Reading Escape

ImageSomeone once said to me “you read so much, it must be like as escape for you”. I remember thinking I wasn’t sure if the comment meant I was lacking somehow in my ability to cope with real life or if it was a simple observation. Either way, I suppose both explanations are true. I read for pleasure. If the book also takes me to another world for a short time, I consider it a bonus (and the mark of a good story). Why apologize? I believe those small hours of “escape” can put my “real life” in perspective and I’m grateful to the authors who do it so well that I want to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon in a world of their creation rather than deal with people or situations I’d rather not…if only for a short time.

My love is romance and I’m done feeling as though it’s a guilty pleasure. It is simply my pleasure. So whatever yours may be….enjoy your Labor Day weekend. I’ll have my fingers on a keyboard or my nose in a book… bliss!

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Washington DC…home of Better Than Good

ImageRecently I’ve been on a whirlwind of travel, which has taken me to two of my favorite cities, namely NYC (my most favorite ever!!) and San Francisco (very close second).  Neither trip was as long as I would have liked but I was just grateful to go.  I have a travel bug.  Sure I was with my mother in NYC, so my sister and I weren’t able to go to any of the bars or clubs we would have otherwise, but hey… next time.  San Francisco was great, but a very short stay as it was all about getting my son back to college.  Plus SF is different for me because it’s relatively easy to get there.  It’s a short plane ride or a long drive.  I prefer the shorter option, but I don’t mind driving when the outcome is honestly one of the most beautiful cityscapes there is.  Incredible natural rugged beauty of the northern coast of California meets impressive architectural elements.  The Bay Bridge and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge are awe inspiring.   I have good friends who live in the area and now my son is back up there for school, so it’s a win win kind of place for me personally.

So why, you may ask, did I choose DC as a setting for Better Than Good?  Wellllll… I didn’t.  The characters did.  I know I sound like a whack job, but it’s the truth.  At least it’s my truth.  I love DC, but I’ve only been a couple of times.  I don’t know it nearly as well as I know NYC or SF, or even LA (NOT my favorite city), but it obviously made an impression.  On my last visit there a couple of years ago, I was lucky to be there on an extremely temperate beginning of September.  The weather was blue skies and a mild seventy-five degrees day and night.  The worst of the crowds seemed to have gone for the summer leaving short lines at the Smithsonian museums.  If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know I’m a sucker for a museum.  I was in heaven waltzing from one museum to the next and paying an entry fee of…nothing!  Unreal!  I had no idea how walkable the city was either, which I appreciated because it’s really the best way to get to know a place.  We walked everywhere.  Including all over Georgetown, where we explored the university and all the cool shops on M Street.  Somewhere, somehow, something registered and that’s where it began for the boys in the Better Than Good series.  

I’m writing this now because although I live and write in southern California, I find myself in DC in my head rather consistently as I work on the third book.  Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and yes, Georgetown feature predominantly.  I’ve been to all and plan to go again (soon, I hope), but it’s been a while and I am very interested and open to hearing what people have to say about these areas.  Any fun facts or trivia anyone would like to share?  Please feel free to contact me… here, twitter, email or facebook… you choose!  

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”  Robert Louis Stevenson

San Francisco!

ImageI’m heading up north tomorrow to San Fran, one of my all time favorite cities.  I know, I know…I already said NYC was my #1 and I’m not changing my mind, but I will say that San Francisco is a close second.  It has all the heart, charm, diversity, history, beauty I sometimes find sorely lacking in the southern half of California.  My opinion only, of course, but it’s my blog and you know how that is.

This trip is a little bittersweet because I’m driving my oldest son back to college.  It’s been wonderful having him home this summer.  He is one of the most charming, sweet, kind young men I know, and he has the most incredible vocabulary.  How many 19 years olds do you know who introduce topics regularly by using words like “incidentally” and “actually” or talks about “proclivity” and “predilection”?  It’s a little weird, but I love that about him.  He’s an original and honestly doesn’t know how to be anything else.  

