Bonne Anniversaire, Lavender!

So I just realized something this past Christmas – while I was busy doing all the crap you do for the holidays – that I’ve been writing romances under the name Lavender Parker for three years! Time flies when you’re having fun (and having crippling creative blocks, but I digress…)

pokemon

Although it’s a bit past the official three year marker, I decided to do a lil wrap-up of the past three years for myself and you, my poor starved readers. So without further ado, here’s some musings on my past writings and future writings as well:

Favorite Book (so far): The Burning One

This is difficult, but I think my favorite overall is still The Burning One. It’s my biggest flop, sales-wise, but I still love the unusual story. Especially near the end of the book, when the story shifts to South America and Cee and Indira really have it out at Indira’s farm in the middle of nowhere. It’s a strange, slightly controversial story but I’m happy I wrote it. To me, it’s one of the most interesting stories that I’ve written and explores the dark and shady areas of psychology and grief, as well as romance.

Continue reading

Looking Ahead

Now that 2015 is almost over, I’m trying not to be depressed about my work output this year. 2014 was a really productive and creative year for me, and 2015 was, to say the least, NOT. But I’m not going to let myself get too down. I’m proud of myself for releasing Spitfire Suckerpunch, and I hope that you guys are enjoying Tate and Shay’s story.

frogprincess

For right now, I’m working on finally finishing Kiss of Life. Vivica’s story has been haunting me for a long time and I know you guys are very anxious to see how her story plays out. I’m very motivated to get it to you guys sometime this holiday season, so just know that I’m working hard on it and it will be coming!

A Devil Named Dixon has been on the back-burner forever, and for fans of that series, I apologize. I wrote the first part when I was struggling with Spitfire and I never thought it would take this long to complete. I’m actually considering taking it off sale until I can finish the rest of the parts. I don’t want to disappoint anyone who’s been waiting a long time for the continuation, but I just am still not in a great place, writing-wise. Kiss of Life is most important right now.

Anyway, I hope you guys are enjoying fall and getting in those pumpkin spice lattes while you still can.

Writing Holidaze

Am I here to talk about more book delays? YES. Am I super sorry that I can’t get my life right and finish Kiss of Life? YES.

But I will say that I’m really trying hard to get it together. The holiday season is my favorite time of year and I like the warm and tinglies I get from reading and writing romance during the hustle and bustle. So despite all of the headaches of holiday shopping and travel, I am pushing forward.

I know what you’re thinking:

But I’m working through my writer’s block (November was a black hole of blockage) and hope to have Kiss of Life out soon. I have, however, pushed A Devil Named Dixon back to 2015, obvs. So I hope all of you will stay with me and just know that Vivica and Niko want their story told just as much as you want to read it. πŸ™‚

Happy holiday season everybody!

KISS OF LIFE Update

As you might know, I planned to release Vivica and Niko’s story this month. As you might not know, some shizz happened and my mind took me creatively in another direction… so I’m pushing Kiss of Life back to the end of November.

Pray for Mojo...

Pray for Mojo…

This year has been crazy in terms of writing. Other than a ridiculously long break between Kiss of Fire and Flower in the Desert (four months, ugh. Never again), I’ve been releasing a book a month. It’s a fast pace and sometimes I can keep up and sometimes I can’t. Some books come easily (The Burning One) and other books are a fight to the death (Stone Cold Knockout). I’m hoping that Kiss of Life won’t fight me. I’m so excited to have all the St. James gang together in one book!

I’ll admit it – the pressure is stressing me out and it’s kind of frying my brain. Unfortunately, I did it to myself! Next year, there’s no way I’m going to take that long of a break in between releases. It’s haunted me ever since 😦

So look for Kiss of Life in November! I’ll let you know my release date when I have it.

As for those wanting to know my dark erotica pen name… you can PM me on Facebook and I’ll give it to you πŸ™‚

Romance Beat Reviews KISS OF ICE

Happy Friday!

