AuThursday – Cee Perkins

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Ok, well, I’m Cee. I have a husband, three adorable kids, three giant dogs, and I write anti-heroine romances. I have a four-book series planned, the first is out now, titled “Corrupt Love: Love Is Dangerous book 1.” I started writing in high school, but like most teenagers, I needed to learn the hard way to follow what I’m good at. 

How do you make time to write? 

Making the kids nap. Haha. Mostly, I have my mom to thank for that- she moved in with us recently, and she’s been handling the kids so I can work. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Oh, yes. Corrupt Love was an idea that began way back in 2016, but when I got to Chapter 7, I ran out of steam on it and couldn’t get the story out, no matter what I did. Fortunately, I was able to fall back on an old friend and she finally was able to push me through it. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

Ah, romance. Who doesn’t love LOVE, really? I’ve always loved the opposites attract trope, and people who make a life together despite differences of opinion and ethics. I love when a happy ending is hard-won and the whole “smooth sailing after the Big Fight” kind of gets on my nerves, so I write (what I hope is) as close to real-life relationships as I can. People aren’t perfect, even after working through a big blow-up with their significant others, and books who portray relationships that way set a standard that I think is too much for most people wanting love. Sure, we all want the perfect wife/ girlfriend or husband/boyfriend, but the reality is, it just doesn’t exist. I don’t like books that make it look common. 

I guess it’s sort of in the same vein of model-perfection. Even Jennifer Lawrence has something about her body she doesn’t like, but society makes it so that she has to pretend it doesn’t exist. It makes it so that people who are overweight or battling acne or something like that feel like they’re not “good enough”. I can’t stand that.

Disclaimer- I love Jennifer Lawrence. I don’t think she needs to change anything, I was just using her as an example. 

Anyway, all of that to say that I love writing romance because I love love, but I write the way I do because I want to contribute to the growing idea that “perfect” doesn’t exist. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Indie because I’m too impatient and scared of rejection to go traditional haha. 

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work? 

Um… I’d say I’m an introvert with some extrovert qualities. I think it affects me in that I can stay at home, away from lots of people for periods of time, and write characters who are outgoing. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“I chose to have these children.”

Wait, that’s my meditation mantra. My favorite motivational phrase is probably

“Just keep swimming.”

No matter what happens, just keep going. The bad will pass. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Remember that at the core of being a published author is writing. You are a writer first, then a marketer, decision-maker, self-editor, etc. You’re not expected to know everything immediately, but when you’re lost as to what to do, ask questions. Find groups that have experience and listen to them. They’ve been where you are and will help you cut through a lot of the bs of publishing so that you can stay a writer. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

On my website at https://www.ceeperkinsauthor.com/ or on my Facebook page.

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Sure. This is Dan and Corra’s first date. 

***

Corrupt Love c OTHER SITES (1) (1)Bottom line, I wanted in his pants that night. Likely to happen? Mmm, probably not. Would I work for that goal anyway? Definitely. 

So there I was, sitting across from Dan in that sports bar, trying to sit close enough to him that my boobs brushed his arm every time I leaned over to fake reading the answers on the trivia device. Not surprising, he knew the answers. Not to toot my own flute or anything, but so did I. We made a great team, and we were in First place. Woo. I could die happy with this championship belt. Insert epic eye roll here. But Dan wasn’t taking the bait. I was trying my damnedest to flirt with him, down to pretending to absentmindedly trace my fingers along his neck. God, what would it take to get him to break?

“So, Dan, tell me a little more about yourself. Do you have siblings? Speak to your parents? Have a secret D/s fantasy?” I asked, making Dan choke on his drink. “Sorry, I can be a little off the wall sometimes,” I said to make up for it. But really, I just wanted to see his reaction.

Dan wiped his mouth and gave a little smile. “Ah, no siblings. I speak with my mom regularly, especially lately since my father passed away about a week ago and she doesn’t really have anyone now. She has…a gambling problem and if I don’t check in with her, she can go days without coming up for air.”

“I’m really sorry to hear about your dad. Were you close to him?”

“No, not really. I mean, we had a…tolerable relationship, but he was an alcoholic and sometimes couldn’t function beyond drinking. They gave me the best they could, what with their addictions, and I never wanted them to think I was ungrateful, so I tried to take care of them. Oh, and no D/s tendencies.”

