Branding is important. It's what people say about your business. It's the vibe your business gives off. Most importantly, it's what draws readers into your business.
As an author, my brand is more than just my books - though those are the bulk of it for sure! My brand is me. It's what I put forth into the world. If you've followed my page or friended me, there's a good chance you know a few things about me.
You also probably know there's not much in the romance genre I shy away from. From Christmas holidays to cancer-stricken heroines, I don't hold many punches. I bet you're reading this and thinking "Okay, so what's the point of this blog." It's to talk about author logos.
When I first started in 2014, a dear and amazing author friend made me a logo. She charged nothing, she asked for nothing in return. I loved it. Slowly, I added the worlds, attempting to bring my tagline in a bit more. From there the worlds became people, as I felt that better represented a romance author, feeling my tagline could do the heavy lifting to imply I take two different characters and mash them into one happily ever after.
Two years went by and I started to feel like I needed a bit of a revamp - something that said "author". I wasn't even sure where to start. So, I ended up buying a premade logo from a friend's site. It was fun, to me screamed author and had just the right amount of color.
Fast forward to a few months ago. Logos started to evolve. They were more than just something "generic". Which lead me down the dreaded path of "am I where I should be?" After months and months of seeing logos I realized, "no, you aren't where you should be." Cute little illustrated drawings had been around forever, but were slowing gaining traction. I saw one posted for a book cover that the artist was selling as a separate file and it hit me.
I needed one. I needed a little Chibi-Lexi to showoff my business. Unfortunately, the artist never responded. However, luckily for me I work with three amazing cover artists (not including the premades I buy when they speak to me). Of them, Melissa Stevens from the Illustrated Author had already done an amazing series logo for me for my Relics of the Lost Worlds Series. (Bet you're interested in that, but that's another blog post for another time.
I went to her, uncertain if she would even do the project. Like every zany cover idea I've brought to her in the past year, she happily told me she would! Now, if you've worked with Melissa you know you get a pretty epic questionnaire before beginning that gets you set on the path. I'm pretty sure if you asked her, the one for the logo project was a hot mess and "all over". I knew what I wanted - a Chibi with something author-like. Too bad that was all I could tell her. Nonetheless, she didn't hesitate to accept the project.
Now, something I find important about working with any artist is their willingness to trust what you want mingled with their personal and professional opinion to do what's best. Once, I asked Melissa for an oasis cover - she came back with a winter wonderland that is actually my favorite cover of ALL my books. I trust her, her process, and most importantly, her designs without question.
What followed next was a month of what felt like presents and torture as she showed me tidbits of pretties. (She was being amazing and squeezing me in between projects and her personal life). So how did we start? With these two amazing sketches!
I was hooked. Without question I knew that not only was Melissa the perfect person to do the logo, but that it was just what I needed. Guys, look at the subtle nod to 10 with that sexy trench coat. Look how luxurious she made my lifeless hair. Plus, come on, check out those stacks of books! This was just the beginning and to say I was hooked is an understatement.
Like all good things, they take time. I'm sure I knew at the point how much, but now I don't - because life. I got a message and it was filled with more pretties. This time, Melissa was really just showing me steps, because she already knew where she was going and was just testing new poses to see which one stuck. I must have a tiny bit of a design eye, because I agreed! (You'll have to keep reading to see with what).
Meanwhile I'm over here like "ooo is she running with books? Is she going to get an adorable little octopus baby in her hand" because I knew there was no way with what Melissa knew about me from our time as customer-client (and friends), that she was not going to give me an octopus after giving me 10's trench coat!
By this point, it's probably not hard to tell that I was beyond excited. What could come next? Well, let me tell you, I 100% did not see the next part coming. You guys, it turns out the next step was more than I dreamed for, with not 1, but 2 epic designs!
Like, seriously, she has me riding on a freaking Octopus you guys! Riding a Mother F*ing Octopus - which is the exact message I sent my husband along with the photo while I was at work. She mentioned there were little tweaks coming and of course, I needed a body, but we were almost done.
Giddy didn't begin to describe it. Even incomplete, I felt complete. Suddenly, I felt professional - like a real business. Yes, I'd been operating as an author since July 2014, but now it was as if I was suddenly a step above where I'd started. But it gets better, you know why? Because Melissa sent the final babies the next day!
Without further ado, take a peek at the new and improved Lexi Ostrow, Romance Author.
