Naked for National Nude Day!

I’ve missed it by a day but oh well, July 14th is National Nude Day in the US.  That’s cool, but don’t count on me expressing any desires to actually be nude in celebration or anything, cuz that won’t be happening…ever.  The date is interesting though because one year ago, nearly to the day, something happened that changed my life.

The summer was going as it usually does, kids home all day, husband home with us (both teachers on summer vacation) and various summery activities going on around me.  So the third week of July 2012 comes and that is when the life-changing event happened.  My husband took our two sons away for a week at Boy Scout Camp.  I love that week every summer when they all go to Boy Scout Camp.  It’s my favorite.  I have precious solitude and know I’ll get a lot of writing done.  House stays clean.  I don’t have to cook anything unless I want to eat.  I can swim in my pool without children splashing around in there.  I get to stay up late watching HBO and Showtime without worry that a kid will see what I’m watching.  *all the shows I like to watch are inappropriate for children*  Basically, I am a very happy woman alone with my free time.

I got right to work with a manuscript that needed some attention.  I wrote during the day and then in the evening I combed over online stock photo sights and looked for images that could potentially go onto my book cover.  On the second night of my domestic freedom, I found an image that changed everything.

The picture that inspired me.

The picture that inspired me.

It was a beautiful picture of a naked woman posing in an unconventional way but so perfect everything just clicked into place all in an instant.  A serendipitous moment.  I thought about the picture and what it would be like to be a nude model and meet the man who bought your portrait.  My first indie published book was born in that moment with just the seed of an idea and a picture.  Naked, The Blackstone Affair Book 1 was that story.  I sat down and wrote the opening chapter right then and had to set aside the other manuscript I was working on.  I wrote like a fiend for three weeks until it was done.  I couldn’t stop writing and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  The whole idea and story pretty much took over my life for the rest of the summer.

I was scared to self-publish Naked, because I had only written books for one small press publisher and knew next to nothing about how to go off independently all on my own.  But I was blessed with the wise words and helpful encouragement from a dear friend and fellow author, Belinda Boring, who got me to press ‘publish’ on KDP back in August of 2012.  What happened next was a whirlwind-roller-coaster–ride-of-crazy that didn’t really stop until after the holidays.  The books became bestsellers, landed me my super agent, and eventually a traditional publishing contract with Atria Books.  It’s all a blur to me now.  A crazy, scary, unbelievable blur with Christmas decorations and those little chocolate bottles with liqueur inside, mixed in. True story.

Naked went on to make the New York Times and so did its sequels, All In and Eyes Wide Open. Nobody was more surprised than I was, and nobody could have told me then, that one year later I would be a full time writer going to book signings and conventions with lovely people standing in line to meet me.  The whole concept is still bewildering and I imagine it will stay that way to some degree for the rest of my life.

The book that resulted.

The book that resulted.

So back to my original idea for this post–National Nude Day.  It was a good day for me to reflect on what inspired me to even write the book that changed my life in the first place.  A beautiful nude image.  Never give up on your dreams, you never know where they can lead.  Look where a naked picture took me!!!

 

xxoo R

All In, The Blackstone Affair Part 2

I promised to reveal the cover this weekend for All In.  Well here it is.  I can thank Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs for working her magic yet again.  I love how it turned out and love the expressiveness in the hand.  Hands fascinate me in general so based on the fact that Ethan Blackstone is known for touching his girl all the time, I thought this cover worked perfectly for their story.  I also promised an excerpt so here goes.  You will see that Mr. Blackstone is still explaining things to Brynne in that very direct way of his.  *snickers*  He can do blunt and scorchingly sexy better than any man I know and it only makes me love him more.

Excerpt~

“Where are we going?” she asked.

“First?  We’re going to get some food.”  It came out a little harsher than I wanted it to.

She nodded at me and then looked away, out the window.

“After you eat we’ll get a new phone and mobile number for you.”

She looked down at her lap and nodded again.  I wanted to pull her into my arms but I held off.

“Then I’m taking you home.  My place—home.”

“No, Ethan, that’s not a good idea,” she whispered.

“Fuck good ideas,” I exploded.  “Would you at least look at me?”  She turned her eyes up to mine and smoldered in the seat, a hint of red fire flickering and making them look very brown.  I wanted to drag her to me and shake her, making her understand that this bullshit break-up was a thing of the past.  She was coming home with me, period.  I turned the key in the ignition.

“What do you want from me, Ethan?”

“That’s easy.”  I made a rude noise.  “I want to go back to one week ago.  I want to be back in my office fucking on my desk with you wrapped around me!  I want your body underneath mine looking up at me with some expression other than the one I saw when you left me at the lifts!”  I rested my forehead on the steering wheel.

“Okay…Ethan.”  Her voice sounded shaky and more than a little defeated.

“Okay…Ethan?” I mocked, pulling my head up to look her over.  “What does that mean?  Okay I’m coming home with you?  Okay to you and me?  What?  I need more from you, Brynne.”

~*~

Who is Ethan Blackstone?

Okay, I admit it.  I used him.  And he’s good right?  My muse for Ethan Blackstone in Naked, The Blackstone Affair Part 1 is none other than male supermodel, David Gandy.  I make it easy for readers to figure this out too.  His description is pretty clear to anyone who knows who this man is.  And surprise, surprise…he is British!  Read the blurb on the cover of Live magazine and you will know why he is so famous.  “The world’s only male supermodel” and for very good reason.  Just look at him!

So now that the hero is out of the bag I will get back to writing more on The Blackstone Affair, Part 2–All In.  Mr. Blackstone has some  work to do.  *snickers*

Five Flames for Naked~

Authors love a smokin review.  So I am really happy about this one, from Kelly Oakes at DemonLovers Books & More.  She made my day.  Naked is now up at Amazon and Barnes & Noble–and getting some excellent props from readers.  Please know I am hard at work on Part 2 as I write this…we still have much more to come from Mr. Blackstone (to torture the ladies with).  ~  Raine