Lise Gold Books is proud to be publishing ‘The Good Girl’, the debut novella by Madeleine Taylor, a new author of lesbian erotica. Read chapter 1 here!
Lise Gold Books is proud to be publishing ‘The Good Girl’, the debut novella by Madeleine Taylor, a new author of lesbian erotica. Read chapter 1 here!
A couple of months ago I started writing Western Shores, #4 in the Compass Series. Usually, the first step of my creative process is to travel to where my book is set, in order to soak up the atmosphere and gain insight and inspiration, but due to other commitments I wasn’t able to do that this time. Full of optimism and faith that I could create a world from my kitchen table, I went online to do my research, spoke to people over Skype, Facetime etc, and immersed myself in documentaries about marine life.
Six weeks later, I was 60% into the manuscript and hated it. I had no affinity with the characters or the story, and was afraid my readers wouldn’t feel it either. My characters had no chemistry – not because of the age gap (it’s an age-gap romance), but because I couldn’t relate to their lives. Dread crept up on me that I might have wasted those six weeks, so in order to save what could be saved, I booked my ticket to Northern California. The moment I got there it became clear how wrong I was not to have done that in the first place. Here’s a little update on my time on the Western Shores …
I had chosen Santa Cruz as my ‘hub’ because it’s quite central, and within reasonable distance from everywhere I needed to be. The sunsets are amazing there and so is the morning light. It’s also riddled with pelicans and psychics, neither of which I’d ever seen in the wild before. I’m not sure where all the people were though, as it was zombie-apocalypse-quiet in town, even on the weekends.
Capitola, a 15-minute drive from Santa Cruz, is the setting for Western Shores, so I’ve been spending time there in the mornings, taking in the atmosphere and writing. It’s a quaint and very colorful little village, noticeably more bohemian than most other towns in the area. I felt at home there and miss it already. The people are sweet, life is slow-paced and all in all it’s just very, very chilled and very beautiful J. Maddison, Hannah’s half-sister will be moving here soon, and I think she’s going to like her new life!
To get a feel for the coast (and because my editor implored me to go as it’s her favorite place in the world), I drove along the Big Sur Highway 1, and holy fuck it’s pretty! Honestly, I did not expect such beauty and almost crashed twice, distracted by the scenery. I ended up driving for way longer than I’d planned because I was scared of missing out on whatever was just around the next bend.
Maddison is a marine biologist (she was still in college in Southern Roots and now has her Masters), so I wanted to know about her world. Thankfully, there’s a wealth of information and inspiration in this area when it comes to marine wildlife. Monterey is a lovely city, and also home to an amazing aquarium that aims to inspire visitors to think about ocean conservation. It certainly inspired me, so I went out in search of wildlife myself, primarily obsessing over harbor seals and sea lions. I could watch them for hours, and indeed did.
Before I left, I’d arranged to meet with Dr. Noren, a lovely lady who has devoted 25 years to research on marine mammals. Truly admirable and great fun! We need more people like her in the world… She filled me in on what it takes to work in her field, and it’s helped me a lot as my knowledge on the topic is extremely limited.
The beaches along Monterey Bay are beautiful, and my favorite one was Sunset State Beach, which is often covered in a thick mist in the mornings. It was eerily quiet and felt like the end of the world. I found two sand dollars here and apparently, they bring luck!
Apart from beach-hopping and staring at sea lions, I also got lost for three hours. Satnav didn’t work and I had no idea where I was, but it was really pretty so it was okay J. Then my car got stuck in the sand and I had to dig it out before helping other geniuses like myself, who thought it would be a great idea to drive next to the dunes without a 4×4. Once safely back in town, I was then approached by two different people who asked to pray for me, and another man who offered me money to get in his car, all of which I politely declined. This had me worried for a little while about the image I’m projecting to others, and I made a mental note not to stand smoking next to motel containers after nine pm, wearing thigh-high boots and a furry coat, sporting wild hair from driving all day.
All in all, it was an incredibly inspiring and informative experience. Not only regarding the book, but also in a personal sense, as I now have sleepless nights over the future of our oceans and have embarked on a mission to reduce my carbon footprint. But the culmination of my experience has been the insight I’ve gained about my writing process: since I started writing I’ve tried to live by ‘write what you know’. This one time I disregarded it and paid a heavy price: 30.000 words went in the bin. Six weeks of hard work wasted, but an incredibly valuable lesson learned and hopefully, the book will be better for it.