I woke up to a nice little surprise in my inbox. Turns out Brooke Emmich of Romance Beat reviewed the Kiss of Ice audiobook!

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Here’s a little snippet:

The way Annata’s character was portrayed as such a strong-willed and powerful (African-American) woman, without having to overly emphasize the fact that she stood her ground and continuously fought for all she worked so hard to achieve, no matter how much she loved Christy, was also another refreshing change of pace in the romance genre β€œnorm” these days. Thank God Christy was smart enough to know Annata well enough not to push her too hard, even when circumstances made him look like the bad guy.

Ha, truth. That reminds me of my favorite quote that I read in an Amazon review: “Christy loved him some Annie!”

Click here to check out the full review!

Looking Ahead to 2015

Wow what a year! I started my self-pub journey close to a year ago and so much has happened. 2014 has been the shizz! I want to thank all of YOU for making my year so great. I’ve had ups and downs, surprises and disappointments, but throughout it all, I’ve remained hopeful that I will keep upping my game with every new release. Now that I have two moderately successful pen names, I’m feeling nothing but excitement for the upcoming year. So without further ado, let’s discuss possible ideas for 2015!

First of all, in early 2015, I have plans for three books.

Kiss of Night (St. James Family #4) – This book will feature Holland St. James, Vivica’s brother. It will be the last full novel in the St. James Family series, but I’m still planning novellas that will return to Annata, Toni, and all the rest.

Spitfire Suckerpunch (House of Pain #2)Stone Cold Knockout is just out, but it’s not doing as well as I wanted it to. However, I have lots of ideas for these books. There’s more characters and more possibilities for a sprawling series, so we’ll see. Spitfire Suckerpunch will be BWWM, and will feature a tough girl from Harlem who meets her match in a not-so-gentle giant. I’m super excited for this couple. Tate is a different hero than I’ve ever written before. He’s a shy guy and not as sexually experienced as a typical romantic hero. I think I’ve talked before about wanting to write a virgin hero, and although he’s not a virgin, he’s by no means a player. My virgin hero is still TBA πŸ™‚

A sequel to the dark erotic book under my other pen name – this pen name is heating up, and I’m pretty excited to explore my–ahem–more taboo side through this pen name.

molly

 

Other books I’m planning for 2015 include:

The Dirty Rotten Dixons series.

A standalone featuring an Asian hero.

A series about chefs and restaurant owners in NYC, featuring Vadim, Mikhail from Stone Cold Knockout‘s brother.

A dystopian series about a militaristic future society, featuring two sisters who are trying to survive. I’m planning this as a two book series, but we shall see. I don’t foresee big sales for this idea, but I want to write it, so I’m gonna! I’m stubborn that way πŸ™‚

I’d really love to do another holiday book, maybe a standalone. I love warm and fuzzy holiday romance novels, especially when people get snowed in to little cabins… so we’ll see if I’ll get my life together and write one.

So there you have it.

I’ve got big plans! Hope you guys are as excited as I am…

 

STONE COLD KNOCKOUT Release Date

I know I’ve been teasing this release date for a long time… but I finally have an official release date for Stone Cold Knockout! SCK, the first book in my new House of Pain series, has been haunting me all summer, but I will say that I’m glad I got Flower in the Desert out in July instead. Flower was such a big hit and I feel like it helped gain me a lot of new fans. However, now I have a lot of readers chomping at the bit for Stone Cold Knockout! It’s a lot of pressure, but luckily I work well under pressure. Ha!

So, without further ado, the release date for Stone Cold Knockout is SEPTEMBER 16TH!

Mark those calendars, y’all. Writing Mikhail and Gennifer’s story has been a lot of fun, but this summer was not the most productive for me. I’ll be happy to move onto Viv and Niko’s story, Kiss of Life, that’s fo sho. Woot!

In other news, I had a great chat with the ladies from Violette Dubrinksy’s Fantasyland on Saturday and I want to thank everybody who participated. I had a lot of fun!

Happy Labor Day!