Unlike last year when he was leaving home for the first time, he seems ready this year and anxious to see his friends.  As a mother of a kid who beats to his own drum, it is a relief to feel somewhat confident he is happy and on the right path. And maybe just maybe, he’ll meet a nice boy up in the city by the bay!  

So wish me a safe journey!  It’s a damn long drive from LA to SF, but it’s worth it!

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Welcome Rob Colton!!… Author of “The Ranch Foreman”

This is my first blog featuring another author!  Yeah!  So let me begin with saying I’m very proud and pleased to have Rob Colton here to tell us about his recently released novella, The Ranch Foreman.  

RanchForeman[The]LGHey Everybody! My name is Rob Colton and I’m here to preview my brand new novella, The Ranch Foreman, which was released on August 14th. This is my first professional publication and I am very excited.

Before I talk about me and the book, I wanted to thank Lane for hosting me today. We’re both new at this and it feels good to work with a fellow “newbie”.

The Ranch Foreman is a contemporary western story, set on a cattle ranch in the Midwest. Young ranch hand Matty Ward finds himself attracted to his new boss, burly cowboy Baxter Hollingsworth. Usually the one being pursued, Matty finds the closeted cowboy a challenge he can’t refuse.

The story went through a lot of changes before ending up in its final edit. I actually had the bulk of the story written about a year ago. I knew that I wanted to try to have it published, but I didn’t want to submit it until it was “just right.” I spent months reading through it, making changes, over and over.

It finally came down to a point where I just had to let go, push my insecurities aside, and send it in. Being my first submission to a publisher, the wait was a killer. When I finally got the email with the contract, I could hardly believe it. I was ecstatic, but at the same time I was terrified.

I’ve been blown away by all of the support so far, both from my community of fellow writers in the genre, and from the readers, those who have supported me through the years and hopefully new ones I’ve picked up with this book.

The Ranch Foreman Blurb:

When Madison “Matty” Ward finds himself out of work and without a place to live, his cousin comes through with a job on the Gates cattle ranch. Despite not knowing anything about herding cattle or taking care of horses, Matty does his best to impress the older hunky foreman, Baxter Hollingsworth. Baxter is drawn to the new young hand, but he’s deeply closeted, and after an openly gay veterinarian shows he’s interested in Matty, Baxter’s repressed feelings lead to an explosive encounter. Baxter then withdraws—leaving Matty feeling angry and used—until an accident forces him to confront his fears.

Pages: 120

Cover Artist: Leah Kaye Suttle

Purchase Links:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4093

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-theranchforeman-1268438-145.html

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EJ7AAH8/ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1116451856?ean=2940148394570

Excerpt:

OVER the next week, things were tense between the two men. Not that things had been all roses before then, but this sucked on a whole new level.

Matty alternated between being pissed at Baxter and then longing for him. It was so completely frustrating. His body didn’t care that he was pissed off; it wanted the big cowboy. It remembered his touch and the way he felt on top of him and inside him.

But his brain said to run fast and run hard.

And then there was his heart. How could Matty have gone and fallen for someone so emotionally unavailable?

But damned if Matty was going to go through one more rejection from that big bastard. He had given Baxter so many chances to get his shit together. Matty saw no way things would get better. He could not live like this. He didn’t make the decision lightly, but he felt it was the best thing to do.

While he helped Miss Ethel prepare Sunday supper, he decided to break the news to her first. He cleared his throat and wiped his damp palms on his jeans. “Miss Ethel?” When the grandmotherly woman looked up at him, Matty almost lost his nerve. “I need to tell you something.”

Seeing how serious Matty was, Ethel wiped her hands on her apron and gave Matty her undivided attention.

“I… well, first, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to work here. It means so much to me.”

Ethel shook her head and held up her hand. “Stop right there before you say something you’ll regret.”

“But—”

She reached out and rubbed her hand soothingly up and down his arm. “Matty. Give him time. He’ll come around.”

Matty shifted between his feet. She didn’t know. She couldn’t possibly. There was no way. “I, um, I don’t know what you mean.”

