Welcome to the second day of Blissemas which today comes to you in the form of a blog from Jan Irving for Friends Friday! Jan was booked in before I decided on this Blissemas event so today will be a break from the Christmassy winter wonderland you might expect from Blissemas but never fear check out blissemas.co.uk for a sexy seasonal excerpt and spot prize!
Okay, now to pass over to Jan and her cowboy…
The Eye of the Tiger or Writing Sexy Books for the Long Term by Jan Irving.
By the time 2011 bows out, I’ll have written over 30 sexy books that have reached various levels of success. What does it take to go the distance? I’m reminded of the third Rocky movie where the hero is stalked by a younger, hungrier opponent. What I think that movie is really about is looking inside and seeing if you possess the drive and the desire to continue.
A few things I’ve picked up over three yearsâ€”and that’s just since I was publishedâ€”I was busy writing long before that happened. First you have your ‘big debut’ book. It may be commercially successful if you’re lucky, it may not, but to you it’s a Big Deal, your first. You are meeting people, some eager to know you, to find out if you’re writing the secret elixir they are searching constantly for, some who pat you on the head as the new person and then do their best to avoid the shine.
If you are successful, there can be a lot of hype you are not in any way prepared for. You might not be blogging regularly. You might not even have your website up. My advice on that is to do a little bloggingâ€”after reading some excellent bloggers and getting an idea how it’s doneâ€”you will have a blogging style the same as you do a narrative style. It’s up to you to practice enough to find it, and yes, in this area I admit I lagged. But it’s never too late to learn. For the website, set something up that is easy to work with and inexpensiveâ€”keep it simple and don’t take away from your precious writing time.
Your second book, depending on what you write, may be a let down. My first was a complex m/m contemporary. My second a BDSM paranormal. They were not anything alike, so the first was initially much more successful than the second. I felt like I disappeared off everyone’s view screen so here’s another lesson. If you are able to plan a second book that you WANT to write that is in the same genre as the first, that’s great. If not, then accept that while you write different things, it may take readers a while to find them. I do not regret my choice. I needed to write that book.
Recently I’ve begun to experiment with longer series books in my Uncommon Cowboys series. The books are different enough so I enjoy writing them, meeting new men, but they have some commonalities so readers who like one, will have an idea of what to expect. I’ve written series stories before but this is my longest series to date. I have plans to do more since I’ve discovered I have a natural ‘series’ bug that I’m loving indulging. Next year will see the debut of a sensual fireman series from me as well as a whacky, sexy series about regular men falling for ancient Vikings, angels and aliens.
To make it in the long term, you have to be engaged and having fun. It’s important to be writing for a publisher that fits you. Sometimes that’s a house where you’ve been a reader for a while. Not always, but sometimes that’s a good sign. You also have to write those stories that logically don’t fit right at the moment. I wrote my first m/f and mÃ©nage stories this year. I have more coming out next year. When I first did those, people wondered if I should take that risk. Ultimately, it’s up to the writer to decide. I have learned from doing many books that some are not instant successes, that sometimes it takes readers time to find them, but if you write what you really crave to write, then you are on the right track. Of course, it’s always nice to feel like you’re writing something that is a Sure Thing, but I have to tell you that in 30 books, I still don’t know what that is. All I can tell you is be sure you are writing what you want to write and let it be.
He was hunted because he is different. Now Deputy Micah Danvers is ‘normal’ at all costs. He left behind the wounded boy he used to be and he’s dating a nice woman. He’s got a good job and a ramshackle cabin to fix up.
But when plain ordinary cowboy Micah rescues exotic Sasha from bullies at a local fair, it turns out Sash isn’t a woman like he thought. Unconventional Sash is not afraid to stand outâ€”he thrives on it from his nights of dancing around a fire in the nude to the rare breed sheep he’s trying to rescue from extinction. Shifter Micah aches for Sash, but he’ll have to leave the shadows to claim a man who is unafraid of tempting the wolf.
Deputy Micah Danvers’ enhanced senses caught the menacing whisper through the friendly chatter in White Deer’s June town hall craft fair. He zeroed in on two young cowboys, Deke Masters and Jared Marks, obviously liquored up and ready to rumble. Oh yeah, he’d had a run-in with them shortly after he’d come to town. Definitely troublemakers. Despite knowing he could handle them, Micah’s gut tightened.