Author Chat with Lavender August 30th @7

On August 30th, 2014, I’ve been invited to do an author chat with the lovely ladies at Violette Dubrinksy’s Fantasyland.

If you’re a current member, you can join the event and ask me all the questions you want. If you’re not a group member, you can join! Easy peasy.

I’m excited to answer your questions!

Also, if you want to ask me questions another way, you can also ask me here on Goodreads.

Meet Vivica St. James

As many of you know, the third book in the St. James Family Series, Kiss of Life, is coming this fall.

This may or may not be the final cover… haven’t decided yet!

Pretty exciting, right?

The book will feature wild child Vivica St. James, the cousin of Annata and Toni. I figured since it’s been awhile, I’d do a little refresher course on Vivvy, because I love her (and she’s Granny’s favorite, shhh don’t tell). She’s such a fun character to write – bad-ass, vulnerable, womanly, and childlike all at the same time. I see her as Annata’s kindred spirit, but I doubt Annie would appreciate the comparison! She loves and lives hard, but she also makes some very bad decisions along the way. So let’s dive in, shall we?

10 THINGS ABOUT VIVICA ST. JAMES

1. She hasn’t seen her family in years, but now she’s back.

At the beginning of Kiss of Ice, Annata reveals she hasn’t seen her cousin in over five years and she rarely calls home. It was revealed in Kiss of Fire that Toni hasn’t seen Viv since she was a teenager. Vivica hasn’t talked to her brother Holland in years and didn’t even call home when he was injured overseas while serving in the military. Vivica has been angry with her brother for a long time because she feels he abandoned her when she needed him most. The only person she talks to semi-regularly is Granny.

2. She was once a successful print and runway model… but she’s not working as much as she used to.

In Kiss of Ice, it’s revealed that Vivica has been on billboard ads in Times Square. In Kiss of Fire, Toni reveals that for years, she’s bought fashion mags to thumb through and look for pictures of her cousin. However, pictures of Vivica are appearing less and less. When Toni makes a surprise trip home to Louisiana, she’s surprised to find Vivica hiding out at Granny’s house, looking very unmodel-like in a pair of men’s overalls. She’s also 27 and aging out of a profession that feeds on young girls.

3. She smokes like a chimney.

Vivica is a chain smoker in her teenage years. Not sexy, but realistic to the kind of person she is. She also has an addictive personality and tends to overdo drugs and alcohol. By the end of Kiss of Life, she’s clean and sober, but it’s a long road she has to travel.

4. She’s been in love with the same boy since she was 17.

Despite dating suave and sophisticated men from all over the world (she’s partial to rich Italians), she’s only ever loved one boy – Niko Hernandez, a half Puerto-Rican, half Samoan kid from Brooklyn Heights. The two met in high school and she’s never forgotten him. Especially since he’s the one she gave her virginity to… very willingly.

5. Her mother Cassandra has been missing since she was 17.

Kind of how I see Viv… Add freckles and a gap between her two front teeth!

Alcoholic Cassandra St. James has been AWOL under mysterious circumstances since Vivica first left home. Vivica and Holland have never been particularly interested in digging up their mother from whatever hole she fell into, but that will change in Kiss of Life.

6. Vivica is half-Vietnamese.

Cassandra, her mother, is Vietnamese, and her father, Richard, was black. Unlike the rest of the St. James clan, she inherited her mother’s black eyes instead of her father’s golden-brown eyes. She is described as ‘alien-like’ in Breaking the Ice and is not traditionally pretty. Her high school nickname was ‘Ugly’ and, according to O’Donovan in Kiss of Fire, she’s not exactly attractive… but there’s something about her that catches the eye and holds it.

7.Β  She’s friends with rock star Cee from The Burning One.

I’ve mentioned before that The Burning One was supposed to be a spin-off of Kiss of Life, but I jumped the gun on Cee’s story. Well, in Kiss of Life, we’ll catch up with Cee and Indira and see how those two crazy cats are dealing with wedded bliss.

