ACCIDENTAL WITNESS Release Day!

LIVE ACCIDENTAL WITNESS

Title: Accidental Witness (Morelli Family, #1)
Author: Sam Mariano
Genre: Mafia romance (here be dark triggers, mateys!)
Blurb:
Vince Morelli.

The closest I ever wanted to get to him was several rows away in English class. We’d never spoken, but of course I heard the stories about his family. I know they’re dangerous. I know he’s dangerous. Vince never had a reason to notice me, anyway—until I inadvertently witnessed his first mob hit.

His family doesn’t believe in leaving witnesses alive, but Vince seems different. He knows the best thing he can do for me is stay away, but something keeps drawing us together. Despite knowing the risks of getting mixed up with him, I can’t resist. Only problem is, Vince is a package deal—you don’t get him without getting swept up in his family’s dark games.

Now entangled with a notorious Chicago crime family, will my life ever be mine again?

Available on Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon US >> http://amzn.to/2njhMjb
Amazon UK >> https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XVNDYX5
Amazon AU >> https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06XVNDYX5

Amazon CA >> https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XVNDYX5

About the Author

Sam Mariano loves to write edgy, twisty reads with complicated characters you’re left thinking about long after you turn the last page. Her favorite thing about indie publishing is the ability to play by your own rules!
If she isn’t reading one of the thousands of books on her to-read list, writing her next book, or playing with her adorable preschooler, she’s probably at the movie theater watching the new Beauty and the Beast for the 8,001st time. She regrets nothing!

Cover Reveal: Accidental Witness (Morelli Family, #1)

I’m so excited for you guys to meet my favorite character!

description

March 27th, Accidental Witness will be releasing on Amazon (it will also be available on Kindle Unlimited)!

Title: Accidental Witness (Morelli Family, #1)
Author: Sam Mariano
Genre: Mafia romance (here be dark triggers, mateys!)
Releasing: March 27, 2017
Blurb:
Vince Morelli.

The closest I ever wanted to get to him was several rows away in English class. We’d never spoken, but of course I heard the stories about his family. I know they’re dangerous. I know he’s dangerous. Vince never had a reason to notice me, anyway—until I inadvertently witnessed his first mob hit.

His family doesn’t believe in leaving witnesses alive, but Vince seems different. He knows the best thing he can do for me is stay away, but something keeps drawing us together. Despite knowing the risks of getting mixed up with him, I can’t resist. Only problem is, Vince is a package deal—you don’t get him without getting swept up in his family’s dark games.

Now entangled with a notorious Chicago crime family, will my life ever be mine again?

description

Also, if you haven’t read The Complete Irreparable Boxed Set, now would be a very good time to start! 😉

The Book You Fall For

I began writing for the same reason a lot of people probably do: it made me happy.
I had stories in my head, characters I wanted to explore, and the easiest way to do that was to write them a story.

The problem with publishing those stories (for me, not for everybody) is that sometimes you lose that feeling, but you still have to keep going. Occasionally you never even get it.

Writing a new book is like meeting a new love. You never love two people exactly the same way or for exactly the same length of time. Every single one is different, and every single one fits you differently. Sometimes (usually when I’m working on a different story) a new story hits me like a tsunami, it’s all I can think about, it pours out of my fingertips, and sleep is the only thing stopping me from writing it all at once.

That’s the best. The absolute best.

I started a new project, a passion project, and I’m certainly not ready to announce anything about it yet, but all I’ll say at this point is that I’m absolutely smitten. I’m so in love with this book. I’m convinced it’s The One. I’m preemptively afraid for every book I have to write after it, because how can I ever love another as I love this one?

I’m in the honeymoon phase. I’m feeling young again! We just got together and things are going great. (Which is funny, because boy, is this NOT how I do love in real life, with actual people. LOL.) Ain’t No Other Book/Hero for me, no sir, no way.

There will be, of course. Because like relationships, the honeymoon will end, there will be struggles, times I have to plant myself in front of the computer and yank words out of my brain. There are days like that with every book (for me, especially at the end. I hate writing endings… I guess I never want to break up. :D) but for now… for now, I’m in love.