I felt my eyes burn, hearing Dan talk about his parents. What the fuck was wrong with me? They were addicts, but he still spoke of them like they were at least decent. I cocked my head, studying him as a thought occurred. His parents were addicts. They couldn’t have given him a stable upbringing. Is that why he was so rigid and uptight? Because he never wanted to live the life his parents did?

“Um…Corra?” Dan was staring back at me, and I could actually see the insecurity in his eyes. I snapped out of my trance. 

“Yeah, sorry. What’s the next category?” I asked, wanting to sidestep the feelings I was feeling for Dan. I didn’t do feelings like this. Especially for Dan, who was so uptight, he could probably iron clothes with his butt cheeks. He was a conquest, nothing else. Jesus Christ.

We got back to the game while munching on appetizers, trying to keep the conversation light. I’m not sure if Dan wasn’t interested in knowing anything about me or if he was too shy to ask, but he didn’t ask questions about me. Not even about what I did for a living. Regardless, I found that I was actually having fun with him. He was smart, which was not something I was used to. Normally, my hookups were dumb as rocks. It was easy to conquer the dumb ones, but with Dan being intelligent, I knew I wouldn’t be able to simply put my hand on his dick and lick my lips. Figuring out how to get around that hurdle would be just as fun as the rest of them, I think.

When the final round had played and we won the game, we high-fived and sat back in our seats, sipping our drinks. 

“Now it’s your turn. Siblings? Parents? Secret society membership?” he finally asked. 

I grinned. “Yeah, I have parents. They’re great, still married after thirty-six years and two or three affairs. I have an older brother— you may have seen him last night, with the leather vest? Tall, blond, man bun?— that happened from my mom’s first affair. And I have a younger sister who’s a nurse, and a younger brother, who’s in college for software development. We’re a close family, even my dad, and Salty. Hm. I never really thought about that before…my dad never treated Salty any differently than the rest of us.” I looked at Dan then and almost laughed at his expression. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

He shook his head and looked down at the table. “You speak about your parents’ affairs like they’re no big deal. Is…monogamy, not something that’s important to you?”

That drew me up short. I’d never had a relationship, so how could I really answer that? I mean…“Well, I suppose for them, it wasn’t a big deal because they knew they still loved one another best. Even if they had sex outside of their marriage, they always knew they’d come home to each other. As for me, well, I’ve never been in a relationship, so I can’t honestly answer that question.”

Dan’s head jerked up. “You’ve never had a boyfriend?”

I shook my head. “Normally, I’m not interested in someone beyond one night.” Wow, that made me sound awful. Also, made me kind of a liar since meeting him. “You’re actually the first man I’ve had to work for and the first man to make me think the work is worth it.” And that was the damn truth of the matter. The whole crux of my situation, right? Dan didn’t fit my normal, which made me want to pursue him. He was definitely the first to make me think that way. 

“Are you serious?” I looked at Dan and realized he wasn’t being rude or accusing. It was genuine disbelief. “Me? You see me, right? My baggage not only has compartments but also its own separate cargo ship,” he said, then clapped his hands over his mouth like he couldn’t believe he’d said that. 

“Dan…yes, I’m serious. And yes, I do see you, and I know you have issues. But,” I paused so I could say this carefully, “everyone has something about them that makes them unique, even hard to deal with sometimes. Shit, even my siblings find me hard to deal with sometimes. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I can be kind of an asshole. It’s what gives us personality. And maybe I’m crazy, but my personality thinks your personality is the bee’s knees.” God, I could be such a sap.

Dan chuckled, a slight blush across his cheeks. “Well…my personality is starting to think that your personality is the cat’s pajamas.”

So corny. So cute.

AuThursday – Nadine Miller

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m an Irish romance writer who writes historical and will be releasing my first contemporaries this year. I write mostly clean with a little heat 🙂 I have a law degree but gave up working in law to write romance! I live in a rural area of Ireland with my husband and three children. 

How do you make time to write? 

I usually write when the children are in school or when I’m sitting in the car at one is their extracurriculars (of which there are a lot!) 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I do! And unfortunately, I’ve experienced it. For me, the more I worry about it the worse it gets. So when it happens I need to just take some time away and read, or binge watch Netflix, or bake! Sooner or later, the words come back! 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I used to sneakily read my mum’s historical romances and I’ve been a bona fide Janeite for as long as I can remember. There’s something about the regency era, the clothes, the balls, the manners – if you ignore things like lack of plumbing (very easy to do in historical romance) you can just lose yourself in the glamour and romance of the time! And that just makes my heart happy. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

I’ve published The Royals Of Aldonia as an indie! It’s been exciting. Protecting The Princess is book two although they can be read as standalones. 