He purely hated dealing with mobs. They brought back bad memories. Someone bumped into him. His hands fisted.
“Hey, sorry, Deputy Danvers,” Juan, a young kid who lived with his mother above the town bakery, murmured before running over to his friends.
“Sorry,” Micah answered softly, even knowing the kid wouldn’t hear him. His face reddened at the slip. He forced himself to relax.
His attention returned to the two cowboys, trying to see what they were up to. The crowd shifted, so Micah saw the men were glaring at a pretty young woman with long black hair and golden skin sitting at one of the craft tables. She smiled as she held up a handful of twigs, demonstrating something to the folks in front of her table. Micah frowned. Whoever she was, she was a stranger and he didn’t like strangers.
Micah ate the same cereal for breakfast every morning. He always bought the same blue and brown shirts. He picked up plain white briefs. He liked everything the same and he liked knowing who was in town. He closed his eyes, trying to catch her scent. Citrus. She was wearing something like grapefruit. Micah tilted his head, not sure he liked it. It was…different. Kind of abrasive, but also strong, fresh. He was excited.
And whoa, what was that?
Survival instinct kicked in, warning him to stay far, far away from the new woman in town. Something about her smelt…forbidden.
Micah was frowning when Mary Watson rejoined him, squeezing his arm as if to ask him what was up. He looked at her and felt vaguely embarrassed, as if he’d been caught. Keep it low key, asshole, he told himself when his gut clenched again. Don’t stand out. Mary worked as a secretary at the little town hall, so Micah saw her often. They’d become good friends. He liked her straightforward grey eyes and warm smile as well as the long brown hair that fell to her waist.
“Did you find that gelding you were interested in looking at again?” he asked her.
Mary nodded. “Be a good horse for your stable, cowboy,” she said, arching an eyebrow at him.
“Huh, don’t think so. My barn is almost as much a ruin as the cabin,” Micah said. “And my roof leaks. Gotta fix that first.”
“He’s a beauty, Mike,” Mary said, using the nickname she and some of the townspeople now occasionally used. In all the towns where he’d lived, Micah had never had a nickname before and somehow that made White Deer home even if it was dangerously close to the village where he’d grown up…and fled.
Since Mary was an expert horsewoman, Micah took her seriously. “Okay, I better take a look at that gelding again. But if I have to fix up that wreck of a barn in a hurry, you’re helpin’.”
“Deal!” she said. “Do you mind if I check out some of the tables? I know the craft stuff isn’t your thing.”
“I was looking at the cutting boards,” he said, raising his hands mock defensively. “I’m not a stereotype.”
She grimaced. “Nuh-uh. Cutting boards are a manly thing. I don’t see you checking out the art quilts or the crochet.”
“I don’t need a bed spread and I wouldn’t know crochet if it bit my ass.”
“Maybe I can bite your ass sometime soon,” Mary purred.
Micah pulled away automatically, then scolded himself. What was he doing? This date was part of the plan. He wanted to stay in this town. Mary was going to be a part of that.
Sharp green eyes the colour of bottle glass. His gaze was caught by the young stranger sitting at the table. She was looking in his direction, watching him with Mary.
He looked away, flushing.
Oblivious to Micah’s uncomfortable moment, Mary smiled and strolled away, hands loose in the pockets of her jeans, completely relaxed and in her element in a way Micah hadn’t allowed himself to experience since he was a young boy. He opened his mouth, wanting to call her back and ask her if she knew who the stranger was.
A warning spike prodding his back broke the moment and he turned away from his date to meet those tilted green eyes again. The woman at the craft table was still studying him. When he put his hands on his hips and met her gaze for gaze she did not demurely drop her eyes but continued to look back at him with frank appreciation. She thought he was hot.
Micah blushed even hotter. A smug smile curled the woman’s lips.
“Goddammit,” he muttered, telling himself he didn’t like her confidence any more than her cologne. Too brash, too bold for such a delicate little thing. Just what did she think she was playing at, looking at him as if she would like him to climb on top of her?
