Saturday, February 16, 2013

Being an angry crier sucked

More from Maliciously Obedient...
Hot tears threatened to flood her eyes. Being an angry crier sucked.

No matter how hard she had tried over the years to find a way to reign it in, to not cry when she was angry, or pissed or overwhelmed, Lydia still turned on the waterworks. Involuntarily, the prickly sensation of indignation, of fury, preceding the tears in her eyes, the swelling of her throat, that salty taste that she knew meant she would be incapable of logical thought or speech until she could reign in whatever chemicals coursed through her bloodstream to make her turn into the stereotype of the crying little woman. She despised it. She absolutely despised it.
And there was nothing she could do. She had tried hypnosis. She had tried therapy. She had tried cognitive behavioral techniques. It just was part of her emotional landscape, some sort of coping mechanism built into her psychological DNA.
The complication it caused for her, though, was that she wasn’t taken seriously in a corporate setting. She knew, from her graduate studies, that this was incredibly common. She knew that she wasn’t anything special, that her situation wasn’t unique, but the politics of gender in a corporate setting meant that crying was viewed as a weakness, that she was viewed as weak, as less serious, as someone who would end up on the ‘mommy track’.
And as much as she fought that hegemony, the reality was that here she was, sitting in the closet, pretending to get supplies and trying to get the tears out before anyone saw her. It wasn’t the fact that her idea had been dismissed so out of hand, before she could really delve down into the details, could really peel back the deep layers that explained why the kernel underneath this large project was so critical for Bournham Industries. She could accept that. She could (as much as she hated the phrase) man up and deal with that kind of rejection.
It was that she hadn’t even gotten started and going to Matt with her idea was a test of sorts because she knew that presenting to Dave was going to be the ultimate battle in trying to prove that she was a serious contender for -- a job that Matt now had.
Argh! She slammed her fist against the wall, shaking one of the shelves filled with paper clips. Everything fell apart in one decision, in one morning. Ten seconds before Matt Jones tapped on the window of her car and caught her reading mommy porn she was in line for a promotion, or at least a shot at it, a chance to prove that moving away from home had been the right choice, that she could make her way in the big city. That she was strong, and vibrant, and intelligent, and grounded.
And that gender had nothing to do with success.
Here she sat, crying, in the supply closet. Her idea was good, dammit! The youth market was already oversaturated with advertising, with marketing approaches, and she had put together a network of about fifty different romance novel sites. From bloggers like Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author to The Romance Man, a really offbeat,  unique blog written by a guy with a sense of humor and a penchant for getting to the heart of a story, no matter how ridiculous, to eBook retailers like All Romance eBooks or Book Strand.
Carefully cultivating allies in this approach, talking to bloggers, talking to eBook sales site owners and getting a sense of what drives women in the 26 to 44 market to buy erotic romance wasn't a frivolous pursuit. It wasn’t just about Fifty Shades. Fifty Shades was a trigger but it wasn’t everything.

Untapped potential in that market, driving products to them, speaking to them on their levelwithout condescension or oversexualization, just treating those women like they were the intelligent, well read, analytical, and fun loving women that they were. seemed so obvious.
It didn’t hurt that their demographic had money. Money that could fuel profits for potential clients in her division in Bournham Industries. That was going to be the problem. Dave would view this as some sort of threat to his job and he was going to shoot it down in about three seconds.
Matt, being brand new, was going to shoot it down in two seconds. The threat to his job was not as strong because how often are you threatened in the first week of employment? And Matt didn’t seem to be the type to be threatened by anyone. He had somehow walked in the door and just acted like he owned the place and she was mystified by it, intrigued. Jealous.
She slammed her fist against the wall again and this time a box of binder clips fell off a top shelf and hit her on the head. Why did Matt have to muddy the waters? Her tears were gone, thankfully replaced by an internal sense of repulsion. Not at Matt, not at Dave, but at herself -- that someone who called herself a radical feminist would be falling apart, crying in the closet at work and attracted to her new boss. There was a phrase for that, too. Gender traitor.
No, an even better word.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kindle Spice!

Her First Billionaire is featured on Kindle Spice right now. If you haven't checked out their site, do it now -- steamy bargains for erotic romance readers. Highlighting free reads, $.99 sales, and more.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Top 100 Erotica author at Amazon! Thank you, readers!

Amazon recently added a new system called Author Rank, which takes specific authors in specific categories and figures out who the top authors are, based on a combination of sales volume and number of books.

I'm #81 now among all writers in the Erotica category -- and it's all because of awesome readers! THANK YOU!

This motivates me to write more, so FOKBIC! (Fingers On Keyboard, Butt In Chair)

Friday, February 8, 2013

The first excerpt of the new book!

Getting caught reading Fifty Shades of Grey  in the parking lot at work wasn't the best way to meet her boss. A boss she didn't know she had. A boss who now had the job she had been waiting to apply for (and win) for the past year.

So Lydia Charles was having a very bad day. And it was only 7:32 a.m.