It’s a big day and I’m so proud! I’ve just had my first book translated into Spanish 🙂
Luciérnagas will be out on the 1st of November and is now available for pre-order! Thank you Rocío Toboso F for your brilliant translation, and thank you Irene Niehorster for proofreading . It’s been so great to work with you and I hope we can work on many more books together.
‘Luciérnagas’, la traducción en español de ‘Fireflies’, estará a la venta el 1 de Noviembre y está disponible para reservar en la tienda Kindle.
La sobrecargo Mia Donoghue siempre está en movimiento, dejando poco tiempo para ella. No le importa estar ocupada, la distrae de recuerdos dolorosos y de su lucha diaria por mantenerse sobria.
La capitán Ava Alfarsi acaba de ser ascendida, soportando más responsabilidad de la que tuvo nunca antes. Como mujer capitán soltera, joven y atractiva, Ava no tiene problemas en conocer mujeres, pero sus problemas por controlarlo todo y el temor a que la gente averigüe que está muy lejos de ser perfecta, le impide conectar con otros en más profundidad.
Cuando las dos se dan cuenta de los secretos más profundos de cada una, encuentran confort al saber que no están solas. La atracción es innegable mientras se embarcan juntas en un viaje de curación. ¿Podrá Ava aprender a dejarse ir? y ¿podrá Mia reconciliarse con su pasado?
Ambas luchando por encontrar la fuerza para combatir sus demonios, nunca pensaron que encontrarían esa fuerza la una en la otra. Pero ¿será suficiente la pasión para mantener el fuego ardiendo?
Lise Gold Books is proud to be publishing ‘The Good Girl’, the debut novella by Madeleine Taylor, a new author of lesbian erotica.
Look out for the release date in November. This book is hot!!!
I’m a good girl. I work hard, look like your average girl next door, do everything in moderation, and I certainly don’t make a habit of going into a stranger’s hotel room dressed in sexy lingerie and killer heels. That is until I meet her.
When a mysterious woman buys me a drink at a hotel bar in New York, I never expect her to impact my life the way she does. From the moment she lays eyes on me, there’s little point fighting my desires because she seems to know them better than myself…
There seems to be a misunderstanding about what working from home is really like. A lot of my friends keep commenting how lucky I am to be able to do that, and that they’d love to swap places with me. Even my family is convinced I get up whenever I want, take my time having three coffees and slowly wake up before I sit down, slap a few words on paper, and the money rolls in. They are wrong.
Okay, so here’s the thing: Yes, I do feel really lucky to be able to write full time, but let me tell you, it’s not the life people seem to think it is. Of course there are perks. I travel regularly for inspiration as I write travel romance, and I get to be my own boss, but I make long days and I work really hard, six days a week. I don’t mind working hard because I love what I do, but I thought I’d share a typical day in my life for those who are curious about what being a full-time indie-author really entails.
05:45 Today I’m getting up really early as I’m driving my wife to work. I’m an early riser anyway, but four times a week I’ll take her to her early shift at the local hospital. If I drive her to a later shift, I’ll take the dogs with me and take them to the park right after.
06:45 I sit down at the kitchen table – we have an office but it’s never been used as such and is currently serving as our cat Tittie’s private bedroom – and check my emails and social media channels over my first coffee. I aim to always answer everyone personally, which sometimes takes a bit of time, but I actually really like interacting with readers. I also check for new reviews because it’s essential to me to know what people think of my books. Luckily, I have pretty thick skin so negative reviews don’t affect me very much. If they’re non-informative, I just shake them off and if they contain constructive criticism, I’ll keep it in mind for future books. Thankfully, they’re usually positive.
07:30 Eastern Nights is currently being turned into an audiobook and I have to approve the last 12 chapters. Addison Barnes is an amazing narrator, so it’s a pleasure listening to her. It’s still always strange to hear your own work being read out loud though.
08:45 Another coffee while I create my audiobook cover as I’m unable to approve the book without the cover being uploaded first. This is a fairly small job because the paperback and Kindle covers are already done. I use Illustrator and Photoshop for my covers and do all the graphic design work myself, but I’m considering using freelancers in the future as the whole process (Kindle, audio, paperback, social media banners, post images, website banner etc) takes up a lot of my time, which means less time for writing.
