Thursday, May 29, 2014

Failure to Launch excerpt


“Nope. We’re not gonna do this. You’re not gonna drive yourself crazy. Come here.” Taking my hand, he led me into my bathroom and lifted me to sit on the countertop. He walked out and returned with a small black bag. Then Charlie pulled out a safety razor and shaving oil.

“Wait…you want me to…you’re trusting me to shave you?” I asked as he handed the razor to me. “Like, put a sharp instrument on your neck…where your pulse is beat—”

“Yes. I have to get ready. And guess what you won’t be worried about while you’re worried about possibly killing me?”

I laughed. Fair enough. “You want everything gone? ‘Cause I really like when it’s like this…” I cupped his face just to feel the stubble on my palms.

He smiled. “Okay. We’ll do that then. A little five o’clock shadow this time. But we gotta handle the neck beard.” He wet both his hand, pumped out shaving oil, and slathered it onto his neck. Then Charlie put his hands under my knees. I froze. “You probably need to get closer…” With a gentle tug, he slid me to the edge of the counter. A blaze of desire burned inside my chest, and I clenched involuntarily. He pushed my knees apart next, spreading my legs, and moved his hips between them.

His gaze skimmed my robe’s wide-open V for a second, and I didn’t even wonder what was showing. There wasn’t a damn thing under it and I wanted him to look. I wanted him to kiss me there. I wanted him to kiss me.

“Ready?” He put two of my fingers on his Adam’s apple. “Everything below here…on a curve from ear to ear.” Charlie flattened my palm over his collarbone. “That should help stabilize you a bit.”

 He tilted his head back, and his arms flexed at my sides as he leaned forward to balance his weight on his hands. My thighs were tight against his sides. He flinched when I moved closer, dipping his head down to lock eyes with me for second. There were only a few inches between our bodies. I could smell him again: sweat and woodsy deodorant. Charlie’s gaze continued down to my chest before he tipped his head back once more.

Whew. There was going to be a wet spot on this counter before this was over. “With the growth, right?” I asked, barely above a hoarse whisper. My stomach was flipping on a perpetual loop.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


“Um, Nik…we should walk away…” Denise's voice hit my ear and my tunnel vision cleared. The faces around me came into view. Oh, wow. This was a scene. And I was causing it, offering up ringside seats to our mess.

“Why don’t I ever get to have nice things?” Sydney yanked both Charlie and me into the kitchen. “Guys, take your VH1 reality show shit somewhere else. Please.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


My dear, dear friend, Shelley, who beta reads for me, loved this part of Failure to Launch, so I decided to share it with you.
This is Nikki's POV (I was a dual POV virgin until this story. Um, I hope it works out lol).  I really like the way Nikki is turning out. I'm drawn to people who are like, "Look at me and my mess. Take it or leave it," and she's this way. She really always puts herself out there...flaws, regrets, shame. She doesn't hide. She's so open about the good and bad, and it's been fun writing someone who often says exactly what they're thinking and how they feel. Anyway, hope you enjoy! I've been so MIA but I'm still here!! <3 <3