Anyway, when I can share this story with you (and I hope that’s soon), I hope you love it as much as I do. 🙂

-Sam Mariano

Cover Reveal: The Last Boss’ Daughter

The end of the year is almost here, and with 2017 brings a fuller book release schedule than 2016 (though since I only released one new book and one boxed set containing said new book, that’s not hard to beat).

The first book I will be releasing is my dark, fairy-tale-inspired The Last Boss’ Daughter. You’ll probably be able to guess which tale inspired it by the cover. 😉

cover-reveal

Title: The Last Boss’ Daughter

Author: Sam Mariano

Genre: romance

Release date: February 9, 2017

Add to your to-read list: Goodreads

 

BLURB

Freedom.

Annabelle De Luca craved it.

On the heels of her beloved father’s murder, betrayed by those closest to her, Annabelle had a choice to make: accept the man responsible and fall in line, or suffer the consequences. Never one to back down, she rejected her new stepfather—then spent years ignoring his best efforts to crush her spirit.

Atonement.

Liam Hunt never needed it.

Some people deny the darkest sides of themselves; Liam’s made a career out of his. Never once has he hesitated to pull the trigger, but an unexpected encounter with Annabelle leads to feelings he hasn’t experienced before—and doubts about his current assignment.

Liam knows he should leave her alone, keep his head down, and do what he’s being paid to do, but he can’t bring himself to stay away. He’s the last person anyone would classify a hero, but he can’t shake the doomed desire to be hers.

He shouldn’t want her.

She shouldn’t trust him.

On a course set for utter devastation, can these forbidden lovers find their way to happily ever after?

Inspired by the classic tale Snow White, The Last Boss’ Daughter is a modernized, darker re-imagining.

last-boss-daughter-ebook-cover

Fall is Here!

I love fall.

Just today while my little one was riding bikes with her friend outside, I noticed the leaves crunching beneath my feet for the first time this season. Sigh. 😀

Anyway.

This fall is far busier than usual for me. I’m taking night classes 3 nights a week and I work 2 jobs outside of authoring, so my schedule is ridiculous. On top of that (and normal life stuff, like my little one and the time I lose every day mindlessly scrolling through Facebook) I’m also working on writing projects. I’ve been brimming with ideas lately. Seriously, I wish I still  had the ability to just spend hours of every day writing, because if I could, I’d be able to bang out so many manuscripts right now. I don’t, and most of these ideas will dwindle away (my ideas don’t linger if I don’t start on them right away; that would be too easy!) but one in particular struck with a vengeance and stuck. I wrote down the outline immediately, started writing it, and despite my schedule, I’ve invested many hours pounding away at my keyboard instead of studying. Whoops.

But that means I have a new release right around the corner!

I’m a few thousand words from a finished manuscript, I just have to find time to write them. (I should have that time this weekend, so it should be finished and ready for a read-through and revisions by next week!)

That’s really exciting. Because two months ago? I didn’t even know these characters yet. I love when I get carried away and write a story that fast. (There’s plenty to fix in edits, but there always is.)

I have a proofreader all lined up for after edits. Evelyn over at Summer’s Eve Reads has started proofreading, and she kindly booked me for November. That means by early December… I should have ARCs ready!

This book is called The Last Boss’ Daughter, and it’s a modernized, dark re-imagining of Snow White. (Loosely. I don’t follow the fairy tale exactly or anything, but it was part of my inspiration in many respects.)

I’m really excited to introduce Annabelle and Liam into the world. I’m really, really excited to have a finished manuscript to build on.

Yay fall!

 

Quick Note About Irreparable Series

As if I’m capable of brevity. LOL.

Anyway.

Irrepar Sale

http://amzn.to/29D8eL8

Since Irreparable Lives is releasing next week, Irreparable Damage is on sale this week (not on co.uk, sorry; I had this sale for co.uk last week, but nobody bought any, haha)! So go on and grab a copy if you want to, this is the best time–cheap price and hardly any wait at all for the sequel.