8. She’s a liar.

Vivica is a liar who will say anything to get what she wants. She will also blackmail, cheat, and steal and has no qualms about it. She comes from a very hardscrabble childhood and she’s convinced that if she doesn’t take what she wants, she’ll never get it. Obviously, she has a huge hill to climb if she’s ever going to be honest with herself and admit what she really needs from Niko and her family.

9. Her father died under mysterious circumstances.

Richard St. James died when Vivica was very young and what happened on the night of his death remains a mystery. The only thing everyone knows for sure – Cassandra was at his side the night of the car accident that took his life. Cassandra’s the only one who knows the truth, but she’s not talking.

10. Her favorite cereal is Cocoa Puffs, but she’ll settle for Lucky Charms.

Vivica can often be found with her hand in a box of dry cereal, munching away as if her life depended on it. Vivica grew up in a house where there was often nothing but dry cereal to eat, so to her, there’s nothing more comforting than a handful of Cocoa Puffs. She’s eaten in some of the finest restaurants in the world, but give her a box of cereal and she’s set.

So there you have it. My girl Vivvy is one tough nut to crack, but it’s going to be so fun to finish her and Niko’s story! I can’t wait!

To Stand Alone Or Not To Stand Alone…

So I decided to shake up the release schedule, just a bit. I’ve pushed Stone Cold Knockout back to August so that I can focus on finishing up a stand alone novella called Flower in the Desert.

Love this colorful cover!

Why, you may ask?

The short answer is that I don’t want to rush SCK, which is the first novel in my new House of Pain series. The first book in a series is always the most read, and it is also often the deciding factor on whether people will continue to read the other books in the series or not. So for that reason, I’m taking my time on it. I’m letting it marinate. But it’s gonna be REAL GOOD, I swear.

Which brings me to Flower in the Desert. I’m a (teeny-bit) scared to publish another stand alone because my last stand alone, The Burning One, was such a flop. Full disclosure- The Burning One is my worst selling title by far, despite the fact that it’s gotten decent reviews. I also think it’s my best plotted book so far and the characters are really interesting, but hey, I’m biased.

I contribute low sales to several factors:

1) The Heroine is British-Indian, not black.The Hero is black, not white. BW/WM is the most popular romantic pairing in IR, currently. Also, she’s 35 and he’s 26 when the book starts out. The age difference might turn some readers off.

2) It’s a rock-star romance, which means there’s drug use and some kinky sexual stuff going on. Not everyone’s cuppa.

3) It’s a stand alone! Stand alones are tricky. Even though reviewers often decry cliffie endings, romantic series still rule the day. I am hoping that a tie-in with Kiss of Life will maybe convince readers to give this one a shot. Originally, Cee was supposed to be introduced in Kiss of Life, and then have his own spin-off, but I kind of jumped the gun on his story. Oopsie!

4) Price. I’ve pretty much kept The Burning One at $2.99 because I didn’t have anything else at that price point, now that the St. James Family books are $3.99. I played around with it at $0.99, and it did sell better, but not good enough to warrant keeping it that low and not making money. However, once SCK comes out, I might drop the price permanently. It is a full novel though, not a novella, so I feel kind of weird having it at $0.99. However, the more books I have out, the more I can play around with price in the future.

So why might Flower in the Desert be different? Well, first of all, it’ll be permanently priced at $0.99! That’s exciting! It’s also a different genre, romantic suspense. Lastly, the Heroine, Ruby, is black and the Hero, Jase, is Native American. I’ve been wanting to write a Native American hero for awhile. I told you guys in an earlier post about my love for the old western romances of yore. Unfortunately, they aren’t really in vogue right now. Flower in the Desert is kind of a throwback to those old romances, but set in modern times. Ruby and Jase have to lean on each other to survive in the unforgiving desert of the Grand Canyon. I’m having fun writing it, that’s for sure.

So look for Flower in the Desert soon! I’ll have a blurb up later this week. πŸ™‚