Sweat broke out on Micah’s forehead. The unknown woman was like a burr under his saddle. He needed to find out more about her because she should have backed down when he gave her such a challenging look. People found him intimidating at six-one of solid muscle, plus the uniform.
And then there was his wolf. Although most humans couldn’t begin to guess what he was, on some level they sensed Micah had something inside, something dangerous he kept on a choke hold. But the woman merely went back to twisting wet twigs into a round shape as if she hadn’t deliberately rattled his cage.
He watched a while, but couldn’t see what about her had those cowboys riled up. He stalked closer, circling her, the wolf inside drawn to take a closer look.
The woman looked to be in her mid-twenties, about five-five in height and she possessed fragile features which didn’t mesh with those brilliant green eyes. She continued to expertly weave branches into her creation, strong brown hands flashing impossibly fast.
Drawn by her obvious talent, Micah stood next to her table watching her entertain a group of kids. “First you have to make the round, flat bottom of your rustic basket.” The young weaver’s voice was husky, the voice of a femme fatale who would leave scratch marks on a man’s back during sex. Her voice reminded Micah of the heavy kind of wind chimes that rang with deeper, more masculine tones. He liked her voice. Working as a new deputy just arrived in town, he most often caught the late shift, so he got tired of listening to harsh-voiced cowboys who’d had too much to drink.
“And you’d know all about bein’ on the bottom, wouldn’t you?” a slurred voice taunted.
Micah swung around to look directly into Deke’s eyes. “Got a problem, Deke?” Micah hoped that his hard stare would tell the rowdy cowhand he’d have a very bad day if he acted up at a family craft fair.
“No, uh, no problem, Deputy.” Deke’s hazel eyes dropped, though his face was sullen. He grabbed the arm of his pal and lit out as if he’d stepped in the middle of a brush fire.
What was that about? Micah wondered as he turned back to look at the weaver. Her face had tightened and she didn’t meet Micah’s quizzical gaze with the boldness she’d displayed previously.
Instead she continued her instructions. “You let your willow dry out and then you soak it again before using it. Best place is a pond somewhere if you have access to one.”
“I heard tell of classes in Arizona for underwater basket weaving,” a woman said. “Do you do that?”
“Nope.” The weaver shook her head. “I need to breathe to weave baskets.”
There was laughter as she bent more reeds into her creation, mixing it up with bark and twigs.
The weaver looked at Micah. “Are you going to introduce yourself?”
He blinked. “You’re a bold one.”
“Why, because you caught my eye?”
She shook her head, but a little bit of colour touched her cheeks. “Never mind, I saw you with that gorgeous woman who works in the city hall. Your date, I guess?”
Micah swallowed. “Yeah.”
“I’m Micah Danvers,” he said.
Micah nodded. “You’re new in town.”
Sasha’s lips quirked. “Just been here a couple of months and I mostly stick to my place. I’m living at the old Morrison homestead. It’s my homestead now but folks have told me it’ll always be the old Morrison homestead even if a Morrison hasn’t lived there since 1887.”
Micah grinned. He knew the place from the occasional drive-by. Almost as run-down as his dilapidated cabin, it was pretty remote. That explained why he’d never met Sasha before.
He couldn’t walk away, studying her to try to figure out why she exerted a strange pull on his senses. She was slim, possessing none of Mary’s curves. Sasha wore a loose T-shirt with paint splatters on it, which he guessed was kind of artistic, jeans and an old blanket wrapped around her shoulders up to her neck, as if she were chilled. The outfit didn’t give away much of her figure. And yet when she met his gaze boldly an image flashed of her touching him just as boldly. Touching him sexually.
His neck heated with another blush and Micah tipped his cowboy hat. “Nice to meet you.”
Sasha sighed. “Likewise, tall, dark and taken.”
Jan Irving has worked in all kinds of creative fields, from painting silk to making porcelain ceramics, to interior design, but writing was always her passion.
She feels you can’t fully understand characters until you follow their journey through a story world. Many kinds of worlds interest her, fantasy, historical, science fiction and suspenseâ€”but all have one thing in common, people finding a way to live togetherâ€”in the most emotional and erotic fashion possible, of course!
Jan’s website is: www.janirvingwrites.com
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