Alison Kent's Blog
December 31, 2014
Don’t call it a comb-back; I’ll have hair for years.
I’m scared. I’m scared that my abilities are gone. I’m scared that I’m going to fuck this up. And I’m scared of you.
I don’t want to start, but I will.
This is an invocation for anyone who hasn’t begun, who’s stuck in a terrible place between zero and one.
Let me realize that my past failures at follow-through are no indication of my future performance. They’re just healthy little fires that are going to warm up my ass.
If my FILDI (fuck it let’s do it) is strong, let me keep him in a velvet box until I really, really need him. If my FILDI is weak let me feed him oranges and not let him gorge himself on ego and arrogance.
Let me not hit up my Facebook like it’s a crack pipe Keep the browser closed.
If I catch myself wearing a too-too (too fat, too late, too old) let me shake it off like a donkey would shake off something it doesn’t like.
And when I get that feeling in my stomach — you know the feeling when all of a sudden you get a ball of energy and it shoots down into your legs and up into your arms and tells you to get up and stand up and go to the refrigerator and get a cheese sandwich — that’s my cheese monster talking. And my cheese monster will never be satisfied by cheddar, only the cheese of accomplishment.
Let me think about the people who I care about the most, and how when they fail or disappoint me… I still love them, I still give them chances, and I still see the best in them. Let me extend that generosity to myself.
Let me find and use metaphors to help me understand the world around me and give me the strength to get rid of them when it’s apparent they no longer work.
Let me thank the parts of me that I don’t understand or are outside of my rational control like my creativity and my courage.
And let me remember that my courage is a wild dog. It won’t just come when I call it, I have to chase it down and hold on as tight as I can.
Let me not be so vain to think that I’m the sole author of my victories and a victim of my defeats.
Let me remember that the unintended meaning that people project onto what I do is neither my fault or something I can take credit for.
Perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes but he’s a little bit of an asshole and no one invites him to their pool parties.
Let me remember that the impact of criticism is often not the intent of the critic, but when the intent is evil, that’s what the block button’s for.
And when I eat my critique, let me be able to separate out the good advice from the bitter herbs.
(There are few people who won’t be disarmed by a genuine smile. A big impact on a few can be worth more than a small impact.)
Let me not think of my work only as a stepping stone to something else, and if it is, let me become fascinated with the shape of the stone.
Let me take the idea that has gotten me this far and put it to bed. What I am about to do will not be that, but it will be something.
There is no need to sharpen my pencils anymore. My pencils are sharp enough. Even the dull ones will make a mark.
Warts and all. Let’s start this shit up.
And god let me enjoy this. Life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done.
Stay tuned …
December 27, 2014
At His Mercy: http://amzn.to/1viU80T
Sara Smiles: http://amzn.to/1w2cCJT
Twenty-One Hours: http://amzn.to/1rXFbRw
Wrap Me Up: http://amzn.to/1vAPz3f
December 11, 2014
I’ve got two new covers to share: AT HIS MERCY and WRAP ME UP. What is WRAP ME UP, you ask? You’ve never heard of that one, you say? WRAP ME UP was my story, A BLUE CHRISTMAS, published in the JINGLE BELL ROCK anthology from Kensington Brava. I decided it needed an updated look to better reflect the content. Hard to believe this one is over a decade old, but is just as contemporary now as it was then!
These stories, along with SARA SMILES, are available limitedly in a boxed set called AND FOREVER BOUND. You can buy it at Kobo, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks for only $1.99, which is a steal of a deal! (BTW, Vibeke of Dreamforge Media is doing my new covers (save for AND FOREVER BOUND). She can do yours, too!)
AT HIS MERCY
WRAP ME UP
AND FOREVER BOUND
AND FOREVER BOUND
December 2, 2014
If you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you can now read both of these short stories for free! Otherwise, they’re only $.99! If you are not a Kindle reader, you can download an app for your pc, or any device, from Android to iOS, phone to tablet!