Tap tap tap. She looked up, startled, to find a pair of bright green eyes, shaded by his hand, peering in her the window of her little red Honda Fit. He caught the book cover and smirked. Oh, screw off, she thought, shoving her car key in the ignition and turning it on so she could roll down the window. As if it weren't bad enough being caught reading Mommy Porn (and she wasn't even a mom), her last fifteen minutes of freedom before enslavement as a corporate drone were being bothered by some anonymous guy.

Dark brown hair with a nice wave to it and those crazy-green eyes. Roman nose. Broad shoulders set off by one hand on his forehead, one on his hip, making his forearms pop a bit, the muscles from neck to shoulder joint stretching like an athlete's. It was like looking at one of those guys on television, an actor in a television show who you watch not for the plot, but for the eye candy with a spark of smarts and wit. If he told her he was a firefighter or a detective, she'd believe him. He had the look of a man who takes care of himself because he has to in order to function well at his hands-on job.

He works out, she surmised as the window scrolled down. Boring business casual uniform of Dockers and a button down shirt. Couldn't see his shoes but she guessed something from Lands' End.

Middle management.

Which was one step above her. Gritting her teeth, she wondered what this was about.

“Hi. Could you please move your car?” A deep baritone voice was way too much authority gripped her gut, an internal reaction out of proportion to his request. That voice. He sounded like a ship's captain, or a commander in combat. Or the shift leader at Denny's from college, the asshole who thought that he was competing in the restaurant Olympics for every shift and expected the moon for $2.31 plus tips.

And yet she couldn't help but begin to react, the breathless “Yes” nearly popping out involuntarily. Holding back, she wasn't even breathing for fear she would comply like some sort of skittish puppy, acting in deference to the incredibly unfounded request. Command, Demand? Who orders someone out of their parking spot? He smiled, the tight look of a man evaluating what to say next as seconds ticked by and she did nothing but stare at him.

Say something, Lydia. Say something. Anything. Don't let him undermine your confidence. Why does he need your parking spot?

“Why?” she asked, carefully cultivating a neutral tone, one of reasonableness without too much inquiry, as if she didn't give a fuck what he wanted but would be polite about it. She invoked a midwestern tone, casually acquired from watching plenty of national shows, the voice of newscasters and documentary voice overs for sexual harassment and government contract reporting requirements videos. Perfect.

“Because it's mine.” He threw a thumb toward the top of the skyscraper. “Head office assigned it to me.”

Not the reaction she expected. She could guess his next move, predictable among these middle-management types, like a real-life version of Gary Cole's character in Office Space. Next, he would lean on the car and do that douchey “Yeah, well, I really need you to...” spiel. 

Lydia was having none of it. She might be just an administrative assistant, the corporate equivalent of a dishwasher or a toll taker, but two years of this was enough. A master's degree in Gender Studies might be useless in the workplace, but here in the parking lot it meant everything. Backing down wasn't happening. He had no right to order her around and, by God, she wasn't going to let some stranger waltz into the parking lot before she'd seen had her morning coffee and kick her out of her damn place.

“Why would the head office give you my parking spot? They're numbered.” She pointed to the sign defiantly. His face remained neutral. 

Instead of leaning on the car, he reached one golden arm in and aimed for her right hand. Of course he was perfectly, evenly tanned. Of course. “I'm Matt Jones. The new Director of Social Media. And this is my numbered spot.”

Director of Social Media? “But, but, what? There is no Director of Social Media job here. Not yet, at least. They're announcing it soon, and – ”

He cut her off with that same commanding tone. “It's been filled. By me. And parking,” he shook his head and looked around with an expression of exasperation, “is a ridiculous problem here, so while I respect your need to stay and, uh, read, I need this spot.” Leaning forward, his eyes twinkled as he smiled, trying to charm her, his voice shifting from commanding to smooth.

It was working. The scent of his aftershave filled the car's interior. Musk and man and something with spice, an expensive scent that was far too sophisticated for a guy who was one parking spot ahead of her in the food chain at Stohlman Industries. He held her gaze for too long, letting silence hang between them.

He was what her friend Krista called a “playah.”

And oh, how Lydia wanted to be played. She hated herself for it, but right now Mr. Director of Social Media, a guy who had, apparently, just gotten the job she had spent the better part of two years trying to prepare for, was stealing her parking spot, too.

All he needed to do next was piss on her skirt and he could achieve the trifecta of humiliation.

And a part of her liked it.

“You are telling me that HR gave you the Director's job and handed off my parking spot?” she squeaked. The voice that came out of her sounded foreign. Tame. Rattled. She brushed a stray lock of her dark brown hair and wished she'd spent more time on her appearance this morning. After a quick yoga session she just showered, threw her hair in a quick up-do, brushed on blush and a little mascara and tossed on her version of administrative business casual: a loose, flowing J. Jill outfit she got off the clearance rack and her ancient Danskins. She looked like a preschool teacher at a posh tot place instead of an ambitious, up-and-coming corporate do-bee vying for the Director of – 

Ah, hell.

