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?

 

First Blog Post of 2015?

So, I realize that March 23rd should not be the first blog post of 2015.

I realize that’s a fail.

I apologize, not only for that, but for generally disappearing off the face of the planet since this year started. Basically, if anything at all has happened since January began, I don’t know about it. If you have read/reviewed/rated my books, thank you so much! I have done exactly zero promoting this year, so the few books that have sold have been a lovely surprise.

Unfortunately I’m really behind at life right now. I had planned (though only a few people knew this anyway) to have the sequels to Irreparable Damage and Because of You out by April. This is not going to happen for a few reasons. One, my cover designer also disappeared for a little while and I couldn’t get in touch with her, and I cannot release After You (Because of You #2) without a cover even if it was finished. But also, it isn’t finished. It’s half-finished, as it was in January, which is the last time I touched it. Irreparable Lives is in exactly the same place–first draft half finished, hasn’t been written since January. I already have the cover for Irreparable Lives, so that one is under control. As soon as I finish writing/editing/etc, I will be able to release that one. After You…I’m not positive when it will be released now, because I haven’t heard back about the cover yet. (Also I have to finish it.) The cover is my main concern though, it usually takes a few months because the designer is pretty booked.

I’m very sorry the books haven’t been released. I’m sorry they haven’t even been finished. This was very much not my plan, but as the Fresh Prince would say, “my life got flipped, turned upside down.” (Are you too young for that reference? You might be; I’m getting old.) The start of this year was the start of a really destructive shitstorm in my personal life and many days just getting out of bed to take care of my kid seemed like far too much to ask. I don’t usually get writer’s block, and I wasn’t technically even blocked, my brain was just fried, I had no motivation, and my plate was just too full to add writing to it. Particularly what I needed to be writing. The themes of my books made writing them during this time particularly impossible, so rather than force little bit by little bit to meet an arbitrary deadline that was only in my mind, I decided to steer clear of both manuscripts until I could get my head back in the game.

Which I think was a good call.

I am finally getting my personal life back into some semblance of order, so if not today (probably not today, as my schedule is pretty full) then tomorrow I am going to get back to work on Derek and Nikki’s story, as well as Ethan and Willow’s conclusion. If you’re one of the people who has been waiting for them, I’m so sorry they aren’t ready for you yet. I will do my best to get them finished as soon as I can.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to have a little surprise sale!

On Wednesday, March 25th at 7pm PST, Because of You will go on sale for $.99! If you miss that, on Friday it will go up to $1.99 before finally returning to its original price of $3.99 early Saturday morning.

If you haven’t met Derek and Nikki, here’s your chance!

Once again, I apologize for the unexpected delay. Life just sucker punched me and I wasn’t ready for it.

Thank you for your continued interest and support! My readers are pretty much the best. 😉

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

Cover Reveal: Irreparable Damage

Irreparable cover revealTitle: Irreparable Damage (Irreparable, #1)

Author: Sam Mariano

Genre: Dark romance

Release date: October 27, 2014

Irreparable Damage cover

BLURB

Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a Chicago Mafioso, Willow Kensington hasn’t exactly lived the life of a gangster’s progeny—she hardly ever speaks to her father. Instead, she leads a nice, quiet existence at home with her family, surrounded by friends and a steady boyfriend. Her biggest problem is having to pick which college to attend.

Until the day after her 18th birthday, when Willow is abducted by a group of sex-traffickers.

Private investigator Ethan Wilde has too many responsibilities to put his life on the line for a paycheck, but when his latest job has him infiltrating a sex-trafficking ring to rescue a missing girl, he ends up doing just that. Before he can safely extract himself from the violent band of criminals, his loyalties are put to the test, and Ethan ends up getting in much deeper than he ever wanted to.

Despite the heinous acts he’s witnessed and partaken in, Ethan knows their only means of escape is playing out his original scenario—even if a pair of accusing grey eyes might be haunting him for the rest of his life. Even if he’s not so sure he’s one of the good guys anymore. Even if she makes sure everyone knows he isn’t.

Her salvation could be his downfall.

He’s determined to save her anyway.

**This is a DARK ROMANCE, intended for readers 18+ due to possible triggers (she was abducted by sex traffickers) and mature/sensitive themes and content.**

Ethan Wilde teaser

0willow ethan teaser

Irreparable Teaser 3

Finishing Stories

Finishing stories has always bummed me out.

I’m referring more  to writing them than reading them—that sucks too, but when I have to finish writing a story with characters that I love, my entire being rebels against the idea. They aren’t just players taking the story from Point A to Point C for me by this point (and if they are, I’ve done something wrong) they’re people with lives that I’m interested in.

When I used to write only for myself (occasionally I still do) I wrote content that would be unreadable to anyone else—anyone who isn’t invested in them like I am, and that’s fine, because that’s on par with a journal. If I want to write it upside down and in Latin I can; it’s meant for my eyes only.

When I make the decision to share my characters and their story with everyone else, however, there comes a point where I have to say goodbye. And that makes me sad.

Last night—I should say this morning, because while I hadn’t slept yet, it was definitely morning—I was pounding out an important part of Irreparable Damage, and when I finally finished the last of the “night’s” to-do-list scenes, I heaved a sigh of accomplishment, shielded my eyes from the intrusive sun peering through the slats of the blinds, and then realized… I’m almost done with this book. Provided I get some writing done this weekend, the rough draft should be completed by Monday.

