I'm so excited to announce that ROGUE DESIRE is here! These are eight new and exclusive stories from bestselling and award-winning contemporary romance authors. It includes my novella, Grassroots, which is the spicy/sweet story of a reclusive hacktivist and the preschool teacher who gives him a lesson of his own.
Here's the quick blurb:
When all else fails, find love.
Eight brand new romances for fans of the West Wing, fired-up #resistance fighters, and everyone who ever had a crush on that guy at a protest...
★ B & N
★ Google Play
Michelle from Goodreads says this about Grassroots:
"I absolutely loved this story. Original, witty, sweet and just enough hot. I don't remember the last time a story made me want to immediately one click everything from an author. Definitely a new fan."
To celebrate the release of IN HIS HANDS, both UNDER HER SKIN and BY HER TOUCH are on mega sale! Snap them up for 99 cents each and catch up with what's happening in Blackwood!
Here's where you can pick them up!
UNDER HER SKIN
BY HER TOUCH
I was so excited to see In His Hands get a STARRED review from PW! Here's my favorite bit:
"Anders excels at creating sympathetic characters who will win the reader’s heart. A nail-biting incursion into the cult to rescue children concludes this sterling tale of two lost souls finding true love."
Click on the picture to check out what they had to say!
Hey! I'm over on the Casablanca Authors blog writing about how great you are for reading romance! Click the image to check it out!
There's a ton going on for V-day in the world of Romance and I'm super-stoked to be a small part of all the fuss! First, on February 8th, check out my post at www.booksmarttarts.com as part of the huge amazing author extravaganza (plus giveaways) that is #ValentinesRewind. Seriously, guys, tons of amazing authors are sharing never-before-read stuff, with gifts and prizes galore! AND, this is the very first snippet I've ever put out there from Book 1 of Blank Canvas... GULP.
And then, I'm sitting on a fabulous panel of local writers at the Ashburn Public Library in Northern Virginia for a screening of the Romance Documentary 'Love Between the Covers'! Want to watch the movie? Want to watch me stutter? Now's your chance on Saturday, February 13th at 2:00 for the movie. The panel starts at 3:30. Oh, and there'll be a gift basket (with books!) for one lucky winner! It's part of the #LBTCScreenathon!
Just home from a friend’s house, a little tipsy, Le Husband driving and the kids in the back. They’re two and four and it’s summer—the end of the summer, which feels even more nostalgic than usual. We’re home and we brush teeth and I’m happy that the little ones fall asleep right away and I’m thinking, a lot, about the memories we helped them make tonight.
A part of it—a big part—is who we spent the time with. A wonderful, close friend and then someone I recently reconnected with: O, I’ll call her. She’s this awesome, strong, tattooed, sweet woman, with a husband who’s all wry humor and carefully-bestowed eye-contact. We ran into them at our CSA a couple years ago, our kids are in preschool together and, it turns out, we played soccer on the same team when we were youngsters—miles away and decades ago. And now, our children are pals, at the same school.
There was a sort of ecstasy in the kids’ playtime tonight. A starry-skyed, firelit, costume-clad joy, fueled by late bedtimes and ghost stories in an unfamiliar backyard. There were lightning bugs and mosquitoes and a swingset and parents happy just to watch and stand around barely talking—not needing to talk—while the kids entertained themselves. I remember those parents, when I was a kid—unhurried, unworried.
My folks really were just there for the ride, whereas I? Oh, man, today, I’m worried about making memories for my babies.
Why? I keep asking myself. Why were my parents so laissez-faire and yet I’m convinced I’m bound for failure?
It's so different today, I think. That must be it.
I remember using a computer for the first time. Logo, they called the program back then. It is the least important of my memories. I remember when MTV aired ‘Video Killed the Radio Star,’ and you know what? That made no difference in my life. What did make a difference, at the time? Fireflies in jars, holes punched in the lids. Running free with neighbors, kids I barely knew whose faces take up more bandwidth in my memory than entire presidential terms. Trailing sparks and hot dogs and the oddly pleasant smell of DEET. None of my fondest recollections involve smartphones or apps or movies geared towards kids. The books we read were on paper that was rippable, the stories never-ending, imagination the magic ingredient.
What strikes me the hardest is how badly I want my kids to have what I had. I see parents all around me, doling out screen time like popcorn and all I want is for things to stay special—as special as they were for me. Not the magic of technology, but the magic of real life, which feels rare today—precious.
So, for now, and as long as I can make it last, here is what I vow to my kids (no matter how much they may hate me for it in the short term):
I’ll keep you from the screen, though it’s so damned hard. I’ll point you to the page and to real-world adventures. I’ll give you memories as strong and as real and as lasting as mine. And, all the while, I’ll pretend I don’t notice when you’re having a blast—I’ll be nonchalant and laissez-faire and lazy. It won't be easy, but I’ll stand by and watch and pretend I’m not there while you’re making your life’s best memories.
While I was pregnant with my second child (my daughter), I became obsessed with sex. It wasn’t a new obsession, but the hormones re-ignited my interest, opening me back up to something I had completely left behind: dirty books. About a decade before, I’d had a rocky, guilt-ridden relationship with the works of writers like Bertrice Small, Susan Johnson and Thea Devine. Luckily, my reacquaintance with the world of word smut came at a very fortuitous moment. It came just after some pretty amazing authors had turned the genre around, modernizing it and making it relatable on so many levels. Even more importantly, for me, who’d been writing for marketing and video games, these authors inspired me, finally pointing out a direction in which I could venture… if only I dared.