There aren't enough words on the planet to describe how I feel. Look, I can describe acts of sexual pleasure in great detail from the male and female POV - so forgive me for this.
Melissa took a simple request and gave me a logo that feels like me.
There's a nod to my business - books.
There's a nod to me personally - aka the physical stuff (minus the mom bod I'm now rocking IRL).
There's a nod to my favorite things - doctor who and octopodes.
There's a nod to one of my main (and favorite) genres - steampunk.
More importantly, it's what it doesn't do that I love. It doesn't look out of style - which I love the others, but they did. It doesn't scream "I know what she writes". It leaves mystery. My career largely has been built upon steampunk and paranormal romance, but the coming years will see a fun shift, one that you'll learn about pretty soon. To me, this logo says "This author has more to say." However, instead of rambling I'm just going to sum it up with: Melissa, you nailed this so hard. It's everything I wanted it to be and more.
Need a logo? Seriously, go hit up Melissa at The Illustrated Author right now! just make sure you tell her to do the rest of Lexi's covers first (jk, jk. I kid, I kid.)
Also, I wouldn't be me if I hadn't rushed out and done brand new swag - I mean - check out this website for example. I've been sitting on this amazing logo for a week and a half, with the only people who saw it besides my husband being my street team. Plus, if you've hung around this long, click the third photo to enlarge it, and whip out your phone and scan that QR code on my sexy new business card for a FREE read!
This is quite likely the second hardest blog post I will ever have to write - the first being if there's ever a day I announce I'll no longer continue my dream as an author. That being said, this is a difficult post. To help me push through it and keep it from being a downer to read, I'm going to fall to some of my favorite gifs to lighten the mood. Please don't think it means I'm not taking this seriously, it's merely a way to keep this blog post feeling a little lighter.
Editing is not my strong suit. I know the grammar rules - many thanks to a wonderful editor I had for a year who crammed them into my head - and when to apply them. Unfortunately, proofreading for me is an incredible challenge. I'm legally blind thanks to a combination of genetics and a few rough head strikes into the ground as a cheerleader for half my childhood. That makes editing on a screen considerably harder, because even with glasses, the characters have a nasty habit of blending together. I've known this, and did my best to print out stories when I could to ensure I was editing by hand. In addition, I struggle with dyslexic tendencies. It's harder for me to see typos, and to my husband's amusement, I sometimes even struggle to read words and pronounce them silly - like calling "broccoli" "bro-col-lie" and not realizing I'd done it.
I'm aware of it. I've worked to make my drafts as clean as possible. Only, they're not as clean as they should be. There's typos littered here and there, extra words and even accidentally dropped punctuation from typing at 83wpm. I didn't know this. For years I had no idea they were as riddled as they actually are. Editors never said anything too harsh, and I had no way of realizing the number of red marks for typos was out of the ordinary - mostly because some authors don't self-edit and editors are used to a high number of typos now (not my words).
My journey started on a rough note. I was 24 and still seeing the actual affects of my editing issues. I was with a publisher. Unfortunately, the editor was not one suited for editing someone with my issues, and many readers contacted me about editing issues as books were often edited the day or two before release. The publisher was wonderful and set me up with a fantastic editor. I don't want to call her out and embarrass her, but if she's reading this, she knows how much she means to me and my career.
I learned tricks to edit "cleaner." She taught me grammar rules I'd never heard of complete with ways to remember them so I never fall prey to "try and" do anything again. We worked to make my sentences stronger and my style sharper because my voice was already pretty firmed up. My confidence was restored because I was doing the best work I could and knew she had the skillset to catch the errors.
Fast-forward a year and a few months. Life took hold and my wonderful editor could no longer be my editor. I struggled with a choice to stay with my publisher or move onto self publishing where I could personally vet editors and find ones used to working with people like me - because no matter how hard I try, there's always going to be a bit less polish with my drafts.
I've bounced from editor-to-editor trying to find a good fit. Some simply proved they were "editors" because they thought they could be. Others cost upwards of $500 an edit. I grabbed programs, found beta readers and did what I could to eliminate issues before editors took on my stories. I thought everything was hunky dory. Each book got a self-edit, a content edit and a line edit. Then I read it again - sometimes on audio but not always since becoming a mom makes it harder to listen to audio since the kiddo is either awake and running around or asleep and I need to be quiet because he's a light sleeper like mom.
