Friday, January 31, 2014

Who is my favorite?

Who’s my favorite?

As always when I write a post like this it's unedited....just me rambling from my head like I do. If my notoriously bad spelling and epic run-on sentences bug you...look away!

Which boy is my favorite? I get asked it once a day, in every interview I do, for every blog tour-and I know the answer should be “I don’t have a favorite.”
I don’t. I really don’t when it comes to the Marked Men.
I love Rule because he was the first and he changed my life. He opened the door and gave me a shot at being a writer. He helped heal my broken heart.
I love Jet and the way he speaks through music. I think he has a beautiful soul. He makes me fan girl and I absolutely have a book crush on him.
I love Rome because he made me think, made me stretch and look at a different type of guy. His story was heartbreaking and sweet. I just wanted to hug him.
Nash has the type of personality that I think I would look for in a man now. He’s smart, he’s a thinker and I like how accountable and self-aware he is. He speaks to the more mature part of my personality. Plus I want to rub my hands all over the flames on his head.
As for Rowdy and Asa we’ll have to see what they bring with them to the table. These boys always end up surprising me by the time I’m done with them.

But my favorite…the guy that really got to me, the story that consumed me was Bax’s. BETTER WHEN HE’S BAD was by far the book that was my most favorite to write, my favorite to spend time in, my favorite to create and get lost in. The world of The Point and the people that are trying to survive in it, is just engrossing and a flat out good time.

When Jet came out I knew people were going to compare the 2nd book to Rule. What I didn’t expect was the backlash because Jet simply wasn’t Rule. I didn’t know what to do with that. It made no sense to me. How could someone not like a book-hate it even- just because it wasn’t a carbon copy of the first book in the series? Granted this was the response of only a handful...well a large handful of readers...but it was enough that I noticed and went all spazzy over it.
I was baffled and then came all the negativity towards Ayden. Again I just didn’t get it. She was tough, she made decisions to protect those she loved, she was trying to do the right thing the way she saw it, she had a troubled past, she was leery of commitment because of what that would do to the person she loved….Dude she had every characteristic the heroes do in every romance book since the beginning of time. I read a lot…I mean a lot, so I know this to be a fact. I had no idea giving those traits to a chick was going to translate into her being-whiny-needy-dumb-annoying. What? How is that possible? I was so confused and honestly hurt. I felt really misunderstood and that maybe I didn’t really have what it took to do this writing thing.
Anyway I was lost, muddled and really ready to just stop what I was doing. If you know anything about me I get crazy hyper focused on one thing and can’t let it go to the point of obsession. I do it with everything, but with writing especially. You should see my epic freak outs when I get edits back from my editor. I full on melt down-then just sit down and do the work, but not without going crazy first.

When I sat down to write Rome all that feedback and criticism from Jet was flooding my head and I couldn’t get past it. I didn’t want to write another book that was torn apart just because it wasn’t Rule. I stared at a blank computer screen for a few days-watched the cursor blink at me-and thought, “Oh shit, what am I going to do?” I still had Rome to write and by then Nash, Rowdy and Asa had sold as well. I needed to figure it out.
Well I did an interview during that time and a huge focus the interviewer keep asking me about was bad-boys. How did I write such a realistic bad-boy? What makes a guy a bad-boy? Why do ladies love a bad-boy?

I kept saying, “I don’t think Rule and Jet are bad-boys. They are just guys that own who they are and have claimed their skin and lives as their own. Sure they have some attitude and some badassness, but any cocky young man that has the world in his hands would. They have jobs, they have family and eventually they find true love-nothing about that is bad.”
BOOM! Like a shot of lightening out of the sky it hit me. There is a difference between a bad-boy and a boy that IS bad, bad in all the ways a person can be bad.
I set Rome aside and jumped into The Point. I had to…Bax wouldn’t leave me alone.

Bax is bad- it’s what he’s good at. I wrote him with no rules, no restraints, and no fear that people would read him and compare him to Rule. I unleashed every crazy, twisted, wild thing I could think of and worked it into his story. It was a blast and my writer’s block and my own personal mental block was gone. I finished Better When He’s Bad in a little over two weeks and then wrote Rome in the following 20 days. That’s a little over 200,000 words in a bit over a month. It’s nuts is what it is!
Bax kicked open the door that had closed on my creative mojo and he will forever be my favorite for that alone needed his energy, his F-The-World vibe to kick me back into gear.
Because of Bax I embraced how different Rome was from his brother and I wasn’t scared to write Nash with a little bit more softness than the other Marked Men have had. (He’s still a total badass I promise! It’s just a little more reserved than his bestie.)
Bax and his world reminded me that I’m just supposed to do my thing-that’s what I’m good at. Plus he’s dead sexy, super complicated and the way he works- the choices he makes- are staggering to watch. It’s just a good time, a fun walk on the dark side….
So there you have it- as of now Bax holds the place as my favorite. I hope you all pick up his book when it’s out on June 17th so you can see why. The new crew in the new series is something else. You can pre-order now!!! (Shameless plug)