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work? 

I like to think of myself as a hybrid! I enjoy my own company just as much as I enjoy being out and about socialising. I think every writer needs to be a bit of an introvert because you really have to be happy with just your fictional characters for company! 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

It might not always be perfect, but it’s always worth doing. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write! Just write. Everything else can be dealt with later – covers, marketing reviews. But just keep writing! 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.nadinemillard.com 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

“So even though it means you hate me, your safety means more to me than your love. I can live with your hatred as long as it means you’re safe. I’d rather have you out there despising me but alive than live in this world knowing you’re not in it.”

Protecting the Princess

AuThursday – Kimberly Marie

Kimberly Marie

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a 24-year-old author based out of New Jersey. I grew up in this area after moving from Maryland at 4 years old with my family. I am the youngest of four children, so the house was always busy. It was in the moments when I had to entertain myself that I found my creativity. Growing up with the woods as my backyard was akin to growing up with the world at my fingertips. In an instant, I could be lost in a fairytale or a nightmare. It only depended on how I chose to view my scenery. I graduated from college with a degree in communications and journalism, and after spending years in DC working for Congress and non-profits, I came home to Jersey to chase a dream of being a writer. 

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

My day is not structured much at all when it comes to writing. I typically write best at night, as I am a night owl, but can find inspiration anywhere at any time. I have been known to rush out of the bathroom after a shower because an idea hit me while I was shampooing my hair and I didn’t want to lose it. My notes app on my phone is full of all the ramblings bouncing around my skull, but I couldn’t imagine writing any other way.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing exhausts me, it’s as simple as that. It takes a lot of my creative energy to put words to paper, and everything I write is so personal and vulnerable to me, that it is an emotional outlet when I write. I like to say that I leave pieces of myself in everything I do creatively, so I always need time to recharge after spending long stretches behind a computer. There are moments when I get so excited about a scene that I can’t stop writing until I have all my thoughts written out, but always need to decompress after.

What are your current projects?

I have just finished my first draft of my second book and am moving into the editing stages of it before starting the querying process. I don’t think I have ever believed in a project as much as I believe in this one, so I can’t wait to get to the point where I can start sharing it with people.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Absolutely. I also believe that there are steps we can take as writers to overcome it quicker than just waiting it out. I have spent months unable to find the motivation to add to my works but have also found that putting energy into other creative projects has helped remedy it quicker. I like to dabble in photography and have an Instagram where I post poetry that I put a lot of effort into when working on my novel writing becomes strained. I also believe that writers put far too much pressure on themselves to hit certain word counts or finish projects by unrealistic deadlines, which leads to burnout. When writing isn’t fun anymore, it is best to just take a step back and breathe. Take notes when scenes come to your head, but don’t try to force yourself to put pen to paper when you have nothing left to give.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Daydreaming. I get lost in my head so easily and am always coming up with new ideas for books and stories. I have so many unfinished projects that I am working through but have found that I cannot write linearly. I need to bounce around from scene to scene and project to project in order to write effectively. It is just the way my mind works, and while it has become an effective method, the constant daydreams do take away from time actually spent working on current works.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I have always loved wolves. White Fang by Jack London was the first book I remember reading as a child, and I have re-read it hundreds of times since. I have always loved the bond wolves share with each other and how they rely on not only their instincts but also their family. It’s a beautiful relationship, and I have always been one to romanticize the wild in my work, so the wolf fits that bill perfectly.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. Don’t listen to those that can’t instill life into you. Don’t measure your success by the success of others. When I was in my sophomore year of high school, my English teacher gave my class a narrative project. This was the moment in my life where things became real for me. He was an odd character. He reminded me of a cross between Jack Black and Robin Williams from Dead Poets Society, and he drove an atrocious lime green car that I would see every morning when my mom dropped me off at school. For this narrative project, instead of writing a pithy short story, I just let my mind wander and ended up with a piece about a haunted United States soldier who was fighting overseas. It wasn’t written in story format and was structured in stanzas. It was not a poem though and was told in (the) first person. I didn’t know what to call it when I handed it to my teacher, but five minutes after handing him the page, he shouted to the class about how great it was and gave me an A on my rough draft, then and there. He taught me something that day that I have carried with me ever since. Words don’t need a box. Your writing does not need a definition, and everyone will interpret your writing differently. A year later I gave the same piece to another teacher who I liked more as a person, and she tore the piece apart. She told me it needed to conform to a certain style of writing and that she could not grade it because she did not know what it was. It took me a while, but eventually, I decided that I would listen to my sophomore teacher’s opinion of my work because that was what spoke life into me and my creativity. It was what fueled me to continue telling stories, and that was what I needed to cling to as I chased my dream.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I have my website that has a link to my social media and book on it (www.bykimberlymarie.com). 