As for the Irreparable Boxed Set… Originally my intention was to release it at the same time as the sequel. Irreparable Damage would be removed from KDP/KindleUnlimited and published on iBooks and many other retailers, as well as Irreparable Lives, and I was going to publish the boxed set as an Amazon exclusive. Best outcome for everyone.

Instead of doing that, however, I’m going to release Irreparable Lives as Amazon exclusive next week, but only for 3 months. After only one term with KDP Select (the exclusivity program that allows books to be in KU, but disallows selling them on other platforms) I’m going to pull Irreparable Lives AND Irreparable Damage from KDP and publish them on other retailers. At the same time, I’m going to release the Irreparable Boxed Set. It will be Amazon-exclusive and KU readers will be able to borrow it. It won’t be available on iBooks or Kobo or any of the other platforms, but the individual books will. So everyone will be able to get their hands on the book if they so desire, one way or another.

I wanted to get this all done at the same time, but work and moving and just general life-stuff… my plate was too full. This schedule is much more realistic. (Additionally, given my non-author work schedule the rest of this year, I doubt I’m going to be able to release another book this year. When I made all of these plans, I was focused mainly on my author career, and that’s no longer fiscally possible. Irreparable Lives and the boxed set has been hard enough to squeeze in. 😦 After You will have to be released in 2017.)

But, it’s almost here! One more week!

On that note, a teaser:

irreparable lives teaser

Happy reading! 🙂

 

 

The Release Date

To those of you who have read my terribly taboo romance, Irreparable Damage, I apologize.

Especially if you bought it when it first came out, now over a year ago. This was never my intention. In fact, a long wait between books was the very last thing I wanted to do.

To explain: I hatched the idea for my Irreparable books the summer before last. Feverishly. I outlined each book in a notebook next to my laptop, and then I spent every night—long into the wee hours, too often, frankly—pounding away at my keyboard, beginning Ethan and Willow’s story. When I finished it, I was so proud of how quickly I’d done it. I launched into writing the next book immediately, and every night bled into morning as I would write and write, and I loved the characters, and I was so wrapped up in their story. It would be the quickest I’d ever completed a duet before (unpublished or published). I was optimistic about what it meant for future book releases.

And then, after 28,000 or so words, I got my heart broken. Blown to bits. Entire world shattered and ripped out from under me. That sort of thing. The sort of thing that doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s catastrophic.

Some people write through their tragedy. I’ve done that before. I couldn’t this time. I’d never been quite so decimated. Making matters worse, there are elements of this series and this story and these characters that…well, I couldn’t handle. For a long, long time, I couldn’t handle any writing at all. For a long time, I couldn’t even drag myself out of bed. I felt worthless for a while. I lost my confidence, a thing that had never actually happened in my adult life, and with it, not just my ability to write but my desire. I didn’t enjoy writing anymore. For the first time in my life, for a whole year of my life, nothing about writing interested me. The characters stopped talking. Inspiration dried up. Just looking at a word document…it felt like sitting in an algebra class (and if you knew me, you’d know that’s bad). Frankly, I began to fear I would never write again. My mindset at the time, I wasn’t even disappointed because I’m a writer, it’s part of my identity (I’d lost so many other parts of my identity, one more seemed almost inconsequential at that point), something I’d found joy in for half my life, but I was horrified at the thought of not finishing a series for the readers who had invested in my book and my characters. There are so many books out there to choose from and they chose mine, and I was letting them down. It was never an option. Even if Irreparable Lives and After You were the last things I ever wrote outside of a grocery list, I was going to finish them.

But I also didn’t want to produce inconsistent garbage just because writing it had become a chore to me. So I waited. And waited. And waited some more. My guilt grew, but you know, healing takes time.

Eventually the time came that I opened up my document and I didn’t fill up with hatred. I read what was finished, and then I wrote, just a little bit. A few hundred words. My drive wasn’t back, but it was progress.

Next time—weeks later, possibly even months—I wrote a little bit more.

Now I’m writing it regularly. One year and one month past the expected release date, I still haven’t finished the first draft.

