NOW AVAILABLE: Inspired By You

It’s RELEASE DAY! Whitley and Maxton have been released out into the wild for your pleasure! I know it took me longer than normal to come out with this latest Love in the City novel, and I just want to thank you so much for being patient with me! I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you’ll leave me some feedback in the form of a review no matter how you feel about the story! Inspired By You’s soundtrack and awareness page are now up on my website! I’ve also unlocked the Pinterest board for Inspired By You! Please be sure to check out my Nuss’ Navy group for exclusive giveaways, as well as my Facebook page for another release day giveaway! Thank you again for your love and support of the Love in the City series! It means so much to me! Happy reading!

Fame made him selfish.

Hollywood heartthrob, Maxton Waters, has just been named the World’s Sexiest Man Alive. Women fantasize about him. Men want to be him. The paparazzi continuously follow him. His ego is definitely larger than his heart.

Poverty made her grateful.

Whitley Gonzalez has made a life for herself after growing up in and out of homeless shelters. Now a hardworking nurse, she spends her spare time raising her son alone and giving back to the community that helped raise her.

But when Max is sentenced to hours of community services and placed under the single mom’s thumb, working together proves harder than they ever expected, inspiring an unlikely love in the city.

*Can be read as a standalone*

Candy at Prisoners of Print – “Love. Adore. Smitten for. Crazy about. Infatuated with.”

Author Kelly Siskind – “The chemistry between Whitley and Max was stellar. Fun banter.”

Britt Red Hatter Book Blog – “If you’re looking for something that gives you pure heartfelt sweetness with the perfect amount of heat, look no further!”


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Inspired By You: Coming Soon

Yes, you read that title right! Inspired By You (Love in the City, #6) is releasing on May 10th, 2018! I’m so excited for you all to read Max and Whitley’s story! A single mom and the world’s Sexiest Man Alive. I love a great single parent story, and Whitley’s is so inspiring. As for Max, I think his story is the perfect redemption from when we first met him in Fantasized By You.

Fame made him selfish.

Hollywood heartthrob, Maxton Waters, has just been named the World’s Sexiest Man Alive. Women fantasize about him. Men want to be him. The paparazzi continuously follow him. His ego is definitely larger than his heart.

Poverty made her grateful.

Whitley Gonzalez has made a life for herself after growing up in and out of homeless shelters. Now a hardworking nurse, she spends her spare time raising her son alone and giving back to the community that helped raise her.

But when Max is sentenced to hours of community services and placed under the single mom’s thumb, working together proves harder than they ever expected, inspiring an unlikely love in the city.

*TEASER*

*SOUNDTRACK SNEAK PEEK*

Once I have preorder links, I will post them here! For now, please be sure to add Inspired By You to your To-Be-Read list on Goodreads by clicking here!

If you’re a book blogger and would like to help promote Inspired By You as well as read an advanced reader copy (ARC), please click here to signup! Enticing Journey Book Promotions is hosting the release day blitz and blog tour! I’d love all the help I can get in reminding readers about the Love in the City series!

Thank you so much for being so incredibly patient with me! I cannot tell you how grateful I am for all of you who have continuously shared my work with others and cheered me on! I’ve made a deal with my editors that I’ll never take such a long time to write a book again, and now you know, so I’m definitely keeping that promise!

I seriously can’t wait for May 10th! I hope you’re as excited as I am! Comment below if you’d like an excerpt from the story!

xo,
Steph

Home Sweet Home

I recently had the opportunity to visit and explore the city my Love in the City gang calls home: New York City! I got invited to the Sexy in the City Author Event which took place on May 30th, but I made a trip out of if by flying in on Wednesday, May 27th, and doing a little book research. It’s just as big and crowded and overwhelming as I thought it would be, but I came back to Kansas with a better grasp on the city and its people, which will definitely help me write the rest of the series. I stayed with my friend, Lauren, who is also the owner of CherryRed’s Reads. She lives in the Bronx and showed me the city in such a short period of time; I’m so grateful for her welcoming into her home and taking the time to play tour guide for me! The city was a huge eye-opener for me, since I come from a place where we’re able to see for miles in any direction. In New York City, that’s just not possible. Everything is a buzz. The people always seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere or do something, but they’re nicer than most people make them out to be. I came to New York thinking the locals would easily spot me as a foreigner and maybe even tell me to get the hell out of their way, but that never happened. I was welcomed with opened arms and patience. While there are taxis and Uber that are used by many, lots of locals use the subway and everyone walks everywhere! As a girl who is used to driving and doesn’t handle roller coasters well, I couldn’t stomach the subway. The whiplash that ensued as the train stopped and started so quickly at each station made me so nauseous, I paid for us to use Uber and it was totally worth it. But I’m still glad I walked away saying I rode the subway because that’s something we don’t have here in Kansas. However, it made me appreciate my ’98 Chevy Monte Carlo just that much more. I could never give up driving my own car, but I totally commend those people who can drive in NYC! It takes a certain set of stealthy skills and a few foul phrases for a person to master driving in the city, which made transportation even more entertaining as our friends, Heather and Jeremy and Kelly, navigated us through the city! Kudos to all of you who drive in the city and whose stomachs can handle the subway! If I close my eyes and listen closely, I can still hear the male automated voice telling all train passengers to, “Stand clear of the closing doors.” Like I said, it’s something I’m proud to say I did, but I will definitely stick to driving a car!