“Of course you do.” Matty was so shocked he didn’t know how to respond.

Ethel turned back to her mixing bowl. “He doesn’t know how to care for someone,” she continued. “Someone has to teach him.”

He turned and stared out the window, looking at the coming storm clouds. They mirrored the emotions swirling inside of him. “I just don’t know if I can do that….”

Author Bio:

Rob Colton is a software developer by day, and avid reader of romance novels at night. A romantic at heart, he loves stories that feature big, burly men who find true love and happy endings.

Rob grew up in northern Michigan and currently lives in the Atlanta area with his very supportive husband and their very spoiled miniature schnauzer.

Author Links:

http://robcolton.com/

https://www.facebook.com/robcub32

Reader Appreciation Day & My Dad

I’m excited to be participating in RAD tomorrow, Aug.17th!  As a first time published author it’s been amazing to get such fantastic feedback for “Better Than Good”.  (I’m attaching a review from Top 2Bottom, just to emphasize how freaking cool this all is!)  Tomorrow is also the three year anniversary of my dad’s passing.  I know… downer.  My dad was a professor at a couple of prestigious colleges.  He taught English and writing to law students and undergrads.  He was obviously a huge inspiration to me and it feels fitting and just plain right to have finally mustered the courage to start sharing some of the stories in my head.  I don’t know that he would have approved of my subject matter as he was a fine literature sort of snob, but I know he would have approved of the outcome.  Tomorrow…as with most everyday, he’ll be in my thoughts.  He was gone too young (64… lung cancer) and is sorely missed.  But on a day that usually just makes me sad, I’ll also have a reason to celebrate.  I’m thankful and honored to share webspace with some wonderful authors who’ve also had a hand in inspiring me.  “Better Than Good” was dedicated to my husband, the coolest greatest guy I know.   Tomorrow…just for the day, I’m re-dedicating it to my dad.  Here’s to you Dad.  Much love. 

Reader Appreciation Day… August 17th 8am-8pm EST http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheSweetSpotMM/

Top 2Bottom Review: http://top2bottomreviews.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/better-than-good-by-lane-hayes/

New York New York

UnknownI love New York!  It is absolutely my favorite city in the US.   I love San Francisco, DC, Boston and Chicago too, but NYC is still my number 1.  There is a sense of endless possibilities and inspiration no matter where in the city you find yourself…uptown, midtown, downtown.  It’s all there for the taking!   Art, shopping, food, Broadway shows,  music, people watching, more food…  In the words of George Gershwin, “who could ask for anything more?”?

As an art history buff, I adore the museums.  No trip is complete without at least one visit to MOMA.  I love walking… and walking some more.  (Once my husband and I walked from 122nd Street down to Canal.  Yes, the whole freaking island practically!)  I love the serenity of Central Park after a hustle bustle day of shopping.  I love Rockefeller Center and other terribly touristy places just like it (especially when the Xmas tree is on display).  I love Broadway (though I admit I don’t feel the same about Time Square).  My all time favorite section of town is Greenwich Village.  The food, the music and hell… the vibe is somehow better, more alive there. It still has a neighborhood feel to it that is unique and special.

I’ll have three full days in NYC.  Not enough, but I’ll take what I can get.  This trip is with my mom, my sister and my daughter.  We make an effort to do these “Girls’ Trips” once a year.  It’s usually a good time, though I have to admit my mom drives me a little crazy these days.  Oh well… someday my kids will say the same about me (what? you mean they do already?)…

So to the Big Apple I go… excited to take in the energy and hopeful that energy translates into grand inspiration.  I’m halfway through my third book and I admit I’m a little stuck.  I need to remove myself from my computer and let the city speak to me and inspire.

Better Than… Next Book Coming!

It’s been one full month since “Better Than Good” was released.  I had no clue what to expect and I have to say I’ve been overwhelmed by the fantastic reception.  I had no idea how gratifying it would be to have my story accepted and how amazing it was that not only would there be an audience, but they actually want more.  Wow.  