The last few books have been with the same editor. I found someone who I worked well with, had decent rates and turn times, and seemed to be a good match. Then the negative "edits" reviews came in. The hurtful kind where it talks about going back to school or letting someone else write my awesome ideas. I shrugged it off, so many people think they are perfect at editing, but in fact, don't have strong grasp on it.
A little bit ago I picked up a paperback and started to read. Low and behold I found typos. Not 1 or 2, but 10 - in two chapters. Now, this is my fault. I do not blame the editor in full. I am responsible for what I put out into the world. I am the one with final say. A few times I've tried to ask friends to proofread, but they never come back with anything because they end up reading the story, not looking at the details. So, I got complacent. I thought everything was fine. Yes, the editor should have paid more attention - it's what they're paid for - but it still falls on me when the day ends as a self-published author.
To start, I want to apologize for not realizing there were fundamental flaws with my work. There's no excuse and no apology eloquent enough for producing subpar work.
To all the reader who've stuck by my side and continued to read when the editing floundered, thank you. My dream was to touch readers with fantastical stories and I appreciate those of you who have continued to fall into them despite flaws.
So what does this mean, what is the point of this long, downer post? It means I'm going to be changing my editor and my release schedule. The books will be written, self-edited, editor edited and left alone. I'll be putting them into paperbacks (bc it's cheaper and less messy than printing 200+ pages) and editing them before releasing. Releases will be further apart because the process will take longer, but also the math behind it. A cover costs typically $250-$300. An editor will run me about $500. I make (wait for it) about $30 a book during release month and a few spare dollars here and there. So, if you've done the math, you can see I'm an author because I love it, not because it's raining in money. And I will continue on this path, at least for a little while longer.
I don't have an updated release schedule yet, but I will soon. For now, I'm going to take things slowly, one book at a time on released novels and then worry about releases moving forward. This doesn't affect anything for April or May, but may see an affect in June. Thank you all for standing by me, for reading this gigantic blog post, and for being awesome.
2018 was committed to boxsets to gain new friends and readers. I loved it so much I couldn't help but throw my name into the hat of authors for just one for the 2019 year! So without further ado, I am happy to announce I have a story in the upcoming set Shadows and Sorcery! Check out this beauty and grab your preorder for just 99¢ here!
Remember in 2017 when I attempted to launch Hexed in New Orleans series but ran out of time because the characters demanded a full length novel instead of a novella? Well, I'm happy to announce that project is my focus for 2019 and it will kick off with a prequel novel that sets up the brand new paranormal vs human world. Say hello to a stunning new cover!
The world is awake – vampires, witches, werewolves and more are real and outed in the human community. Fear runs deep, and a set of rules instituted by a small council are all that holds a fragile balance.
Ivy Lancaster knows the rules. Be prepared, be efficient and get out. That didn’t make going to council meetings more enjoyable. As the Witch Elect, she had far better ways to help her community stay at peace with humans than sitting on monthly board meetings. Too bad the Council of Supernaturals didn’t care.
One thing makes the meetings bearable.
Elijah Vikander has no love for the Council of Supernaturals. He was alpha, wolves answered to him, he didn’t answer to others. He could stop going, force the wolves to elect a beta member of the Crescent Pack, but then he couldn’t see the enchanting off-limits witch.
When a group of warlocks threaten to tear the proclamation down and take over the city, pairings are made to track and take the men down. Ivy and Elijah are forced into a coupling that will either destroy their worlds, or save the humans.
Once Hexed Twice Shy is a fantastic book 1, but the series needed something extra - the world grew so large I needed a way to introduce readers to it before I dropped them into the craziness of a hexed witch and her ex-boyfriend cop. What will this novel have? Secret romance, time travel and a curse that could end the whole world. Stay tuned for more information on the series as it's how I plan to round out my 2019 year - that's right, all four books in one year!
I’m not really a resolutions kind of gal. I think they’re wonderful, but I want to live life to the best and make the best changes for myself all the time – not because I randomly got an idea and wrote it down. However, I keep seeing people talking about words they’ve selected to live by, and I think that sounds like a wonderful new thing to try. So here goes . . .
For 2019, my word to live by is VISIBILITY.
I feel invisible on a daily basis. Not in a depressed variety, but in an actual “I don’t think I’m noticed” way. On social media, my posts are often left ignored – giveaway posts where I’m offering something free for just writing “yes” or something of that nature. Yes, not everyone is going to engage with every post, but when I see others with multiple entries, lots of engagement and fun social media following, it gets to be a bummer. It lends to making me feel invisible.