But I’m close. Finally. I know what I still have to write—just a couple of scenes left. Finally.

Then rewrites. Because of the tumultuous journey I’ve been on while writing this book, I expect rewrites to be more extensive this time around. Given the hiatus, there’s some issue with flow at a certain part of the book, I’ll need to fix that.

But I’m finally crossing the finish line.

I was finally able to set a release date.

It’s July 19, 2016.

I’m going to release a box set, as well. (Amazon exclusive, so it will be available to Kindle Unlimited readers.)

I don’t anticipate anything like this happening again, but I also never anticipated it happening the first time. I’m going to attempt to change my release pattern going forward though, just in case. There are still some unstable areas in my life, and my personal circumstances have changed, drastically reducing how much writing time I have. My drive to write and my ideas are finally coming back, but we’re not all the way back to healthy yet. In the meantime, to prevent this happening again, my plan is to not release book number one until book number two has a finished first draft. It may mean I don’t release books as often as I intended to when I began my writing career. I know there are plenty of other books out there so it won’t make a difference to the world, but it does to me, and I’m sorry that I won’t be able to focus on my writing career the way I planned to. I no longer have the support system I had then, and as I’m sure you’ve gleaned, being an indie writer doesn’t rake in Taylor Swift dollars. I will still be writing and releasing books. I will not be writing and releasing 3-4 books a year, as originally intended. :\ If I get Irreparable Lives and After You both published this year, I will consider that a success at this point.

Anyway, I just thought I owed readers who have been waiting an explanation. Setting a 2015 release date and then not having the book out a year later is so not my style. Life just got in the way this time.

Thank you for reading my books! 🙂

-Sam Mariano

On Writing Characters in Untenable Circumstances

I write things.

More specifically, I write stories that I make up featuring characters I mentally spawned going on journeys I engineered myself. And more often than not, they’re bad. Not the stories (I hope), but the characters, their circumstances, their choices, what have you–something is kinda bad. That’s just how it tends to go.

With some stories it’s harder than others. My Irreparable books, I was sitting on my couch summer before last and I had this idea of this really terrible situation I could put all of these poor characters in, and the whole aim of this series (it was originally going to be 3 installments, but it’s actually only 2 now) was to decimate everything and see what was left. It was to put them through horrible scenarios and then build something with the irreparable pieces of their former lives. Not to say there’s no happy ending, but given the circumstances, given what’s done and what happens and just…all of the destruction, there’s a limit to how tidy things can ever really be. I’m going against nature by tying these characters together, I’m tying triggers into the mix and ensuring that it’s as hard as I can possibly make it to keep these characters both likeable and self-respecting.

It’s hard. Ethan, I’m finding, is the hardest. Because it’s a romance. Taboo, yes, but a romance. And it’s not a straight dark romance, like a WIP to eventually be revealed, where I can sort of unapologetically throw heinous things out there and be like, “He’s a bad guy, what do you expect?”

Ethan’s not a bad guy. He’s not an anti-hero. But sometimes it’s hard as hell to make him a hero, too. Especially considering I don’t just want him to be the good guy for one damaged young woman, I also don’t want him to be a heel to a woman whose years of love and life he completely betrayed. Nothing about his character’s journey is ever easy. He has a road full of difficult decisions and responses to situations he didn’t mean to create in the first place. All the while, he wants to be the hero of two opposing stories.

This isn’t possible. Maybe it is, but I’m probably not going to pull that off. Rather, Ethan isn’t. I know this because I write him, and the more I try to make him a good guy in one respect, the less he feels like the good guy in the other. I’m pulling him in several different (untenable and a bit unnatural) directions, and it’s probably pushing the release date even more (because when I finish doing the Stretch Armstrong on him, I’m gonna have some overall revisions to do), but at this point, this book isn’t the “3 months of fall/winter” writing that I planned it to be, and I just really want to get the ending right. I know it won’t please everyone, I know some people will struggle with his struggle/what inevitably makes him a better man than he could be, but it’s just who he is. The heroine loves him for/sometimes despite it, and hopefully everyone else will, too.