“Whoa. I haven’t heard this in a while.” Instinctively, I grabbed his wrist. “Can you keep it here?” I turned the volume up on Kings of Leon.
Charlie raised his eyebrows, but his gaze was stuck on my hand. The warmth I’d felt earlier when he touched my back returned. “This song is always playing in my car and no one ever knows it. I’d believe you if you said you were really a fan,” he said.
It was definitely from before they got famous in America. “You know how when you first discover a band and they’re still playing mostly on college radio? You know they’re struggling to break out as artists, but it’s just so damn good. It’s urgent and anxious. It’s painful and passionate. It’s not mainstream radio-friendly. And you’re singing songs no one else really knows? I love that. It just feels like you own it. This was that album for me. It got me through a rough patch, when I was looking to connect with something, when I wanted a voice in my head that wasn’t my own.”
Somehow during my praise of the band his hand had slid into mine, and now our fingers were linked. It felt really good; it was comforting, the sensation of his palm. “From when you were in…rehab?” he asked.
I nodded then sighed. “So…how much do you want to know?”
“Anything you want to tell me, Nikki, which could be nothing at all. We did just meet a few hours ago.”
And maybe that was why I wanted to explain. But as I took in his kind smile, I hesitated. I never had before when talking about the mess I'd made of my life. And nothing about the way he was looking at me said he was trying to probe or guess what I was going to say. He was just…waiting. For me to talk, or not talk for that matter. It was sweet. Our entire day together he’d been like this. And I think I understood why. He loved stories because he loved people. So, speaking felt like a risk now because…he was something to lose?
What? I don’t even know him.
But I want to. And I want him to know me.
I took in a deep breath. This was normally the time when what I said broke my relationships with people. No matter what they’d thought about me before this moment, it was never the same after they found out about my biggest regret. But I still refused to close off or shut down or run away. The accident didn’t define me but it was as present as any tangible part of me. And I’d take rejection of all of me over acceptance of some persona I’d have to put on forever.

Monday, March 31, 2014

How to Fuck Up a Friendship

Happy Monday, everyone. Hope your weekend was awesome. I'm so behind on giveaway prizes and life in general because I'm marathon-writing right now. And I was reading Frenched by Melanie Harlow (awesome read, btw). But I plan to have my crap together this week.

So Failure to Launch is coming along pretty quickly. Much quicker than I anticipated, actually. Not sure what this means yet exactly in terms of release because I don't think I plan to do anything big, so maybe sooner rather than later? Maybe.

Anyway, I talked about how that picture of ballerina Misty Copeland inspired Nikki, the female protagonist's character, a while back. But I wanted to tell you a little about Charlie.

Charlie starts his own web series called "How to Fuck Up a Friendship" with his best friend (Sydney), where they play fictionalized version of themselves (Chuck and Syd), in a Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm kind of way, which he mentions in the story. And it gets really popular. I've been following the pretty cool rise of a popular web series called "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl (ABG)" for years now. It inspired a lot of what happens with Charlie and Sydney's web series (In ABG the creator/main character plays a fictonalized version of herself, too).

I really liked how open the creator has been about her struggles with getting it made without much financing, her Kickstarter campaign and then adjusting to its popularity. Charlie deals with a few of those things. Probably not as well as she does, though lol! Anyway, that's the lowdown on Charlie.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Failure to Launch

My schedule tab gets a lot of hits on the blog. But I've abandoned my schedule completely because my brain apparently can't follow it, and this story has been bugging me since I saw this picture of Misty Copeland.

Failure to Launch (working title maybe) is much, much tamer than AFC (not because of AFC, mind you. Sandrine's prequel is coming at some point and it will be just as crazy, just as out-of-control, just as violent and chock-full of moral ambiguity and really bad people, as is Fuel). But beware, though, if you know anything about me by now, it's fair to assume that FTL will NOT be an easy story LOL.

Anyway, here's the synopsis:

He’s the next big thing.

With more than fifty thousand people following his irreverent social media account and the popularity of his YouTube channel, Charlie Dara landed the opportunity of his dreams when a well-funded media company offered a production partnership. Everyone he knows thinks he's the luckiest guy in the world, but the way he's dealing with the mounting pressures of new-found fame is threatening to derail it all...

She was the next big thing.

Nikki Johnson lost dance and a coveted spot with the Los Angeles Ballet to alcohol two years ago. But with a supportive family and a successful rehabilitation program, she has crawled up from the shambles of that past life to chase new dreams. And avoid old habits...

A minor fender bender puts them on a collision course.  

A friendship grows quickly beneath a strong connection. An intense attraction quickly ignites into the kind of consuming passion most people only get to fantasize about. But her old struggles and his growing ones pose a threat to reality.

What happens when the one you crave the most is too dangerous for you? When what you desire might be your downfall?