He pulled back and smiled, a look of triumph and mischief on his face. “Now you get it. And I didn't even have to buy you a coffee.”

“Why would you do that?”

“Because you seemed to be a bit slow there, and I figured it might be caffeine deprivation. It is 7:30 a.m., after all.” Half his mouth turned up in a grin as his brow furrowed. “Then again, maybe I interrupted you at the wrong time during your reading.” Biting his upper lip, Mr. Asshole Matt Jones had the balls to hide a laugh. As if she were supposed to be embarrassed reading Fifty Shades. As if she cared what he thought. As if she were Anastasia Steele. As if – 

“Let me clear a few things up for you, Matt,” she announced. Finally. There she was. The real Lydia, the one who didn't take shit like this. Attagirl. “First of all, I don't care what HR did with the parking situation. I won't take your word for it, because for all I know you're some creepy guy pulling a scam on me and if I get out of my car you'll take me to your dug out hole and lower lotion to me in a bucket, and three months from now you'll mail dehydrated parts of my body to my mother.”

She took a deep breath and continued. “Second, if you really are the Director of Social Media, kicking your direct report out of her parking spot when you haven't even started your first day of work shows such extraordinarily terrible business instinct that I suspect you won't be around long enough to qualify for the matching 401k funding through your precious head office.”

Eyebrows arched, now he did lean away. And cross his arms. Staring her down? She stared right back, working too hard to control her breath, trying not to let him see how rattled she was. He looked like a young Anderson Cooper. But straight.

Oh please let him be straight, she thought, then mentally slapped herself. Where did that come from?

He leaned in the window and reached for a strand of her hair. “Sorry, babe. Chianti and fava beans aren't on the menu. And if I were going to turn you into something edible, I wouldn't choose a dehydrator as my electronic item of choice.” His eyes surveyed her body, not with wanton lust or the gaudy need of a complete jerk, but with a practiced eye, taking his time as if he were the king of the world. As if he owned her.
As if he owned his time. And boy did he take it, seeming to document her full breasts, her nipped waist, the soft swells over the waistband of the tight skirt that stretched across her knees in her seat, shoes kicked off and hose covering her pedicured toes. 

She could feel him note the seam of her panties, like a collector of fine wines, or of horses, as if she were a specimen. The V between her breasts pinkened, her lungs filled with the scent of his skin, as if eager to inhaled his dust, the lines between his eyes, the light freckles on his cheeks, the intelligence in his irises.

He was cataloging her. Taking inventory.

Until her own, defiant gaze caught his and she realized he wasn't objectifying her. She was letting herself think that, but what this guy, this Matt Jones, this interloper and usurper of jobs, was really doing was appreciating her.

And that was way, way more threatening than being demeaned.

“See you at the office and don't forget to wash your hands when you're done with that.” He let go of her lock and pointed at the book. Turning on one heel, he sauntered off, his tight ass evoking rage and a swoon in her that nearly made her growl with impotent rage and lust.

The day was not going well at all as she stewed in her Red Car of Pain.

Her Two Billionaires and a Baby keeps climbing the HNR list!

It just keeps climbing! Her Two Billionaires and a Baby is now at #39 on the Hot New Releases list on Amazon for erotica -- so please share the news and help other readers discover this series!

Back to writing and shoveling -- I'm in the blizzard's path!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bestselling at All Romance eBooks!

LOOK AT WHAT YOU ALL DID at All Romance eBooks!!!!

My readers really, truly are awesome -- I mean it! Thank you for making the series a best seller in the Rubenesque category. AMAZING.

Maliciously Obedient -- a new novel coming in March!

FYI: I'm signed up as part of a 16-author event called Insatiable Reads. You'll see me Tweeting and Facebooking and turning nouns into verbs (verbing?) for the next few months. I'm working on my newest novel, coming in March, called Maliciously Obedient.

Getting caught reading Fifty Shades of Grey in the parking lot at work wasn't the best way for 25-year-old Lydia Charles to meet her boss. A boss she didn't know she had. Matt Jones now had the job she had been waiting to apply for (and win) for the past year, and to add insult to injury, Matt is undeniably hot. When he also acts like he owns the place, she decides that malicious obedience – following his every command to the letter – will prove how much the department needs her creativity after he insists he knows best.

What Lydia doesn't know is that “Matt” is really Michael Bournham, the CEO of the company, part of an undercover reality television stunt. Keeping his hands off Lydia's luscious curves was becoming an exercise in restraint, but what was harder? Keeping his heart from her. For Michael, Lydia's malicious obedience ignited a night of passion in the office that made him forget everything – including the rolling cameras – until it was too late. When unscrupulous producers make their lovemaking viral, Michael pulls out all the stops and calls in every favor as Lydia...maliciously obeys.
But I haven't forgotten the world I just finished writing! I'm already working on a series spinoff featuring Josie, with Laura/Mike/Dylan (and baby!) making some cameos, including (yes!) the birth scene.

What was that thump? One of my fingers fell off from typing too much? Off to get speech recognition software...