I shared this Facebook post today because it’s so true. Published and unpublished, I’ve written some crazy stuff. It’s just fiction. I’m just spinning a tale, trying to weave some reality and fiction together to tell a story that might entertain you for a few hours. I’m not condoning something because I write it. Some readers have this feeling like we should be punished for writing in distasteful scenarios, but I have news for them: we are, sometimes when we’re writing the story, and definitely later when it comes time to try to find reviewers!

God help anyone who reads my books looking for tips on how to navigate their own love life.

Anyway. It’s 4 am and I should really go to sleep, but I just left Ethan in a really crummy situation…so maybe I should write a little bit more….

Eh, on second thought, that’s Tomorrow Sam’s problem. 🙂

 

 

What? I wrote a blog post? No way!

Hi guys!

Okay, so we could talk about how I posted a year ago all like, “hey, my personal shitstorm is over, on with the book stuff!” But let’s not. Let’s just acknowledge that sometimes I’m super wrong about things and move on.

Anyway. I have a super secret project I’ve been working on. It has a working title, but let’s not mention it anyway just in case someone decides to release a book by that name a month before I’m ready to release or something. Super Secret Project is a long time in the making; I’ve known the characters for somewhere around a decade now, but I always said that one was only for me (mostly because it was before dark romance/dark erotica was a thing, and I was pretty sure nobody would like it). Well, not anymore. I did crop out and reign in the story and the characters quite a bit in consideration of the readers, but there are some elements I just can’t do away with without sacrificing the meat of the characters (and frankly, the plot of the story).

And that got me thinking. Why do I have to? (I mean, because I would like to actually sell some books, I guess, but…) Why is it that authors who write gruesome murder mysteries or fantasies wherein they slaughter ALL OF THE PEOPLE (you know who you are…) are cool, but you tack “romance” onto ugly things, and suddenly you’re a sadistic, twisted hater of all things sane.

It’s all fiction.

I’ve seen readers leave comments on a dark romance author’s Facebook page saying that they hoped someone kidnapped her from her home and raped her so that she could see how much fun it was–just because she wrote a captive romance. Suddenly writing a piece of fiction means you advocate everything between the pages.

NO.

Anyway, amid the murder and mayhem in Super Secret WIP, I’m writing the unthinkable: a love triangle. I know, I know. Originally when I was working out the plot, I decided to try to filter it out, rewrite the story in a different way and dilute the love triangle until Dude #2 (boy, would he loathe being called that) only toy-flirted in a couple of scenes but was largely harmless.

But you know what? It didn’t work. It didn’t work because it wasn’t true to the character, it wasn’t true to the story, and I just couldn’t do it. So I put it all back, listened to my characters, let them scorch and salt the earth beneath their feet. And now it works.

I’ve still been angsting, as these scenes pour out of my fingertips, how am I going to get people interested in this book? How will I market it? I’ve anticipated the apology/PSA I’ll have to write like I did with Irreparable Damage, I’ve wondered, could I somehow downplay this part enough that people won’t turn into the before-person in the Snickers commercial?

I realized the answer was no. I realized instead of trying to “I’m sorry don’t hate me I’m sorry you know what maybe don’t even read the book you’ll definitely hate it” the people who aren’t going to like my book, no matter how much I dress it up, because it just isn’t their kind of book, I’m going to embrace the love triangle. Target it to people who may like it. What a concept, right?

What about you? Are love triangles an automatic no for you? What are your hard limits on a book?

 

The Book I Swore I’d Never Write

On September 1st, 2007, I finished the lengthy prologue of Because of You.

It took me literally years to finish that story, not only because of school and work (mostly because of school and work) but because the characters in that book, Nikki and Derek, took an immense toll on me. Also because when I started that story, I didn’t know how it was going to end. (I was a true pantser back in the day.)

The ending that I initially intended would have made it a completely different book, as I would have changed a major part of the plot, but over time I realized that was cheating. I wanted Because of You to be authentic; I could not compromise the overall vision, no matter what. I knew what role I wanted Nikki to play in Derek’s life (especially from the outside) and I knew how important he would be in hers. I knew Nikki’s love story, and I wanted to share it. I had a very specific audience in mind for that book, and I wanted to be honest with them…but I also wanted to write a story people would like.