Do you fight love? Or fight for it?

**SUMMER 2014**

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why is cheating the special snowflake of bad things? *Secret's this needs no spoiler alert*

So, I'm noticing a trend in the reviews LOL...and I expected it, obviously.

I made a joke to a few people that the violence in AFC wouldn't be a problem because the cheating would distract from it regardless of how violent it was. I probably could've thrown in a beheading or two or three and still the cheating would've overshadowed it. And I get that. I really, really do. Some people just can't tolerate it.

And I'm not going to defend the cheating, and this book isn't about making it okay. It's about Jesse, and also how he and Drew reconnect. But I was (and am) going to write about it, though, because I've never seen it as being so taboo that it has to stay out of stories. I just wanted to write it differently than I often see it used in writing. Normally, I see it as: hero/heroine has been cheated on and is brokenhearted and has trust issues. And then that's how said brokenhearted person ends up with heroine/hero. Perfectly fine storyline. Very, very true to life storyline.
Well, Shonda Rhimes changed all of that for me with Scandal. She gave me the lady-balls to follow through with my own idea I'd been thinking about for ages, which was that the hero and heroine might cheat with each other and well...yeah...the story wasn't going to take any other trajectory. And before Scandal, it happened on SATC (Big and Carrie), One Tree Hill (Lucas and Peyton) and Gossip Girl (well that was just a clusterfuck of cheating). The Vincent Boys is one of my favorite books EVER, and I loved how Abbi Glines just went for it, and especially between characters where the cut was so deep. I appreciated the risk. Karina Halle is coming out with a book that looks very adulterous.

I could've made some insincere, heavy sense of guilt between them to make them "better people," but why? They're already decent people! In fact, they are great people...who made poor decisions for incredibly selfish reasons (so, like...humans).

I say all of this not to turn you off, which I'm sure I have LOL, and not even necessarily for sympathy, but because Drew and Jesse are supposed to be human, a deeply flawed species, and humans, even the good ones, do hurtful things to other humans, especially stuff that doesn't rise to the level of bodily harm or harm to human life (mind you, the two people do innumerable good things for each other and other people, too. It's probably a HUGE flaw in my thinking, admittedly, but I just don't get how the act of cheating on Lydia negates everything Jesse does in the entire book).

 Did cheating make them unlikeable? Oh, sure. But nobody is always likeable, and maybe wanting someone you should not and acting on it is more common than we're comfortable with?

And a temptation to upend your life completely for that other person? Real thing.

I read this secret on Post Secret recently, maybe like two weeks ago:

Anyway, I didn't write this to change anyone's mind. AFC is still my favorite thing I've written to date, and I'm certainly okay with controversy. I welcome all opinions and feelings. I enjoy reading them, no matter what! But sometimes I see a trend that I just can't help reflecting on.

Although, I'm incredibly curious about the reaction to the topic, I say all of this only for the insight into my thinking, and not to argue with your feelings as they are yours, because I'm only here to write about humans and humanity (not role models, not moral guidelines, and definitely not heroes) and that definitely includes the morally reprehensible parts. And a lot of us are intrigued by those parts. There's a reason Scandal, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Mad Men and Weeds had/have cult-like followings. The writing is amazeballs (not even comparing little ol' me), the action is great, BUT one could also argue that they're popular because of the antihero nature of the leads. People love antiheroes. I certainly do. Jesse is very antihero-leaning.

None of us is good 100% of the time in real life, but moral ambiguity in fiction is quite fun for me.
And I've seen male leads and fictional boyfriends and hearthrobs get away with all kinds of things that are so incredibly sociopathic and criminal and cruel and cause so much emotional pain (hello Damon Salvatore), but for some reason most things are allowed and forgiven as long as they fall short of cheating. So, we reconcile bad traits/behavior with good ones all the time, but why is this seen as such an un-redeemable thing no matter what else someone does? I started talking about this on Facebook, and I love talking to y'all so please don't hesitate to drop a note, as I said I am curious.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


I'm apologizing now for the absurd number of posts from me this week! It's blog tour time and I'm not writing a story right now so I'm bored as hell during my free time. I'll try to keep it under control LOL.

