it is to bring one of these home. I don't do this for awards, but man, they sure are nice. :)

And so since I forgot to thank you, my readers, I'm saying it now. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For reading my books, for your enthusiasm, and for all the kind words you send me. I couldn't do this job if it weren't for you. So I share the lovely RITA with you. ;)

*hugs* (Oh, and if you want to watch the RITAs and see my complete freak out, I think they're going to upload it to YouTube at some point and will share the link.)

In other news, WANDERLUST will be out tomorrow! And it's only $3.99. So if you haven't already, go grab you a sexy rockstar. ;)

About the book:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Loving on the Edge series and Off the Clock, a story of sex, love, rock & roll, and a reporter who’s about to learn a new meaning for staying on top of her assignment... 

Restaurant critic Aubrey Bordelon is never at a loss for words to describe her meals in the fancy restaurants of New Orleans. But after her magazine’s high-profile music reporter falls ill, she finds herself out of her element and in a sea of screaming fans awaiting Wanderlust’s lead singer, Lex Logan. The sound of his voice gives her goosebumps, and the stage presence of the hard-bodied rock star takes her breath away. So when he pulls her onstage for a sexy stunt, she knows she’s in real trouble.

Lex doesn’t want to pretend that the sparks on stage between him and Aubrey never happened, but it certainly makes the fact that she’s writing a story on his band all the more dangerous. The last thing he needs is some nosy reporter revealing their problems to the world. But the sexy Southern belle doesn’t give up easily, and soon he’s wondering if the best way to chase her off the story is to coax her into his bed… 

PRE-ORDER THE BOOKAmazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play 

That's all I've got for you today! Hope you have a great week!

Recommended Reading: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

You ever have a book that you buy because someone recommended it, but then you forget about it and it sits on your shelf or on your e-reader forever? I have so many of those, so sometimes it takes not just one or two mentions of a book, but repeated, beat-me-over-the-head mentions to get me to pick it up.

That's the case for The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. Amazon shows that I bought this book on a sale in October of 2013, but I never read it. Then I saw people mentioning last week that it was on sale again and Dear Author raved about it, so I dug it out the pile on my Kindle. And I'm so glad I did.

I know why I bought it in the first place--besides the recs. The hero has Asperger Syndrome (though it isn't defined as such within the story because, in those times, they would've just thought the person was mad.) My son is on the spectrum and leans closest to Asperger's. So I'm always curious to read stories when that's portrayed. Also, sometimes I'm scared to read them because if it isn't portrayed accurately or respectfully, I get annoyed. I'm happy to say that Jennifer Ashley did a splendid job with Lord Ian's portrayal as a high-functioning Aspie. He was smart and endearing and sometimes frustrating, but still a sexy, swoon-worthy hero. I also liked that she showed his frustration with himself because he can't help doing some things a certain way. 

The story itself involves a bit of a mystery, but what I loved most was the couple. The heroine was a great fit for Ian--strong-willed and not letting him get away with anything. I also liked that she wasn't the typical historical heroine. She was an older heroine who has lived some life (she's a widow) and wasn't raised with wealth. That gave a different flavor to the story.

And boy was the story steamy--more so than I'm used to reading in historicals, so that was a fun surprise. :) Overall, I'm glad that I finally pulled this one off my virtual shelf and read it. And lucky for you, it's still on sale for $1.99 if you want to grab it! Just don't wait three years to read it like I did, lol.

What have you read lately that you're recommending to everyone?