And since you made it all the way through that post let me introduce you to my new main guy: (if you have followed me from the beginning, I posted this paragraph on my author page almost a year ago when Bax first took over my brain)

My name is Shane Baxter, Bax to most people, and I’m a thief.
Got a girl? I’ll take her from you. Got a sweet ride you dropped a mint on? I’ll take it from you. Got expensive electronics you think are safe? I’ll come and take them, because you probably didn’t need them anyway. If it isn’t nailed down or attached to you by unbreakable chains, there is a good chance I can make it mine. It was the only thing I was good at. Taking things that didn’t belong to me was second nature; well, that and finding all the worst kinds of trouble to get into. I was only twenty-two, had gone in for a nickel right on the heels of my eighteenth birthday, but that wasn’t even close to the first time I got busted or banged heads with the law. I wasn’t a master of good choices or clean living, but I knew my strengths and I stuck with them and I took care of my own. Whatever the cost may be.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ready to meet Nash?

Here our boy is!!

Ready to meet NASH!!!
Feel free to share the hotness and those to die for lips with the world!
April 29th peeps...Preorder now!

Will their past determine their future?

Saint Ford has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming of nurse. Focused on her work and devoted to her patients, there’s no room for love. She doesn’t need a guy making waves in her calm, serene life—especially when he’s the unforgettable hottie who nearly destroyed her in high school. Dark, brooding Nash Donovan might not remember her or the terrible pain he caused. But he turned her world upside down . . . and now he’s trying to do it again.

Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them —or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense.

When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?

Friday, January 17, 2014

New Series!!!


So it's been an epic couple of weeks in the World of Jay.
If making the bestseller list wasn't enough to have me over the moon I finally get to share that I'll be doing a new series with HarperCollins and my kick-ass editor Amanda starting this summer My secret is out!!!!

I can't say much yet but I will tell you that it's a pretty intense ride and nothing like the Marked book bestie told me this series is like me on steroids if that's any indication of what I'm throwing at you next.

It's dark, it's gritty, it's sexy and sinister all rolled into's The Point!!

The first book: Better When He's Bad will be out this summer right after Nash and the second book Better When He's Bold will be out fall-winterish right after Rowdy....the 1st book should be available for pre-order in just a few weeks...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

All the Questions

I did a chat with readers on Facebook Monday night and asked them to ask their most burning questions about the Marked Men. Several people asked the same thing so I thought I would take a minute and throw out the answers to the seemingly most common questions people have about the boys and myself.

This is going to be raw and unedited so grammar-police read on at your own risk!!

1: Will there be another book/novella about Rule and Shaw?

The simple answer is no.
The more complicated part of that is- I don’t see another story for them. I don’t feel it and as an author if you aren’t invested in the book you are writing, the journey your characters are taking then it’s going to suck. I’m honored so many people loved Rule and Shaw, but I’m on to different things, different stories and that’s all there is to it. I’m not about to create drama, a silly storyline to cause conflict in their love story because so many readers would like another book about them. I’m not one to take the easy road, to do what’s expected and that’s what I feel like I would be doing if I wrote a hundred more books about Rule and Shaw. Pretty soon it would just be Rule and Shaw at the grocery story arguing over cereal and nobody would buy that book.

2: Will I ever do a prequel about Remy?

Again the simple answer is no. I love Remy. I love the role he plays with his brothers. He is very necessary to both Rule and Rome’s storylines. Early Remy though, I think would be so sad and heartbreaking to write. He was in the closet. He was using Shaw in a really harsh way. Shaw was in love with Rule and he didn’t know she was alive. There was just so much angst and dishonesty going on at that point I feel like it would taint the way I want his memory to be depicted in the rest of the series.

3: How many books in the series and what order do they go in?

6 books for sure…who knows if anymore hot dudes will fall out of my head after that?
Rule-Jet-Rome-Nash-Rowdy and Asa are all getting a story.
First 3 are out now. Nash will be out April 29th, Rowdy will be here in fall and Asa will be here end of the year or early next year.

4: Am I working on anything else?

Yep but its secret for now. Maybe in a few months I’ll have more to say but it’s very, very different from the Marked Men. Not paranormal, but still different.

5: Are the guys or the books pulled from real people or my real life?