I’m always on my author account. I post, I share, I engage on other people’s posts. Yes, I have an author one because I write under my maiden name and wanted a place for my readers to engage with me beyond my page. I wanted an account where I could use my married name as well because most people I meet in my day-to-day know me as Lexi Bissonnette, not Lexi Ostrow. Even still, on my profile, if I post book-related stuff, out of over 1000 friends, maybe three are interested in what I have to say.
I send newsletters that are almost 100% unopened – even when the subject line indicates I’m giving something away for free. No, I don’t spam. I send one out every Sunday – which I note on the sign-up form. I tweet with little to no engagement, and my Instagram is largely a vast empty void.
Yet, even with FB algorithms, I don’t seem to be the fun person that people want to engage with or the author anyone is interested in getting free reads from. Now, this isn’t a pity post, it’s me explaining where my word to live by came from. Yes, it’s of course possible I’m boring, and my books suck – but I’d like to hop it’s not that.
So in 2019, I’m going to focus on making myself more visible. More Facebook engagement, back on the blogging train – because I say that every year I’m going to be more accountable this time – more teaming up with other authors whether it’s box sets, release parties or something entirely new and finally, more time with readers at events.
Did you make it this far through my borderline whine/rant? If so, I want to start your new year off with a free read! Any ebook from my list, you name it and email email@example.com, and it’s yours!
Happy New Year’s Eve – now comment here, what’s your word to hold yourself to for 2019?
So I tried really hard last year to blog monthly . . . I didn't realize how incredibly HARD that was going to be! I had an infant, a new city, a full time job and a social life. Blogging was hard. Why was it hard? Because I had no clue if people were reading it. Sure, I can look at stats, but that just means someone opened the page and scrolled down. I didn't see any comments, and it let me slip into a "boo hoo me" moment.
It's a horrible excuse, but if I'm honest, it's rough putting yourself out there and not knowing if you're getting your links out in the world. And since I know my books reach people, I dove headfirst into writing my stories and focusing on that. I'm back now - because I miss blogging and communicating with potential readers! So as a mea culpa for everything, simply comment on this blog post to win a free copy of my newest release!
Now, that I've apologized and enticed you with a freebie, let's talk releases! I used 2017 largely as an experimental year. I was apart of multiple boxsets, wanting to reach new readers as well as partner with some of my favorite authors. Seriously, boxsets are the coolest way to get to know an author because you learn about their process and get a free read
I am so excited that I did because I learned so much from the process and gained so many new author friends. If I reached even a few new readers, that's for sure a win! So what is 2018 about, now that we're almost 2 months in? Well, it's a combination year. I still have a few box sets to participate in. I have series that I KNOW need my attention and new series to start. So without further ado, let the release schedule roll!
While the goal was to focus on open series and finish them, I did have a few stories slam their way to the front, pushing my two favorite series out of the publication list this year. But don't worry - the Guardians and Alliance stories are outlined and WILL be told.
**Cogs & Corsets - RT steampunk set, information not yet set
**Clockwork Wings - April 3,2018
** Gaslights & Graves - featuring City of War - May 18th, 2018
** A Heavenly Kind of Love - July 9, 2018 to coincide with an in bookstore event!!!
** Historical set - featuring Weaved in Time - August 14, 2018
**Cogs & Corsets - RT steampunk set, information not yet set
**Clockwork Wings - April 3,2018
**Gaslights & Graves - featuring City of Light and Steam - May 18th, 2018
Hopefully, with my little man getting older, I'll have more time to myself to maybe even sneak something else in.
So don't forget, comment away for your free ebook; no limit on the number of winners. Catch you all on the flip side . . . aka the next blog. Or keep in touch sooner, head on over to my street team!
Who am I kidding? The shock has absolutely NOT worm off, and I'm totally okay with that. After a morning of refreshing the list over and over, yesterday around noon CST I saw the most amazing post in my box set group.