I expected to feel excited—this is the fastest I’ve ever finished a story before, and I already have a cover ready and waiting…this brings me one step closer to putting one more book out there into the world!

But it still made me sad.

Which is weird, because in this particular instance, there’s a book two featuring the same characters! So it’s not even goodbye, it’s just, “see ya later!”

Still, book two is not book one, their lives won’t be precisely as they are now, and even though the characters will come back and I will get to write them again, for now…it’s basically over. Just a few more crucial scenes to write, some things to tie up or set up, and then the journey is over for a while.

Plus, then I have to start editing. I hate editing.

That being said, I expect Irreparable Damage to be released in the very beginning of October (maybe even a little sooner, depending on how editing goes) and I’ll get to try out the pre-order feature for the first time!

Look for a blurb and maybe some teasers to pop up very soon! 🙂

My Writing Process: A Blog Tour

My writer friend E.L. Wicker (a young adult novelist, whose first novel should be debuting soon) invited me to take part in this blog tour.

So, what is The Writing Process Blog Tour? Each author who is invited to participate in the blog tour answers four questions about their writing process. The author then introduces three other authors. The idea is to help readers discover other authors that they may not have known about otherwise.

Sounds like fun! So here is a little about my writing process.

What am I working on?
I’m always working on a bunch of different things, but right now I’m primarily working on two projects. One is a secret project that I will be announcing later on this month. 😉
The other story is a dark romance featuring Ethan, a private investigator who goes undercover to retrieve missing girls from a ring of sex traffickers, and Willow, the illegitimate daughter of a rival crime boss who gets mixed up in it.

 

How does my book differ from others in its genre?
Ethan and Willow’s story differs from what I’ve seen in the genre because Ethan isn’t the bad guy, but he does find himself trapped into playing that role briefly when he’s undercover.
It’s also different in that the character evolution isn’t like most of the dark romance I’ve been exposed to. The characters go into the situation as perfectly normal people, and then both of them change based on what they experience.

 


Why do I write what I write?

I usually write a story either because my characters have a story to tell, or because it’s a story that I want to read.

 

How does my writing process work?
My writing process varies. I’ve tried out different things. I used to write purely by the seat of my pants (but then there was a lot of bloat), then I tried to write using a very detailed outline (but then I get bored, because I know everything that happens).
I’ve found that what works bests for me is somewhere in the middle; now when I get a story idea, I grab a notebook or a Word document or my cell phone and write down as much as I can, usually an entire breakdown of the whole story.
The characters are already in my head at this point, and as I’m jotting down everything I know about the story, I get a better idea of who they are. Then I start writing their story and keep lots and lots of notes.
Then when it’s over comes the editing and rewriting to get the book all polished, pretty and ready for publishing!

 

Now it’s my turn to pass the torch!

I’m inviting Nenia Campbell to join the tour, and you can find her post HERE.

Nenia writes various genre-benders, including her IMA series and her Fearscape series. Most recently, she’s decided to try her own spin on BDSM erotica with Bound to Accept.

Nenia Campbell was born and raised in the United States. From infancy, she was fond of books- especially the cardboard ones; they were the most delicious. As she grew older, she learned that ‘devouring a book’ was a phrase not to be taken literally. As a result, she became a very enthusiastic reader. When she discovered that the stories she wanted to read did not exist she became an enthusiastic writer, as well.

More nominees to come soon…

Editing the Chapter That Never Ends

So, I did not realize that the chapter I’m currently editing in Because of You (I don’t even know what chapter it is for you guys, maybe seven or eight) is insanely long.

A lot happens in the chapter, but because the chapter is so incredibly, ridiculously, terribly long compared to the other chapters, I have these feelings for it:

Rookie mistake. There’s really no better way to make a chapter drag than to make it this much longer than any other chapter.

It’s nice that I don’t make these mistakes anymore, but let me tell you, fixing old writing mistakes? Not exactly a walk in the park.

Anyway, the editing was supposed to be done today, and it is not, because this chapter made me want to punch my computer in its face.

Poor computer.

That said, I’m still hoping to have the new cover on and the paperback copies of Because of You available on Amazon this month. So yay for that!

I also made this teaser.
Well, two teasers. One steamier teaser, one lovey teaser.

Because of you sexy teaser

Because of You tame teaser

Review: Beautiful Mistakes by Sam Mariano

Check out this lovely review from another one of the ladies over at Sexyways of Reading! 🙂

Sexyways of Reading

Beautiful Mistakes Cover

SynopsisRed

AVAILABLE NOW ON
AMAZON!

Julie Kingsley has never had much luck when it comes to men.
After impulsively transferring to college in Chicago to move in with her unreliable boyfriend, a chance meeting lands Julie a job offer she can’t turn down—a nanny position caring for an adorable toddler. How hard can that be?

Turns out the job is more than she expected—not because of the baby girl, but her distractingly handsome father, who makes no secret of his marital dissatisfaction.

When Julie finally leaves her boyfriend, her new-found friendship with her employer crosses the line of propriety, and Julie’s whole world is shaken. Unsure where to turn or who to trust, Julie has to deal with the fallout from the decisions that led her to that point.

Join Julie as she learns that, despite the pain, some mistakes are worth making

TeasersRED

Beautiful Mistakes the impossibleavailable now beautiful mistakes

ReviewRED5 stars final
Beautiful MistakesBeautiful Mistakes by Sam Mariano

My rating:

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