1 - When I start writing again, I'm writing a prequel to AFC about Sandrine and Emilio Estrada at some point. You are going to meet a completely different person than you met in AFC. You'll see how this man changed her life, for good but dangerously, too.

2 - Go visit Tattooed Book Review for some cool facts on AFC and enter the giveaway!


I think I just found my most perfect Jesse (fine, not-so-perfect 'cause of the tattoos), but I have a board where I'm collecting Jesse's. 

Also this guy is gorgeous, and I need him in my now.

A Fghting Chance's blog tour schedule

Here's where Jesse and Drew will be all week! Alejandra won't be though...lucky for you.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Fighting Chance will most likely go live on Amazon first and sometime in the afternoon of FEBRUARY 4TH, 2014 (I'm on the East Coast of the U.S., so my afternoon might differ from yours, depending on where in the world you are), but I'll post links as I catch them, in the comments. B&N takes a little longer, so I'll post those links a little later. Remember, though, Kindle apps exist for like every device!!

Tomorrow is the big day!!

I get that it's February and it's the month of lovey dovey heart-shaped stuff and whatnot, but if you're like me and adrenaline and anxiety and cray cray are more your speed, A Fighting Chance is the book for you! LOL!

Note 1: there are some differences between the (soon to be) published version and the Advanced Reader Copy, as there often are with books, and it went through one last proofread/edit to get the final kinks (errors, inconsistencies, weirdness, hot messes out). Please remember that many reviews you'll read over the next two weeks or so, particularly on the blog tour, are based on the ARCs, and will hopefully be noted as such. I say that so that no one yells at reviewers over things.

Note 2: I hope you're excited! I hope you're anxious! No, I can't give you an exact time, but I'll try to keep an eye out for links.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

TWO DAYS!!!! AFC's teaser trailer.

AFC's teaser trailer because lazy person. LOL. Wait, no, not true.
I'm keeping details pretty quiet but not because of anything special. 
Just because I'd rather the book just take on its own life and meaning and whatnot. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

AFC's story goes as far back as Documentary, but Documentary felt safer at the time.

Eh. I don't want to be safe.

It took me a lot of soul-searching to make the decision to cool it with contemporary romance this year. But I am cooling it this year. Point blank, I'm not excited to write it right now. I'm not excited about reading my writing when I write it, right now. I want to clarify that this is personal to ME alone. I wanted to fall in love with my writing again this year. I wanted to read my own story and feel what I was hoping you'd feel, and writing romance just hasn't been doing it for me. Maybe I'm evolving, I don't know.

But there are so many people putting out very beautiful love stories right now (hello, Melody Grace) and I'm sitting here wanting to destroy things LOL (in my stories! in my stories!). So, contemporary romance is just not a place I feel like I can still write and be satisfied right now. I don't want to have to focus on the elements that people come to expect in contemporary romance.

AFC felt like a huge risk because I knew it was going to be a little uncomfortable for some and kinda violent and not exist in a black and white world of morality, and some people don't like that, but I want to write for the people whose Netflix recommendations are based of Sons of Anarchy.

I want to write uncomfortable things. I want to write people who do really bad things. I want to write stories that give me anxiety because something bad is going to happen or I'm unsure of how the characters will get out of something. I want to write things where my heart feels like it's going to jump out of my chest when I go back and re-read it. I want to write people with loose morals or none at all. I want to be horrible to my characters. I don't want to water down bad characters. I don't want likeability of characters to cloud how I want to write them.

Yeah, see? No romance here, which means Abel's story is backburnered (not a word at all LOL) for now. I'm sure some of you may be disappointed but I just can't do it. I don't want to write an uninspired story just because. I'm unmotivated to write it and until I am not, it won't happen.