My debut novel, a historical women’s fiction titled The Sun at Dawn, is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart. I am also on Instagram (@by.kimberlymarie), Twitter (@bykimberlymarie), and Pinterest (bykimberlymarie). I’d love to connect with fellow readers and writers on Goodreads as well!

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

This is (a quote) from Chapter 14 of my debut novel The Sun at Dawn.

“Remember little one, love can solve many problems that logic cannot. The heart is much smarter than the head.”

The Sun at Dawn by Kimberly Marie

Come Visit me at Writer Zen Garden

I’m over at Writer Zen Garden finishing up the second to last #atoz challenge post. If you haven’t read these come over and browse. And if you are looking for a writing group to join. Check out the tabs above. We’d love to share your writing journey.

https://writerzengarden.com/

AuThursday – Jacie Floyd

Please Welcome Jacie Floyd to the Clog Blog! Jacie, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

From the time I read my first Nancy Drew mystery, I’ve been an avid reader and writer. The public library was my happy place when I was a child. Throughout my professional career, I utilized my non-fiction writing skills in business and legal writing, but the desire to create my own stories became a secret obsession. While polishing my craft as an unpublished author, I was lucky enough to be named a six-time Golden Heart Finalist and two-time Golden Heart winner by the Romance Writers of America. After years of scraping together whatever time I could to generate one manuscript after another, I gave in to the inevitable, abandoned my day job, and moved away from the chilly Midwest to Florida in order to write full-time and self-publish the kind of stories I like to read. 

How do you make time to write? 

Now that I’m a “full-time” writer, I can structure my writing time to fit my schedule. Outside activities and travel do interfere, but I’m a night owl and don’t need a lot of sleep. I’m often at my desk writing from 10 PM to 1:00 or 2:00 AM. I realize not everyone has that kind of flexibility.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

No, not for me. It’s a real thing that some people do experience, but I always have three or four projects going on simultaneously. If the words don’t flow for the one I’m currently slaving over, I switch to one of the others for a while. I believe that if I just keep writing, the right words will break free.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

Since I’m currently writing four series (The Good Riders, Sunnyside, The Billionaire Brotherhood, and The Billionaire Brides), I’d have to call myself pro-series. I prefer to write books that stand alone in the series but are loosely related by some unifying element like setting, club, friend group or family relationship. The main characters appear in multiple books, but their conflict or story arc don’t necessarily overlap. I consider series the most reliable way for an Indie author to build an audience—the theory being that if readers like Book One of the series, they’ll want to read Book Two and so on. Hopefully, if they happen to stumble on Book Four, they’ll go back and look for the previous ones.

I see you are Indie Published.  Why did you choose this route?

I think it’s safe to say that my daughter chose it for me! Back when I started writing seriously, the Indie route wasn’t a viable option. I tried for years to get a traditional publisher or agent interested in my books through standard queries, conference attendance, and contest entries because those were the only options. I got really, really close several times, before receiving soul-crushing rejections. In 2013 I was a Golden Heart finalist, and my brilliant, tech-savvy, librarian daughter went to the RWA conference with me. Indie publishing was really starting to boom, and after attending a lot of workshops, she encouraged me to go in that direction—with her technical help. I sorted and revised my existing completed manuscripts into series, published MEET YOUR MEET in 2014, and things grew from there.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Now I always have to consider my readership and ways to keep that number growing. I have to determine which characters from the existing series have the most compelling story that needs to be told next. And I have to stick to a schedule, so I write better, sharper, clearer first drafts than I used to. And even when the book is finished, I have to allow time in the schedule for social media, promotion, and even occasional personal appearances. Writing is a business for me now instead of a diversion, but the writing part is still fun.

How do you relax?

