The only way to learn how to write is to write a lot. I can’t remember which writer I got that little piece of advice from but it has always rung true for me. There are times I want to tell a story but don’t feel like I am doing the characters or their voices justice.
Writing a book is hard, but it’s not always hard in the same ways. Speak No Evil has been in my head for a long time. I wrote it 5 or 6 years ago. I was not a great writer then. I had these characters in my head, but my writing wasn’t there. I hadn’t written enough words to figure out how to tell stories well. The very next book I wrote was published. I love it as well. I wrote both of these books fast, and Legally Bound got picked up right away and started my writing career. I never planned on publishing any of them, so I just left Speak No Evil for a long time. I tried to rewrite it again a couple of years ago, and to the same end it wasn’t ready yet. So I sat on it. Last fall I picked it up again. I love this book. I’ve never been able to stop thinking about this book. The characters are constantly in my head. I decided to rewrite it again. I was writing a YA book at the same time, and figured I could do both.
Boy was that a good and a bad decision. It took me way longer than I planned to finish both. A lot of that has to do with me having a horrible six months. I didn’t talk to any one about that time period, but I basically isolated myself from most everyone, and kept my head down because of what I was dealing with. I let someone back in my life I shouldn’t have and it was killing my soul. I was miserable, and then of course not happy with myself and embarrassed to even talk about what I was dealing with, because I knew better. I knew how this person has always treated me and how many times my friends and loved ones told me to kick this person to the curb.
This effected my writing. Drastically. I would write well at a high, and then not write for days or weeks at lows. Finally in November and December I realized for my career and both projects I had to get my head out of my ass. I finished both. It was hard work. I put a lot of my pain and feelings into both, while still keeping the bones of Speak No Evil. The characters were there, and my writing was finally able to do them justice, but I was still scared. What if I am the only person who feels this way about this book? What if it’s not good enough yet? I have another book I’ve rewritten four times in ten years and I’m not sure it will ever be good enough. Will Speak No Evil turn into that book? So I decided to share the book. I sent it to my first reader, who’s opinion I trust more than anyone else in the world. She is my rock for writing.
Well she was going through a rough six months as well and trying to get her own book finished so she was barely reading mine. She kept telling me she loved it, but the little voice inside my head told me she was slow because she hated it. Yes, I fully realize this was my insecurity about the book coming through, and she had too much on her plate, but that doesn’t stop the little voices in your head at three in the morning does it? She finished it and loved it. But I still had this nagging feelings in the back of my head. So I sent it to my friend Laren. (Yes, you are Laren) She told me it’s probably my funniest book I’ve ever written, and so I felt a little better and decided to go ahead with editing and release plans.
I am still a fucking mess about this book. It’s probably the hardest I’ve ever worked on a book I’m releasing. (not including the one I’ve rewritten 4 times in ten years. We just won’t talk about that one.) I have extra proof readers, and extra betas, and a new editor. It’s been through the wringer. I want people to love this book as much as I do, and it not to be held back by anything. But that doesn’t make me any less nervous. Writing is hard, and not always in the same way. I didn’t think I could be this nervous about a release again. Not since my first.
Now I need a drink.
Speak No Evil is out Thursday!
“I saw the way you stared in there.”
Weston shook his head. The gleam in Eli’s eyes, that slight edge to his voice, made Weston decide to go for broke. Straight military guys seemed to be the most homophobic people he’d met, but Eli seemed to be into this—into him. He would end up getting hit if he was wrong, and his excuse to get close to his mark might blow up in his face, but he couldn’t stop the words that came out of his mouth.
“You liked it.” He had a few inches on him and was thicker all around. He wasn’t worried.
“If I did?” Eli challenged, reaching up and fisting a hand in Weston’s shirt.
“Then I guess you won’t mind this.” Weston grabbed Eli’s neck, using the leverage to press his lips against the mouth that had haunted him for a week and taunted him for the past hour. He fully expected to be shoved into the wall or hit in the face, so he kept his eyes open and his hand near his knife just in case.
Using the grip on Weston’s shirt, Eli did just that, shoving him against the wall. Weston gripped the hilt of his knife, inching it out of its sheath, but Eli leaned further into Weston and parted his lips, giving into the assaulting kiss. He flicked his tongue over Weston’s bottom lip to lure his tongue out to play. Weston’s stomach turned with nervous energy, and he groaned. His cock tightened behind his zipper. Eli tasted better than he looked, cloves with a hint of jet fuel, tinged with bourbon.
He released his hold on the knife and slid his hand around Eli’s waist. Eli kept his grip on his shirt and used his free hand to cup Weston’s face, groaning into his mouth. They stayed locked together in the dim alley, exploring each other.
Weston flushed with heat. Desire flooded through his veins. He let himself forget that Eli was a mark. Kissing Eli was better than any sex he’d ever had. He kept Weston on his toes, nipping and biting ‘til his lips were swollen, only to delve his tongue into Weston’s mouth to twist and battle with his own.
Weston was breathless when they finally broke apart. His lungs were on fire as he tried to breathe normally and regain control of his pounding heart. “Well, that wasn’t what I expected.”
“I think it’s better to keep your type off balance.” Eli grabbed Weston’s hair, bringing their mouths together controlling the speed and direction
Weston’s lips parted, welcoming Eli’s persistent tongue into his mouth again. Eli pulled them apart again but lingered against Weston as his chest heaved. “Nightcap?”
Weston’s heart stopped in his chest, and he swallowed hard. His fingers reached for his holster, needing to feel the metal, but Eli’s body pressed against his made it impossible.
“Lead the way,” Weston said with his cock.