But I do invite you to jump down the rabbit hole with me. It's going to be soooo fun. ;)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Idea behind A Fighting Chance

So some of you are reading or have read AFC already, so I don't mind sharing how the idea behind the story flourished. I had a thought for a plot and while I was researching, I came across this article...and fleshed out the story more. It went from there. And no, it's definitely not about dog fighting in this way, no worries:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

AFC teaser teaser teaser

I can't tell you enough how much I enjoyed writing the fight scenes. I went to You Tube and watched a few fights but ultimately most of the action just kind of sprung from my imagination. This whole sequence was so much fun to write, intense, but waaaay fun:

I stumble, almost crawling, to the corner and collapse against the chains. My ears are ringing, and I can smell the metal in my blood. Taste it, too. My head feels like Carlos is inside and trying to punch his way out.

“…stand here and watch him get beaten to death!” Drew is screaming at Miguel. They’re both frowning and sweating, and neither of them even notices I’m standing there. 

“I don’t want to, either, but what can we do, Drew? We can’t just yank him out of here and run!” Miguel yells back, looking more frustrated than angry.

“Guys, I’m okay,” I say with a mouth full of blood, and tingly pain courses down my jaw. Jesus, I hope it’s not broken. “Drew…” She looks at me, and defeat, despair, and abject terror, they’re all there in her face. “I got this…he’s going to draw it out because he wants me to suffer. It’ll hurt but I can rest here and there…”

“You won’t survive the fight. He’s trying to kill you. You know that, and he’s going to. I have to do something. How do we stop the goddamn fight, Miguel?”

Sunday, January 19, 2014

AFC's not even out yet... but here's what's up next...


It'll be out sometime this year. Trying to slow down.

I've always wanted to a write a psychosexual thriller/romantic suspense plot. Basically...death. sex. crazy. guns. running. mystery.  lies.

It's definitely NOT new adult. Psychosexual stories tend to be loose on the morals and titillating, so if you're someone who likes for everyone to be good or bad and not good and bad, you'll hate it. I really, really don't like writing "heroes" because I think human nature is way too gray for that and Cameron is definitely no hero.

This isn't the blurb but I'll tell you about it:

Cordelia is an "independent contractor" in the drug world in Brazil. She delivers packages for anyone who asks and makes a pretty good living at it. She's skeptical of a new client that an old client recommends but she takes the job anyway. When she gets there, everyone's dead except for one guy who is hiding in a corner. His name's Cameron and he swears he didn't do it. She doesn't believe him, but they are forced to go on the run together when someone else shows up guns blazing. They don't trust each other and there's an attraction as well. So things get weird. Hopefully, I'll make you a wee bit uncomfortable by the end.

No, Fuel is not BDSM or anything close to that, despite what you see here. I'll leave those storylines to the pros. Cam and Cordy just like to push and play with each other. They're both crazy and a little dangerous. This is actually pretty tame for what I'm cooking up. WARNING: 18+ for stuff and unedited.

Cameron pulled the scarves between his hands until they were taut. “I want to use these.”
I shrugged. “You like control,”  I said. “It doesn't surprise me..."
He bound my wrists together and then knotted them to the headboard railing. “Don’t worry. It’s only kinky until it’s not….”
Straining against them, I lifted myself so that our chests were touching. And I snickered. Snorted, really. “You think you’re the first person to tie me up, Cameron? Look, I was fucking everybody weird before it went mainstream.” He chuckled as he tightened the binds.
“I saw you going through my bag… What were you looking for?” he asked.
Fuck. My heart raced but I kept my cool. “Oh, I see… so now you're gonna fuck answers out of me?”
He was fiddling with his pocketknife like he always did. "It's just to cut you free...later." He flicked the blade out and put his finger on my clavicle. His hand coasted down my chest, and I arched against it, all the way down to my bellybutton. “Why were you in my bag, Cordy?” he asked.
“Who are you...really?”
“Cameron Max.” Tossing the knife aside, he dropped to all fours above me.
“Interesting…that’s the only ID that wasn’t in there!” I laughed. “So, you gonna interrogate me or fuck me?”
“They’re not mutually exclusive, are they?” Cameron smirked as he cupped me under the knees and lifted my legs until I couldn’t see his face anymore.
“I hope not…” I whispered. Grinning, he pushed my knees back to meet my shoulders with his weight...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Post of Unhelpful Things and Pinterest