I hadn't even read any further - my heart stopped pounding and I am not even sure I was breathing. I didn't get even to check the post myself because I saw this pop up before I could look away from the screen:
BOOM! Just like that, I was a USA Today Bestselling Author. I'd love to say I took this professionally. That would be the biggest lie I've ever told. I jumped out of my office chair and went shouting "We did it! We did it! We did it!" all the way up the stairs.By the time I reached my room at the top of the stairs Aidan (my 11 month old) was sitting up giggling and grinning like a loon. I picked him up and tossed him a little like he loves while still chanting and he just kee grinning and laughing. That moment with him, seeing him so happy purely because I was, was almost better than the list. Almost.
I was so blessed to be invited to work in the boxset, but even more blessed with the friendships that were made along the way. 19 other women and I share a bond that will never be broken, and a friendship that was only made stronger by the news of all our hard work and countless effort paying off in the most wonderful of ways. We've talked non-stop, celebrated and been generally glued to conversations together more so than before it happened.
So what am I doing now? I'm getting ready to do a HUGE sale on my books. To be the first to know about it, sign up for my newsletter. There's much more coming from me this year, and I feel this amazing honor only solidified my drive to turn out the best work possible. So keep sticking with me on this journey! My next solo release is June 25, 2017 and it's the next book in my Guardians series, Forgotten Worlds. I'm so excited to give you Jameson's story - because he hasn't shut up since I met him when I was in 7th grade!
See you all soon!
I skipped writing the blog last week because I knew I had big things to discuss this week - and really - I had no idea what to write about as my creative juices were on a vacation while I took care of Aidan during his second cold (which we actually found out today was just a nose virus, but it was still so rough to see him all congested and suffering). I promise, this blog is a wallop of information coming at you to make up for it!
I'm going to start with the small announcement to build up the anticipation for a monstrous sized one! I have a fun new author logo! A little bit ago I'd expressed how I wanted to create a fun and quirky logo that represented me, if not all of my novels. I knew this was going to be rough since I play in so many different sub genres in the romance world. My tagline "Making Worlds Collide" fits all my novels, but I knew a logo designed to reflect me specifically would not. I'd been trying to figure out how to have a steampunk octopus holding a book with my logo and tagline properly written out. Well, the amazing Nancy Colbert of Colbert Creative came to rescue. Say hello to Theo! I love him to bits and am so excited to put him on pretty things!
Now for the really big announcement. I have parted ways with CHBB Publishing and imprint family. It was a very hard decision, and I am so honored and grateful to the woman and company who gave me my dream of being a published author. I will, as I did before being signed, continue to support them from the sidelines and cheer on my amazing friends and wonderful authors no matter what. I know the house will continue to go onto amazing things.
What does it mean for me? It means that starting in a few days, my CHBB published titles will not be available for a period of time. My planned release of Prison Drop is pushed back slightly to make certain my books are down first so I do not break the In Service contract. After that, I will be deciding what to do on a case by case basis with my series books - though I'm more than positive I will take the self publishing route rather than shop previously published titles to agents and publishing houses as I know it is a long shot and I'd prefer to only show fresh works.
Thank you to everyone at CHBB for all their support and the chance at my dream. Thank you to all my readers for falling in love with my worlds and I hope you will all stick with over the next month or so while I make my way into the self publishing world full time. I'm grateful for every step of this journey that began with an acceptance letter in February of 2014 and I can't wait to see where the journey takes me as I turn to this new page.
Keep up to date with everything on my author page and I'll see you all on the other side in just a few months!
This week's blog might seem a little bit down in the dumps - it's not meant to be. In fact, I'm actually very excited to be discussing a topic that I myself am struggling with - fanbase. With over 20 released novels, 2.5 years in the industry and plenty of interaction on my fan page, one wouldn't think that I'm having any issues, but looks can be deceiving. Just like with this post; because despite a harrowing subject, I don't let it get me down! No one should, whether they're an author, editor, cover artist - or any other arts creator.
I spend hours struggling to find the will to set my adorable 8-month old down and write. Why? Because it's hard to want to meet deadlines when you feel like you're all alone and not making an impact. Sales aren't everything, despite what some people think. Many authors, myself included, simply want to help readers find a few hours of blissful entertainment in the pages of books. That's what reading has always been for me and it is what I've always dreamed I achieve anytime someone reads a book, review or not, and continues to follow me on my journey. Am I doing it? Not that I can tell . . . not yet.