November 18, 2014
LARGER THAN LIFE
“Larger-than-life hero and nonstop action keep suspense high…Heart-wrenching secondary romance adds emotional intensity and depth to this compelling tale.” ~RT Book Reviews
“Hold on for a sizzling, heart-grabbing ride!” ~Nicole Jordan, NYT bestselling author
“Alison Kent remains at the top of her game with Larger than Life.” ~Laurie Damron, Laurie Laudanum
“…an electrifying espionage romantic suspense novel that starts off at supersonic speed, accelerates, and never slows down until the climax.” ~Harriet Klausner
(Yes, I love Harriet’s review!) LARGER THAN LIFE is the 6th book in my Smithson Group (SG-5) series, but the suspense plot and the romance stand completely alone. Names of other characters are dropped, but that’s about it. Mick, the hero, found himself caught off the grid, which meant he was detoured from official SG-5 business, making this story strictly his, and not the group’s.
The Smithson Group series launched in October 2004 with THE BANE AFFAIR which was followed in November with THE SHAUGHNESSEY ACCORD, in December with THE SAMMS AGENDA, in January 2005 with THE BEACH ALIBI, and in February with THE MCKENZIE ARTIFACT. The rights to those five stories are still held by Kensington Publishing Corp, and you can buy the digital copies (for which I get paid!) at all online bookstores, or the print copies used (for which I do not!). THE BANE AFFAIR is a full length novel; the next four stories are novella-length.
The rights to the four books that follow, LARGER THAN LIFE, DEEP BREATH, BEYOND A SHADOW, THE PERFECT STRANGER, all full length romantic suspense novels, are mine. I’m reissuing them digitally, and will eventually add print copies, though used ones are available. Here you can see the original print covers, and the covers with which the digital copies are being reissued.
Three more books follow, though only one, NO LIMITS, is an official Smithson Group story. The other two, MAXIMUM EXPOSURE and WITH EXTREME PLEASURE are companion novels with related characters. These three books are also still sold by Kensington as they continue to hold the rights to them, and yes, I still get paid, though I have no control over the pricing!
As these were written for Kensington’s Brava imprint, they are explicit. Fair warning there. And as particular as I am about my early writing, I still love these books. I hope all of you who take a chance on them a decade after they were originally written will love them, too.
September 22, 2014
September 14, 2014
Today’s muse: Alex Ebert aka Edward Sharpe
Even the most deft pen is a clumsy tool and yet we still try for magic.
This is more or less how I see my current hero. Less in that his beard is not that long, and his hair not quite that unkempt. But he does have enough to pull back in a knot, which he does, and he does have scruff on his face. There’s a long story behind this book and its evolution. I started it as a novella for a Carina Press open call for a Harleys and Holidays anthology. I managed to get one chapter written before the deadline, so it sat on my computer for months.
When my Montlake editor asked if I’d like to do a Valentine’s Day novella for 2015, I said sure, and pulled out this novella to finish. I sent her the scene I’d written, and a short pitch, and she loved it and asked instead if I’d like to turn it into a full book. Ergo, the crazy woman author who’s writing a novel in the time she would usually write a novella.
Word count at the end of the day: 73330
Online shopping: Oops. I totally forgot I wasn’t supposed to be buying Kindle books. I’ve bought 10.
Social media: ::hangs head in shame::
For fun, here’s a video of Alex Ebert/Edwin Sharpe, who is actually much leaner than my taller, buffer hero. But I do like his face. And the quote above? It’s his from his acceptance speech, winning a Golden Globe for the original score for Robert Redford’s movie All Is Lost.
September 13, 2014
Today’s muse: a barred eagle owlA recent Note from the Universe (emailed to me daily) that I love:
There’s so much time in a day, Alison.
You could have breakfast, lunch, and dinner on 3 different continents.
You could outline the book you’re going to write, start the screenplay adaptation, and watch “Gone With The Wind,” before the sun even sets.
Spend a day at work, and still have 16 hours left over.
Or you could just think 60,000 different thoughts as you tool all over Houston.
Hey, the record for climbing Mt. Everest is under 9 hours, leaving 15 to nap and go Yeti searching. There’s so much time in a day, Alison. So much.