09:30 My cover is done, and the audiobook approved for retail (Amazon, Audible and iTunes) so I start reviewing my WIP. Usually my wife proofreads chapters right after I’ve written them. I’m looking at four chapters she read last night and re-work some of the dialogue over breakfast.
11:00 Onto writing now. I tend to check into a Facebook group with fellow authors where we talk about our plans for the day and set a daily target. Unless I’m planning on meeting friends or running errands, my target is 2000 words a day. Anything more is a bonus, but I do try to stick to this minimum wordcount. I’m not a slow writer but I’m not a very fast one either. I don’t plot because it just doesn’t work for me, so sometimes I have to delete quite a lot and re-write it if I change direction. This is probably the most painful part of the process.
My current WIP is titled Living and tells the story of Ella, a Hollywood actress who is in a very bad place after losing her twin sister. When she decides to end her life and walks into the ocean one night, she’s dragged out by Cam, a yoga teacher who lives on the beach. Depression is a difficult topic to write about, but as always, my emphasis is on the romance aspect of the story, so I aim for the novel to be hopeful and uplifting. The backdrop is LA and there are a couple of chapters situated in Palm Springs. I usually travel to where my book is set and start writing there but as I’m already going to Pittsburgh for the GCLS conference this year, I’ve decided to skip LA. In my last two jobs I spent quite a bit of time in LA, so I feel I know the city well enough to immerse my readers in it. I’m currently 74000 words into Living and am planning to release it by the end of July, unless my editor has other ideas :).
I don’t have lunch as such because I don’t really stick to mealtimes, unless I feel like cooking (which I love but it takes time) so I mostly tend to snack throughout the day, and that’s not always a good thing when you’re working from home (and in the kitchen)!
16:00 Around this time the dogs will start staring at me pointedly because it’s their self-allocated time for the big walkies (they get a short one in the morning too if it isn’t raining). The kitchen door is always open unless it’s freezing so they can go in and out the garden whenever they want. El Comandante tore a ligament while humping a rottweiler a while back and he’s still not fully recovered so we can’t go too far. Nottingham is a great place for dog walking and there are lots of nice parks with friendly dogs. Since I’ve basically been sitting on my ass all day, the walk is good for me too. I didn’t have my phone with me today, but here are the pooches:
17:00 My wife is home and has brought a chicken for the dogs and the cats (bought not hunted, although we think they’re convinced that is what she does all day). It goes in the oven to roast and we catch up over a coffee.
18:00 I check my campaigns. These are mostly Amazon marketing campaigns but can also include Google or websites that market my books. Amazon gives live feedback which is great because you can adjust your budget accordingly. I’m currently working on trialling banners in India on a couple of popular websites. Marketing is expensive, whether it’s online or in magazines, so I set a percentage of my monthly royalties aside for this. If people don’t know you exist, they won’t read your books. Self-publishing is like running a company where you get to do all the jobs yourself. Apart from writing, you need to think about graphic design and house style, formatting, printing, distribution, editors, proof readers, beta readers, arc readers, narrators, producers, marketing, events, social media, planning, finance and I’ve just added translation to the list as I’m going to have my first book translated into Spanish! This is very exciting, and I’ll share more about this once I’ve ironed out the details. Languages on my wish-list are Spanish, French and Hindi to start with, but it’s a slow process involving a lot of investment.
19:00 I enjoy my wife’s homemade chilli while I order paperbacks to bring to the GCLS conference in two and a half weeks. My book Fireflies has been nominated for a Goldie in the Contemporary Romance Long category, so I decided to attend this year. I’m going by myself as my wife has to work, and I’m really excited to meet some of the American authors and readers. I’ve never been to Pittsburgh, so if anyone has tips on what to see and where to go, let me know :). The UK author community is quite tight-knit, and I know a lot of the lesfic authors here, but I haven’t met any of my overseas colleagues yet.
20:00 One last hour of writing with a G&T before I call it a day. I’m writing my last sex scene of the book and writing steamy scenes is always easier at night with an alcoholic beverage! I’m on 2500 words for today, which I’m happy with.
21:30 Netflix in bed with my wife (actual Netflix lol), currently binge-watching Good Girls, alternating with my wife’s beloved Korean horrors.