After 2.5 years in the writing business I have to hunt for reviewers every single book. I have to post in groups, message to bloggers and spam the request all over my social media and ya know what? I'm lucky if I can find 5 people interested in reading my book for free in exchange for posting an honest review to Amazon. Does that burn? Abso-fucking-lutely. Each time it happens I feel like burying my head in the sand. I have so many amazing supportive people that help me share around my releases, but none interested in reading them. My newsletter is pitiful, no many how many free reads or exciting things I offer, the list never grows. (on the plus side, no one unsubscribes and my open rate is 83% woot!) My friends seem nice enough when I have a book, but none of them review, which is kind of an author's bread and butter, not the sales. My street team is filled with an amazing group of ladies and a gent, and without them I don't know where my reviewers would come from. They make me find the strength to continue because I know that no matter how small, there are people that find joy in my work.
But can such a small number really be enough to validate my publisher keeping me on (dear lord I hope so LOL), or my personal life taking a backseat to the characters who would be just as content if I closed my eyes and imagined their stories instead of writing them down? Does that make me a failure? A lesser author? Someone who should learn when to quit and throw in the towel?
I may not have found my fans on social media the way many authors have (and many more still struggle to). My books touch people. Do I have hordes of fans gnashing their teeth to get my next book? Nope, not yet. But they are there and they do review when they happen to stumble across my work. I will continue to share the craziness that falls out of my head until there isn't a platform for doing so.
To all those that might be in a similar position to me, I urge you not to give up. Ignore all the doubt and anything that makes you feel like you aren't as important as the other indie authors in your library or your friends list. Keep pushing. Keep weaving incredible worlds, make dazzling promo and soon enough, we'll all have left our mark in whatever way we wish.
There is a common phenomenon that occurs to authors that I thought I was immune from — the characters behaving in ways that you didn't even think possible. By this I mean that I have read a handful of teasers of mine and realized, I didn't remember writing the passage. Not a single word, not a single page of some chapters. It was almost as it the characters pushed me out of my mind to write their own stories.
Yes, I know many authors say this happens. However, as someone who needs everything to be just so, I had always assumed that while the characters could control my flow, they couldn't ever have me write something I was unaware of. I bet you're thinking, "oh she's probably only just had it happen for the first time." Ironically, it's been happening since the very first story I ever completed, Torn Between Two Worlds. If you read through any of books, there should be a word utterly absent from them, pussy. I personally cannot STAND that word. It is just unclassy to me, no judgment to anyone who loves it, just a personal thing. So when I was doing re-edits, my jaw dropped so fast it made my head spin when I saw this passage from Stryder.
A second finger joined the first, and her hand wrapped around his shaft, pumping the thick erection in time with his strokes. She cried out when his fingers slipped free of her body seconds before she was about to shatter. She opened her eyes to look at him and went to grab his head when she felt the scruff of his unshaved face brush against her inner thigh. His tongue rasped across the sensitive flesh of her clit, and her thighs squeezed together. His erection slipped from her hands as she was lost in sensation.
Mewls of need and desire escaped from her throat as he alternated between long licks across her pussy and deep thrusts of his tongue inside her. Her hands were fisting in his hair, tugging him closer, pushing his tongue farther inside.
"Stryder!" His name a desperate cry on her lips, and she felt him laugh, the vibration causing her hips to buck and impale deeper on his wicked tongue.
She was almost to the point of thrashing about as he licked her, putting more and more pressure behind each stroke of his tongue. Ciara bit down on her lower lip as her orgasm shot through her and she tasted blood as she tried to stop her shout from being heard by all awake. He continued to lap at her until she was shaking. When he retreated from between her thighs, he grinned wickedly at her.
"Oh no, you don't get to do that to me, to torture me and make me come like that without some of your own, Guardian." Sliding off the counter to sink to her knees, she heard a chair scrape across the floor as he pushed it back and sat down, the smirk still on his face.
The issue didn't stop with Stryder, though it wasn't occurring every book. Worlds on Fire passed uneventfully. Julian and Serena were exactly who I wanted them to be, exactly who they wanted to be. Then came Lucius, in Nightmare in Steam. There cannot possibly be a better example of a character taking over. Lucius was always meant to be cowardly. As a hero, he had to be sexy to an extent, but I'd never intended for him to behave in any manner that he did, but he was determined to be the best (and hottest) male ever for his Eliza. Five books later, he's still forcefully shoving himself into the Alliance of Silver & Steam stories, often making himself the undeniable hero, stealing the spotlight from the actual hero. Curious what I mean? Read this steamy slice, when Lucius first told me "there is no way in hell I'll be anything but the fucking best in bed."