I've been slacking on Pinterest but I'm putting together an inspiration board for AFC. I'm here --> if Pinterest is your thing.

This is the table of contents for AFC. I'm really, really particular about chapter names reflecting chapters as a whole. They're so purposeful it's not even funny. I will read a chapter probably 4 times before I figure out the name. This is totally not helpful LOL but just like the names of tv show episodes they do provide clues... hmmm....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

1st 30 and 30 giveaway - Drew and Fable Forever by Monica Murphy

I'm turning 30 this year and I'm giving away 30 books! Woo!! It probably won't be thirty different titles, but thirty books will be given away!

1st 30 and 30 giveaway - Drew and Fable Forever by Monica Murphy. 2 copies, either on Kindle or Nook. Contest: runs for exactly 24 hours, and winners will have 24 hours to respond before I move on to someone.

Rafflecopter is down. So I'm just going to use random number generator based on the order of your entries...and get a little creative.

Facebook contest question: You just got your dream job offer, but the catch is you have to move there for the rest of your life. (It's a weird job and they need you forever, I don't know). What city or country will you be stuck in for eternity? And you HAVE to go and stay there, so don't try to get around my question, guys! 

NOTE: You MUST answer on Facebook!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


So I hope everyone's new year is going well so far! So a quick rundown of things in the early part of 2014:

1- A Fighting Chance comes out in less than a month! Wow! Crazy! It's way different from the others. "Edgy" as some might say. I really hope you'll give it a "Chance" (LOL sorry, had to). Like I've said, I kinda need a break from the Contemporary Romance, especially because my interests are all over the place. Romantic Suspense and it's a little dark.

2 - So, I'm turning 30 this year. I don't even know where my 20's went but they were AMAZING and I'm so excited for Dirty Thirty. I haven't really done a BIG giveaway yet (at all), SOOOO in honor of getting older (gracefully lol) and because I love you guys for sticking it out through the good and bad, I'm doing an A.J.'s 30 and 30 giveaway. So, I'm giving out thirty ebooks this year! They'll be like surprise flash giveaways! Like 24 hours to enter kind of thing. INSANE, right? Yes. Because I can only exist at 0 or 10. This is 10 LOL.

3 - Lots of fun stuff. LOL.

Okay, enjoy your Thursday and weekend!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everybody! I'm not really someone who reflects on the past because you can't undo anything, right? But I love fresh starts, even though I think we put way too much weight on the new year. A fresh start can happen on any day. No need to wait for Jan 1st. Anyway, I have resolutions and I have the same ones every year. I just try to go at them harder.

1. Be kind - Simple but it's easy to forget that everyone is fighting some kind of battle, and kindness can go a long way. I want to be an expert at making people in my life smile more. I want to listen and be a better friend.

2. Love hard - This has never been a problem. I love everybody, especially myself. LOL. Just saying. Maybe love MORE is a better resolution.

3. Volunteer with an organization I love - Truthfully, I've been busy, but this is my favorite thing to do.

4. Tell fear to go fuck itself - This one is my favorite because I learned about fear last year. I'm not the scared type. At all. "Bring it" is my motto. Writing opened up a WHOLE bunch of insecurities and uncertainties. If I have any regrets from last year, it's letting fear get the best of me. I saw a side of myself I didn't even know existed LOL. I didn't like it. And I'm over it.

So, here's to a renewal for all of us! Cheers!

Got resolutions?!