Well, there’s more.  

The second book in the “Better Than…” series has been contracted for publication.  Whew!  If you read “BTG” then you probably have a fairly good idea about who will be featured in the next one.  I’m currently working on the third book… a little more than half way finished.  I’m not wishing summer away by any means, but I’ll certainly have more time to concentrate once school is back in session.

Thank you to those who’ve read the book, liked it and commented.  I truly appreciate the feedback.  I’m going to make an effort to work on my blogging skills so I can invite other authors to come by and share their new releases and stories.   I’m so green at this stuff, it’s a little embarrassing.  But I’m totally enjoying the ride! 

 

 

I’m at MA Church’s Today

Sorry!  Later in the day than I intended to post.  I’ve been traveling the mean streets of Los Angeles, donning my designer girl cap as I checked out the goodies at the LA Mart.  Damn!  There were Xmas trees up…in August!!  I mentally blocked all holiday stress from my head and concentrated on why I was there.  Oh yeah, that had something to do with the holidays too.  Yikes.  Well… in my imaginary world, (which is where I really wanted to be all day) I was able to get a little writing in.  Good but I’m greedy.  I want more!

Thank you Michelle for hosting me on her blog, Decadent Delights!  Check it out…

http://machurch00.blogspot.com/2013/08/welcome-lane-hayes.html?zx=c84d5f63eaa7f238

 

I’m a Sucker for a Good Review

ImageIt’s true.  SidLove loved “BTG” and I’m over the moon!  Not just the 4.5 star rating, but because the review was thoughtful, well-written and the reviewer (Danielle) seemed to totally get the characters.  (Okay,okay the 4.5 stars did help…such a sucker).  Anyway… it’s true that positive feedback helps keep one positive.  I don’t seem quite as bothered by the fact that another Saturday afternoon will be spent sitting on uncomfortable bleacher seats watching girls’ waterpolo.  Sunburn and a bad back… who cares?  

I won’t do it today, but next week I want to find and post a clip I recently watched of Cheyenne Jackson singing “Your Song” accompanied by an acoustic guitar.  I was finishing the editing process with “BTG” when I stumbled on it.  He has a lovely voice and is very easy on the eyes.  But it wasn’t him that got me… it was the acoustic guitar.  Elton John is an amazing pianist and I’d only heard it played that way, but I knew from listening to my husband master or butcher a song he loves on the guitar that all songs can be interpreted on any instrument.   I’ll find it and post it, but check it out for sure!  The words in that song are so beautiful and so romantic… (big sigh)  

I’m off to find a big floppy hat.  The sun is shining and all is well in a 4.5 out of 5 kind of way.

http://sidlove.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/book-review-better-than-good-by-lane-hayes/

Interpretation and Reviews

ImageI have to laugh or cry… I can’t decide.  I swore from the start I wouldn’t read reviews.  What’s the point?  I have read so many books in the past that I adored, even LOVED, only to see a reviewer or a fellow reader say “eh… I didn’t really like that character”  or “just wasn’t my thing” or “totally overrated”.  If I truly loved the book in question, I would be outraged. How dare they voice stupid opinion about genius?  However… a big however… I always looked at those reviews (again from a reader’s standpoint) to help guide my book selection.  I thought I was savvy enough to average out general consensus and if the storyline itself was interesting to me… sold!  So yes, reviews are important.  Period.  

From the other side of the page, as an author, you have created said characters.  No matter how objective you think you are, it is hard not to want to explain the voice of your MCs.  But as an author, you have to let go.  Your words are left to interpretation.  Whether or not you understand how a reader views your work, there is squat you can do to defend it.  Even if they LOVE your characters, you as an author have to leave it be.  Interpretation.  

That is why the written word is so powerful. One word can be have many meanings in many languages.  Every person comes to the proverbial table with different viewpoints, backgrounds and educations.  No two people will ever see things the same way.  

“Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art.” (Susan Sontag).  Well said.