Please welcome today's Guest Maven, Amie Stuart.
Complete with the flash-forwards!
Thanks so much to the Mavens for inviting me! I’m celebrating the release of NAILED this week. NAILED is the single-title erotic romance I turned in January of 2007 to fulfill my first book contract. Eighteen months later, I’m hard at work on SCREWED (the follow-up) on the cusp of finishing up my second contract. Hard as it is to believe, NAILED was two books ago and SCREWED is slated for a Spring 2009 release--there’s no telling what pies I’ll have my little fingers in come nine months from now, which goes to the point of my post.
In this business, when so much of what we do may not see the light of day for months or even years, it is difficult to live in the moment. You find yourself distracted and pulled fifty different ways by contracts and negotiations and trying to write new projects to sell.
I distinctly remember coming back from RWA last year. I’d finished up that first contract, and parted ways with my second agent. Despite the fact I was HORRIBLY sick, I was TERRIFIED I wouldn’t get another contract offer, let alone find another agent! At the encouragement of a friend, I found myself querying new agents and gently nudging my editor weekly about my option book between naps and doctor visits. Lo and Behold, Audrey came through, and I did get another contract. I was so relieved. Except now, I was sick AND under deadline.
I learned a very important lesson, though and as I sit here, near the end of the second book of my contract…I’m getting ready to say something that might get me hit or burned at the stake or stoned. I’m getting ready to say something that just nine short months ago, I would have never believed I’d say.
I’m looking forward to NOT being under contract.
Now, I know there are probably some unpublished authors out there wondering what I’m smoking. I can assure you that I’m perfectly sane. You know all those folks who say that selling to New York is simply trading off one set of worries/issues/problems for another? They’re right. And believe me, I’m not complaining. I know just how lucky I am, and there are writers who would do some mad voodoo to trade places with me, but I’m ready to get off the merry-go-round for a while and catch my breath—-it’s been a whirlwind two years filled with writing, struggles, growth and a search for some balance in my life.
One thing I have learned: Variety really is the spice of life. In the interest of my writer’s sanity, I can’t keep writing the same type of books over and over. To that end, I have a southern fiction proposal I want to polish for my agent. I have a futuristic I want to finish writing because my agent is currently shopping it. I have a contemporary western series I want to go back and rework and see if I can sell to New York, and I want to write some more shorts for Cobblestone’s Wicked line. All things I can’t do when I’m under contract (and, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not a fast writer: I have a full-time dayjob and I’m a single mom with two kids, three cats, a puppy, and a house).
But before I take that much-anticipated break, I have a book to finish.
The first three chapters of NAILED are here. And just for fun, I’ll share a snippet from my current work in progress, since it’s the follow-up to NAILED.
YOUR TURN:Now, I’m going to open up the floor to questions. Ask me anything. But I’m also going to ask you a few…if you’ve sold, how has your life changed? If you haven’t sold to New York, what do you think will change, what do you look forward to?
“You ran off my bodyguard.” Tish propped her hands on her hips, his wig dangling from her fingers.
“Sorry?” he offered up lamely. He wanted the wig and wanted away from her.
“Sorry...my ass! You’re going to take his place.”
She gave him a deadpan look that made his insides shrivel. “Or I call my dad.”
“I have to—“
She snatched her cell phone off the bed and wiggled it at him, a sly grin on her face.
“You’re shitting me.” His shoulders slumped. She had him. She knew it and so did he.
“Never would I shit you,” she drawled. And she looked serious too.
He had to give it one last try. “I really need—“
“I’ll do it. I bet Daddy will be thrilled to know you’re still after Mark.”
Not near as thrilled as John’s dad. The only reason Mark was still alive was because Tish’s brother, Jim, had stepped in and saved his sorry ass before John could finish the job.
“Aren’t you a little old for a bodyguard?”
“No!” Her brows drew together slightly as she morphed from indignant to concerned in seconds. “How old do I look?”
“Old...enough.” Please drop it, please God, let her drop it.
“Old...e-enough.” He nodded for good measure. Drop it, Tish. Drop it now.
“Specifically...” One of her pretty little eyebrows arched.
Shit. “Twenty...” six, seven, and eight clicked off in his head but, “--Thirty,” came out of his mouth.
She gasped, her upper lip curling in horror.
“-ish,” he added hopefully. “Thirty-ish.”
“I’m twenty-seven, and in case you didn’t get the memo, my father’s a powerful man.”
“I know who your father is.” John nodded wondering what the point was.
“He has enemies.”
“I can imagine.”
“Which is why you are going to take Mark’s place. Uh uh--” She waggled a finger at him before he could tell her no. “I don’t go anywhere without a bodyguard. And my best friend is getting married, so for the next four days you will be my bodyguard. Comprende?”
“Com—“ he nodded glumly, “-yeah. Just—“
“Nothing.” Don’t ask me if your ass looks fat because I can’t lie. Not that Tish’s ass looked fat. She actually had a really nice heart-shaped ass that made him think things that could get him killed, but the last girl he’d shared his little “No Lying” problem with had tortured him with questions about her ass, her clothes, her friends, her job, anything she could think of...then dumped him when the fun had worn off.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” She held his wig out to him, letting it dangle from her fingertips. “Go get your stuff.”
He snatched the wig from her hands, turning and using the mirror to, once again, get it on straight. “There’s no reason—“
“There’s every reason. And since you ran my escort off, you just became my boyfriend.”
“What?” he shouted.
“You heard me.” She settled her hands on her hips again. “By the way, what’s your name?”
Fucked? “John...John Collier.”