There were other factors involved, like a job I couldn’t picture myself doing forever, my maternity leave looming like a last chance saloon: three months to write my book. Three months or bust. Throughout those months of gestation mayhem, I read. And read, and read. I soaked it up, returned to my old love of romantic fiction, re-reading old classics and discovering new favorites; becoming obsessed with some pretty incredible authors and horrified by shit that I just couldn’t finish. Sometimes the shit gave me hope, because if they could do it, why the hell couldn’t I?
And I had a natural deadline: three months after the birth of my child, I had to go back to work. The only issue was that I’d never written that much in my life, was convinced that I couldn’t. Grad School? I’d love to, but no way, I’d have to write a thesis for that! I’d have to finish it. But that deadline, those three months… they just sat there, waiting for me, letting me know that this might very well be my last chance. Ever.
And then it arrived. Or rather, she did: a busy, brassy, beautiful little girl. And I wrote, with her attached to my breast or strapped to my chest. Honestly, it was crap, but I wrote it and I finished it: a filthy-ish novella, set in a small town in Virginia. I never really revised it, but I finished it. It had an end, dammit. Not a good one, but an end.
And I, in the meantime, had begun the long process of learning how to write.
I say begun because I’m only partway through it now and I suspect that I’ll be finished learning when I die. But I got it. I truly understood the drive and dedication that it takes to make that book happen. Plotting? Sure, I can power through. Character? Yeah, I’m getting there. But the best thing I learned was that writing is truly amazing. Once you get your groove, it’s the most magical thing in the world. Here I’d gone and tried being an actress, when all along the voices in my head weren’t interpreting things! No, they were telling me to write the shit down!
So I wrote for real and, with the help of my poor, clueless, wonderful best girlfriends in the world, I made it to the end of a novel. Oh, you girls deserve so, so many vodkas for the hours you listened to me plot and fret and doubt myself. But, with your help, I did it: I made one. A real, honest, whole book. And, with the help of those same amazing friends, I worked on it until it became something close to what it is today. After that, the isolation of working nights and weekends by myself got to be too much and I sought out other lonely writers, who’ve also become friends and today, life is so full and writing has become such a lifesaver and I can’t, for one single moment, take credit for everything that has happened.
Today, my daughter earned a fake tattoo by taking her first poop in the potty and I'm still woozy from signing a book contract, hard at work on my third full-length novel. So, you amazing writers who write your own thing, who forge your own paths (filthy or not), know that you forge it for all of us. And please never stop. Friends, who listen, who critique fearlessly or roll your eyes and can’t even read the smexy bits, know that you help us get through. And you daughters, you tiny ticking time bombs, whose births gave us our last chance at personal fulfillment, well… how can we ever thank you for spurring us on?
There’s only one way I can think of. And that’s to write.
Ok, there. It’s out! Now, for the details: my (fabulous) agent, Laura Bradford, sold my book (Blank Canvas is the working title) to Mary Altman at Sourcebooks in a three-book deal!
Those of you who know me can confirm how very hard it’s been for me to keep this in for so long! I have not the words. Thankfully, I have just the GIF!
More to come when I can write a full sentence again.
I’m writing a lot right now, which is pretty amazing. Actually, the current situation is a bit of a dream come true—daily writing, watching a manuscript expand and expand. But, while the word count increases, I’m just not feeling my story and the characters, they’re… meh. At best.
Thankfully, since the last time around, I’ve developed something of a network of expert writers who, I’m pretty sure, just saved me from a lot of pain. And by pain, I mean many wasted days and angsty tears. Writing, when it goes smoothly and the characters speak to you and the plot works like well-oiled gears, well, that writing is heaven. To me, it’s like a really, really good conversation with a best friend, where you’ve already interrupted each other for three hours and you never ever want to go home. That conversation. But when it doesn’t work, writing really messes with your emotions. It makes you think that maybe you didn’t actually just finish two other books. It makes you feel like you might as well give up because you just don’t have it in you and these stupid characters deserve about a half sentence in a How Not to Write manual. You get the picture.
This weekend, thankfully, when presented with my character/plot dilemmas, a rather excellent group of women helped talk me off the ledge of writing despair and into a better plot. I came out of that conversation jazzed and ready to go. The final piece of advice I received was to try starting with the juicy scenes--the ones I couldn't stop thinking about--and expand from there.
So, this morning, I sat down and started to write. Only, when things got really, really good--when my heart got all tight with excitement and the ideas started streaming in--I stopped. I set it aside and thought, ‘Great, now I can tackle the harder stuff.’ But there’s an issue with that and it’s something I forget about myself: I save my favorite for later. Always. Over the years, I’ve adjusted, forced myself to wear a favorite sweater or dress, rather than pushing it to the back of the closet. The same with books: I save that one I’ve been wanting to read forever, until… well, later. Which I realize is pointless.
It’s weird. I’m weird. But at least I know it, right?
And I even think I know where it comes from. By nature, I'm not a delayed gratification type of person. If they'd given me that marshmallow test as a child, it's pretty clear that I'd have swallowed that thing down in seconds. From the age of five until I was about ten, I had a best friend who knew how to wait. In fact, she made something of an art of it. While the rest of us gobbled our treats down, she collected them. By the end of the day, when the rest of us were just starving for a new round of treats, that bitch always had a marshmallow or ten. Eventually, I learned my lesson. After too many years of disappointment and end-of-day envy, I began to copy her, finally training myself in the art of delayed gratification.
But I'm older now. And I'll eat marshmallows for breakfast, if I want to. Besides, this is about more than a stupid marshmallow.
So, this morning’s new task is easy, because there’s no word count goal and I’m not looking to get any major plot work done. All I’ll do today is draft a fabulous love scene. That’s it.
I wonder if this auto-withholding is a kind of self-sabotage. Am I the only one who puts off the good parts or are there other writers out there torturing themselves for no earthly reason? And, if you've done this, but fixed it, how did you go about that? I'm dying to know.