There might even be enough to get this book done by deadline! One of the productivity tricks I use is the Chrome browser extension Stay Focused. I have it set to allow a total of 30 minutes out of every 24 hours between Facebook and Twitter. I figure that’s plenty of time to respond to mentions and tags, and do what posting I have been cheating to do. It’s funny how it feels like I waste so much time on those two sites, but this app is proving very useful. I can also set it to a Nuclear Option where it will block everything except my allowed sites. All I allow when I do this is Dictionary.com and it’s related tabs.
Sometimes I’ll add YouTube or Gmail, if I’m expecting something from an editor or agent, or if I want to listen to some music videos while writing. The problem is that my Windows 8 laptop also has IE installed, so when I’m blocking Chrome, I still have access to the web. Then again, I also have my phone, and a second laptop, and a Surface, and my desktop machine, and my Kindle Fire…not to mention the husband’s desktop machine, and laptop, and iPad. Honestly, I’m just doomed. Thankfully, all those other options require me getting up from where I’m working, usually on the couch, and the very act reminds me why I’m blocking the web in the first place, so I stay put and work!
Word count at the end of the day: 69390
Online shopping: I looked. I resisted.
Social media: ::hangs head in shame::
September 12, 2014
Today’s muse: Duke the 80# lapdog who hates thunder
I was tagged on Facebook to list 10 books that have stayed with me. I thought I’d add them here, too. I’m not a re-reader, so when a book sticks to the point where I’ve bought another copy because I’ve thought about reading it again, I figure it’s worth mentioning. And if I can remember where I was when reading it, all the better. I have multiple copies of all of these, print and digital, and know exactly where I was when reading. I forced myself to stop at 10…
1) Outlander – I have the original hardcover, autographed by Ms. Gabaldon. So much love for Jamie.
2) Heart of the West – This is my favorite by Penelope Williamson. I remember being in bed and holding my breath toward the end, waiting for the HEA to happen. I miss that in a lot of romances, the feeling of uncertainty, the tension that it truly might not happen. I wish I could write that.
3) Fire Dancer/Dancer’s Luck/Dancer’s Illusion – The story set up in this Ann Maxwell (Elizabeth Lowell) SF trilogy was left unfinished and I don’t know a single reader who doesn’t want more. I read this at a mall playground when my (now) 35 year old son was about 7.
4) The Flame and the Flower – Per Wikipedia: The first romance novel to detail physical intimacy between the protagonists, the book revolutionized the historical romance genre. I almost named my son Brandon after Brandon Birmingham.
5) The Thorn Birds – I did name my daughter Megan after Meggie Cleary.
6) Slow Heat in Heaven – The Sandra Brown that changed my life. I’d read all of her Silhouette Intimate Moments books as Erin St. Claire, and most of her Loveswepts and even her Candlelights. But Cash Boudreaux. Whoo-boy.
7) Honeymoon – Forever and always this will be my favorite Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Dash and Eric. Sigh.
8) Mystic River – Read this one on the bus commuting downtown to work. My introduction to Dennis Lehane. A forty minute ride each way. Fell into this and almost missed my stop every time.
9) The Wolf’s Hour – This was my first Robert McCammon, and after reading it I wanted so badly to see it as a movie.
10) The Stand – Stephen King, with this book, is probably responsible for my love of all things apocalyptic.
Word count at the end of the day: 65780
Online shopping: I looked. I resisted.
Social media: ::hangs head in shame::
September 11, 2014
Today’s muse: waterI ended Wednesday at 62225 words and exhausted. The worst part of the writing day was cutting a chunk of 1200 words. I drafted the replacement text before bed, but didn’t get to bed till after midnight. I took a break around 4:00 to swim, hoping it would help with the sleep. My brain is in deadline mode and doesn’t want to shut down. I slept, but I also swam too long because I was so tired and actually sore. Good for me, but ow. The swimming also helped break loose a scene that I needed but wasn’t having luck tying into the plot organically. Not only did that happen, I got a whole new external issue to weave in. Yes. Five days before deadline. Because this is how my muse rolls…
On the no social media / no online shopping front… FAIL. I was bad and bought something online. It was an Amazon Daily Deal, so I had to. Heh. I tweeted. I posted to Facebook. Wednesday was a day of distraction, but also productive in a lot of ways. Minus the cutting of words. I did have the discipline to not watch the season premier of Sons of Anarchy. So there’s that!