Sort of. The guys have some physical attributes of guys I know or guys I think are hot. I do live in a military town so there was lots of inspiration for Rome running around! Rule is a mix of my ex-husband and my very first boyfriend ever in terms of inspiration for looks. I think all writers put their life and personality into their books. It’s hard not to. I mean I worked in bars, I know a million and one band guys like Jet, I’m super tattooed, I have friends that are my family, I live in Colorado-all of that can mirror the books but nothing directly in my life has found its way into a plotline yet.
I draw inspiration from all the things around me. I’ll see a guy or a girl on the street. I’ll hear a really cool lyric in a song. I’ll be tossing stuff back and forth with my book bestie. My secret project was spurred by the fact so many people didn’t like Jet when he was first released. I felt really misunderstood-felt like no one was going to give me a chance to write anything but Rule and I was really frustrated by it. So I had this idea and went way into left field and created a whole new world out of everything that was churning and burning inside of me. I get inspired by anything and everything around me-I just have to remember to pay attention to it all.

6: How long does it take to write a manuscript?

A really rough unedited draft takes me about 2 months. I can write a chapter a day which breaks down to 5,000-8,000 words a day if that’s ALL I’m doing for the whole day. Editing, proofreading, rewrites, copyedits take way longer than that. All around from the first word on the page to publication it’s about 6 months (if I make my deadline) and remember the publisher sets the release dates…NOT ME!

7: Who/What do I read?

I love JR Ward. I will read anything Jennifer Armentrout writes. I really dig KA Tucker’s vibe and the slick kind of story she tells. I’m in author love with Lisa Desrochers. Kimberley Knight and Anne Leigh are both really good friends of mine and they both tell really sweet-thoughtful love stories that aren’t my typical read but I think they are both really talented authors so I read their stuff and get mushy. Kristen Ashley is an automatic one-click for me and I almost passed out when she followed me on Twitter. I don’t get the chance to read as much as I used to which is a shame-but I always try and keep a finger on the pulse to see what’s happening in the book world and if it was a hit I’m sure it’s on my Kindle.
My favorite, favorite author of all time is a lady named Anne Stuart. She’s been in the game for a long time. She wrote the original bad-boys. Her stories have no comparison in my mind and I tell myself if what I’m doing is half as creative and half as cool as what she does then I’m doing alright. I literally screamed and jumped up and down in front of my computer when I got an email from her. (Thank you Barbara Samuels for making that happen!)

8: Where do the names for my characters come from?

I honestly don’t know. When your name is Jennifer you tend to gravitate towards more interesting names. In real life my bestie’s name is Settie...see different. I knew the boys had to have names that were cool enough and interesting enough to stand alone as the title of a book and when you have a guy named Rule you can’t put him with a Debbie or a Joan so I needed something that sounded expensive and classy. Shaw fit the bill. It just kind of followed suit with the rest of the gang. Each guy had to have a unique name to carry the book title so that meant the girl had to have something cool to balance it out. I’m actually running out of them!! Pretty soon I’ll be writing about Mark and Susan 

9: Do I have any quirks when I write and what is my writing space like?

I write at a desk in my master bedroom. I’m pretty OCD so everything has a place and a purpose in my creative space. I don’t ever write in the morning. I don’t do much of anything until after noon in all actuality. One of the perks of working from home and being my own boss now. I either leave the TV on Investigation Discovery or turn on I-Tunes when I write. I do need some kind of background noise to counteract the noise in my head. I generally sit down to write and work a solid 5-9 hours like a real work day because if I get distracted by the dogs or errands or my phone than my mojo goes away and it takes me a full other day to get back to it. Like I said I’m pretty OCD so if I start a chapter I HAVE to finish it the same day even if it means working until 4 in the morning. And I always have a Pepsi on hand…because I need it to live!!!

10: What made me want to write?

I always loved to read and write. I had a huge library when I was just a little girl-my parents bought me books for xmas every year. I was totally that girl. I wrote in high school-won a few contests here and there but then real life happened and I had to have a job and pay my mortgage after college. I still wrote, still had ideas for books in my head but never had any follow-through.
When I got divorced in 2012 I was having a hard time sleeping and I was really stressed out so I turned to something that had always been comforting to me-writing. I started Rule and all the stress and bad feelings, sadness and anger went somewhere creative. When I didn’t sleep I wrote. Rule was the first full novel I actually finished. I started looking into self-publishing and just kind of went for it. I never planned on it taking off or it turning into a career but it did and I basically won the literary lottery.
I never planned on being a writer but now that’s what I’m doing I appreciate that it’s a dream job-that I am so fortunate to get to call myself that and I do my best to live up to the opportunities provided to me every single day. All I can do now is be the best writer I can be.