I did come up with several suitable endings, and the one that I was honestly leaning toward for probably a year, maybe even two was WHOLLY AND COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. It was also an epilogue, but it would have taken place during college…it would have also completely undermined certain aspects of Nikki’s relationship with Derek. I came up with it at work one day when I was feeling particularly pissed off/empowered, but it was not right for Nikki or the story.

At the end of the day, I decided not to do it. I had a new idea, one that I liked much better/suited them much better, and I thought, “Hey, you never know, maybe I’ll do a sequel where Nikki and Derek are background characters” (which is insane, and I don’t know what I was thinking). I wrote one chapter of that sequel, realized it was a horrible idea, and scrapped it. I thought I was done with the characters (although I’d say roughly 90% of the people who read Because of You have always disagreed with me on that).

That was when I began doubling down on the whole “guys, I’m sorry, but this book is never, ever, ever going to get a sequel. Seriously. Ever. I’m not going to write it. Not ever.”

And I believed that, because the sequel that went with the epilogue was not right, and because of the epilogue, it was the only one I could actually do.

The other reason, and I forgot about it until I got a couple chapters into After You, is this: writing these characters is HARD. Emotionally. I can’t even tell you how taxing it is. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the easiest explanation is that I have to pull from very deeply within myself to become Nikki. She isn’t easily accessible. Her feelings, especially now, are so difficult to coax out of her, and she’s ashamed of even having feelings—so she doesn’t want to let them out/own up to them. Nikki is a damaged character. But I also wrote her in first person POV in the first book, and I can’t change the POV to third (which I’m much more comfortable with) just because it’s easier for me. Consequently, I have to become Nikki when I write her story. (I suspect Nikki is the reason I dislike writing in 1st person to begin with.)

I had forgotten how many tears I shed writing Because of You—buckets and buckets. I can remember very distinct instances of trying to type, but not being able to see the monitor through the tears. Just setting the laptop aside, curling up in bed and crying, because I was so emotionally spent.

I only remembered when I got back into that mindset and started writing the sequel. I don’t like to cry, that’s probably part of why I was so adamantly against the sequel and I just blocked it out, but… it is what it is. It will be tough at times. It’s easier on readers, I’m sure (I’ve gotten reports of crying from Because of You, of course, but reader crying and writer crying are different levels of agony) but channeling the right emotions to evoke the scenes necessary to do this couple justice…is a pain. Literally.

At the end of the day, I do want to give my readers what they want, but I can also only write the stories my characters allow, otherwise it’s Writer’s Block City, population: me. I have some very stubborn characters, typically one per story. Some are flexible, some are not. Nikki is not flexible. I have almost no control over her. Nikki will tell me and the rest of the world to fuck off if I try to manipulate her. She may be interpreted many ways by many different people, but let me tell you, at her core, Nikki has a quiet strength; she has a spine of steel and she wants what she wants. She feels what she feels, and she’s not sorry for it.

The good news is, my characters are all cooperating right now and I believe pretty much everyone will be happy with this sequel. I hope so. I’m aware that I’m too emotionally biased while writing it to know for sure, but I’m not going to rush the release, because I want to be able to revise the hell out of this book if I need to. My priority is making sure that as many readers as possible are on board and satisfied with the conclusion. When I first started the book, that felt much more daunting than it does now (characters were hassling me) but I think I’ve finally hit that “Eureka!” geyser that I needed. I finally understand everyone’s motivations and what’s going on.

So, I know some people were wondering why now, after years of saying no, I suddenly announced a sequel. It’s because the characters are finally ready for one. Because, when I was making the paperback version of Because of You and I thought, “Hey, I wonder what would happen if I removed the epilogue” the answer popped into my head almost instantaneously. This is what would happen.
After You, coming sometime in 2015.

“Been a long road since those hands I left my tears in, but I know it’s never really over…”

-Sober, Kelly Clarkson