Time on a beach with waves lapping the shore, clear, sunny skies, sand in my toes, and a book in my hand is absolutely my happiest, most relaxing place. Luckily, I live close enough to the beach to make that happen as often as necessary.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I have seven pieces of advice:

  1. Complete a manuscript and then another one. Until you know for sure you can get from the start to the finish, all you have is a hobby. 
  2. Don’t overlook the necessity of learning your craft and polishing your manuscript. 
  3. Whether you’re planning on Indie or Traditional publishing, a competent editor is a must. 
  4. Establish a media presence for your author name BEFORE you have anything to promote. 
  5. Have clear career goals, not just writing goals. 
  6. Join writers’ groups and make friends with other aspiring authors. 
  7. Don’t take rejection too personally.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m everywhere! I love to talk to readers and authors, old friends and new about reading, writing, books, travel, cooking, shopping, you name it! Feel free to reach out to me on your favorite social media platform and sign up for my newsletter on my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bookbub, Goodreads 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Absolutely! Thanks for the opportunity to visit with you and your followers. This excerpt is from my latest release ALWAYS ALLIE, the first book in The Billionaire Brides series.

-Jacie Floyd

As Allie slipped into bed, a familiar form emerged from the shadows. Her hand went to her heart, and a gasp escaped her.

But not from fear.

She propped herself on an elbow. “How did you get in?”

A light twinkled in his eye. “It wasn’t so hard.”

“Why are you here?”

Wearing the same jeans and T-shirt he’d had on earlier, Buck took a step toward her. “Wyatt called. He thought you could use a friend. I told him you’d made it clear you didn’t want to see me tonight, but he said that might have changed.”

And just like that, the tears Allie had been holding back all night filled her eyes and spilled over.

He rushed to her side. “Sweetheart! What’s wrong? Don’t cry. Are you all right?”

With her shoulders shaking, she nodded. “I’m fine.” Wiping her eyes with the corner of the sheet, she shrugged. “I’m sorry. That’s not like me.”

“Don’t be sorry. If you’ve had a bad night, you’re allowed to cry.” He scooted her over and climbed into the bed beside her. “How can I help?”

“I’m shocked to be saying this but having you here has helped.”

“Good.”

She’d had to be strong for Xander, and Mother hadn’t been sympathetic.

But Buck was here to support her, not lean on her. He had no expectations whatsoever about how she should behave, and he’d let her vent in whatever way she needed. All of that was a rarity. She knew they had issues to discuss, but for now she just wanted to breathe him in.

He stacked her pillows behind them and put his arm around her. “Can you give me a clue? Is it Xander? Something with the business? Your mother? Are you sick? I’m not trying to pry, I need to know what kind of support to offer.”

“How many kinds of support are there?”

“There’s the goofy, silly kind where I bring you a Beanie Baby.” He pulled a little green frog wearing a crown out of his pocket. “That often works for Bella.”

“Cute, but I don’t think a frog will do it.”

“There’s the huge soul-crushing disappointment where I buy you a Lamborghini.”

“Thanks, but I don’t need a new car.”

“There’s the small heartbreak or scuffed knee where I offer you a chocolate kiss.” Yep, he dug in his pocket and pulled one of those out too. Taking the candy out of the shiny silver wrapper, he held it to her lips. “There’s emotional distress where something unfixable has happened, and I give you a big hug and sit quietly with you while your head wrestles with wrapping itself around the new normal.” He put his other arm around her and pulled her against his chest. Holding on tight, he rested his chin on her head and rocked her back and forth. “Like this.”

“Ding, ding, ding, ding. That one works.” She listened to the reassuring beat of his heart against her ear, but she wanted more. “If accompanied by a real kiss.”

“Happy to oblige, but what kind? Sweet, sexy, comforting, hot?” He stopped between words to bestow a sample of each one.

With her hands cupping his face, she leaned in. “The kind that makes me forget everything else.”

“My favorite.” Sitting up, he pulled off his shirt and tossed it over the side of the bed. “And for the record, that’s always my goal when I kiss you.”

When he tapped her hip, she lifted up, and her gown followed the way of his shirt. “Not fair. I’m naked, and you still have on jeans and who knows what else.”

“Jeans and nothing else, but hang on, we’ll get there. I’m concentrating on you first. I can see I’ve got my work cut out for me.”

“Take your time. I’ve got all night. My trainer doesn’t get here till six.”

“You won’t need him,” he assured her as his lips teased hers. “You’ll get your workout tonight.”