As she stared out the window, she saw his hand raise and land slightly above hers on the solid glass window. She must have touched it to confirm it was truly there. His low growl in her ear as he nipped the bottom of it sent wetness between her legs. She squirmed, pushing her backside against his cock and shuddering when he reached between them and held himself. She could feel him stroking his shaft, feel as his hand stroked up the thick length and bumped the small of her back.
“Come now, Eliza.”
His free hand wrapped around her waist and turned her to him. Her startled gasp changed to a sigh of pleasure as he turned her and ran a finger along her clit. Her hips bucked, even as her hand fell off the window as she turned to him. The motion caused his finger to slip inside her folds. His growl was more like a purr as he stroked along her inner core.
“Damn, Eliza, you’re wet enough to bring me to my knees to taste you and see if you taste of chocolate to match your smell.”
Her head fell back as he used his knee to push her legs farther apart. She trembled under his touch, shook with need and longing to complete what she wanted. Sex. It was a dream, no one would ever know, and she wasn’t a virgin anyway. She wanted it all with Lucius, and she wanted it in this dream. The heat, the desire, the pulsing of her sex when she came screaming his name.
Small whimpers escaped from her as he rubbed the head of his cock against her entrance in small circles that had her seeing a multitude of colors instead of him. Reaching down, she ran her finger slowly down his cock before wrapping her hand around him. She could hardly close it around his thick cock, and the thought sent a wave of liquid between her legs. He grunted and pushed her until her arse pressed against the cold window.
His hips bucked against her, and he dragged his teeth along her neck before he swirled his tongue over the same spot. Her cry was a tangle of pleasure and need while his fingers stroked her. The head of his prick nudged her entrance, and she spread her legs wider, sliding down a little as she got lower to the ground.
He hesitated as she pushed against him, taking him deeper. His groan echoed in her ears, and he took control back again as he buried himself balls deep inside her. His hand traced a path down her chin and pulled her eyes to his. She rolled her hips, urging him forward, knowing that if he stopped, she would shatter with or without him.
Book after book, I've noticed small instances where the characters pushed me out of the way and not only told their story but did so in ways I didn't think I could have been the author of. Some things were far too profound for me to believe I wrote, others were emotions I've never felt, yet wrote so spot on I can't figure out how I did it. Which lead me to the final realization that the characters were not only telling their stories, but they were doing so in such a way that I was channeling things I should not have been able to, making the stories perfect in a way I could never imagine.
What the Steam Brings tackles not only a genre I wasn't overly sure I could do, but a topic that needed to be handled delicately. I wrote the story in a little over 3 hours and had no idea until I began to record the audio, that I had written one of the most tragically beautiful pairings ever. It was a romance that transcended time, and one that made me rethink the next steps for the series because Tristan became so much more than I'd ever intended, there is simply no way Isabella can continue being the female romantic lead as the series continues, as I'd originally intended.
“Mi amore,” Tristan said as his mouth closed over hers.
Passion flooded through her, as white-hot and strong as it had been the final time they’d touched in that manner. Her body was slowly turning to fire, remembering the play of his fingers over her bare skin, and the way his prick felt as it drove in and out of her body.
“You have not given anything to the mages for this? No payment, no servitude?” He searched her eyes pleadingly.
She shook her head, feeling the tears slip down her cheeks. “Much is different in this life now. The mages won the battle. Their services are charged to those that can afford them, but they were not without kindness. Those of us widowed in the battle were granted much, including a dalliance with our lost love. Even if it could only last but a short time.”
“If all we have is precious moments, I do not want to squander them speaking of silly changes. I will spend them in your arms, in your body, reminding you of all the love you still have, even if I am not by your side to give it.”
His mouth moved over hers once more as he pushed the fallen strands of hair from in front of her face. He greedily deepened the kiss as his hands wound around her back. His touch was as it had always been. The same as if they had not been separated for so long and he weren’t simply a spirit.
From Rise of Silver - where Layel grew to be a character I have never imagined despite having had him in 4 other books - to my most recently finished piece, Something Borrowed, it happens time and time again. And so I've learned that not everything is in my control. I think it's better that way - that the characters can take over so completely I'm in awe of scenes when I read them back. It's somewhat frightening to be at the mercy of them in so many ways, but I absolutely think it makes for better reading. So until next week's blog, I'll let my newest set of characters take the wheel and tell their story.
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