I’m so thankful I was able to be with friends who knew how to get around the city, who knew what to watch for and what to avoid, where all the city’s secrets lie (like the one in Grand Central Station) as well as all the city’s wonderful landmarks. New York City is full of history and beauty, and I truly believe it is a place everyone should experience at least once in their lives. I know if I would’ve been on my own, I wouldn’t have had the same experience or saw everything that I did.

New York pie (also known as pizza) totally ruined me for all other pizza! I had to fold this in half (hot dog style) to eat it, and every bite was so freaking delicious! I won’t be able to look at Pizza Hut the same.

NYCpizzaI also now understand why Ginnifer Goodwin and John Krasinski ate Shake Shack so much during Emily Giffin’s movie adaptation of her book, Something Borrowed. The food is absolutely to die for. I’d come back to NYC just for more Shake Shack.

NYCshakeshackThe Strand Bookstore is a book lover’s paradise (I spent $80 dollars there)! As in, they have huge, tall shelves full of books from not only traditionally published authors but also some self-published. It was money well spent since I purchased some of my favorite authors’ books and this awesome shirt:

NYCshirtFAO Schwarz, the oldest toy store in the US, the toy store known from movies such as Big and Home Alone 2, was so big and amazing; I couldn’t have walked out of there without buying something for my nieces and nephew. For more pictures from my time in the store and to see all the different sections they have, check out my Facebook profile. It’s closing in July 2015 due to high rent, so if you get the chance to go to NYC before then, definitely stop in FAO Schwarz.

NYCfaoThe Freedom Tower and the 9/11 Memorials were breathtakingly beautiful. It was the first memorial I’d ever visited that I could say I lived through when the historical event actually happened, so it touched me in more ways that I can describe. Lauren showed me the church fence where locals hung signs for their missing loved ones as well as a building that still had soot on it from the crashes. A nearby firehouse memorialized its fighters with a wall mural on the side of its building. The city and its people have definitely done a brilliant job at remembering those we lost on that tragic day, from family and friends to those who put their lives on the line to save others. It’s truly an area of New York people should take the time to visit and remember.

NYCfreedomNYCsouthOn Saturday, I had the joy of attending my first book signing as an author. The Sexy in the City Author Event took place at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Times Square. Times Square is just how it’s depicted on TV and movies: It’s lit bright and crowded and filled with all sorts of people from tourists to local entertainers dressed up (or hardly wearing anything). But back to the signing.

NYCsigningAs I found my table in the ballroom, I was in awe of the goodies our hosts provided us like the bag filled with snacks and essentials and the awesome wine glasses they personalized with our names. They thought of everything, and I really appreciated that! After I set up my table and banner, I took in my surroundings, checking out the other authors and feeling so incredibly grateful to be in the same room full of so much talent. My table was in between T. Torrest’s and Heidi McLaughlin’s, two of my favorite authors, and it was such a pleasure to finally meet them! They were so nice and made me feel so welcomed, and less like a small fish in a big pond! I also had the opportunity to meet the woman who encouraged me to pursue my dream of writing, Jennifer Probst. I cannot thank her enough for being such a great friend. She’s been so supportive of me from the very beginning. She’s always been there for me whenever I’ve had any problems on my journey as a writer. It was just another dream come true to have her in attendance at my first signing since she’s been such a huge influence on me and my books. She’s one of the many authors I look up to, and she’s so sweet and personable with not only her readers but also her fellow authors. That’s the type of writer we all should aspire to be, and I’m so happy to have her as a role model. I truly hope we get to attend another event together in the future!

All in all, I had a wonderful time in New York, and I would love to come back someday. But for now, I’m happy to be back in Kansas! I want to thank my friends for welcoming me to their side of the country and for showing me a fantastic time, even though I’m such a pussy when it comes to the subway! I also want to thank the Sexy in the City hosts and their crew for inviting me to the event and making it such a success. Lastly, I want to thank all of the readers who stopped by my table on Saturday. I had so much fun chatting with all of you, and I hope you had as much fun as I did at the signing. You made my first signing a success in my eyes just by coming to see me, and I truly hope I get to come back for another signing in the future. A few of my Nuss’ Navy members got to meet one another at the signing, and I totally loved introducing you to each other! If you’d like to join my Navy, click here! I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without readers, so THANK YOU!

Xo,

Steph

NYCme

A Cherry-Poppin’ Giveaway!

I met Lauren from CherryRed’s Reads before my first book came out, and she has continuously supported me as a friend, fellow book lover, and book blogger ever since! She’s so passionate about reading, and she helps me get all the NYC stuff in my books correct and showers me with NYC pictures for inspiration; I don’t know what I’d do without her and I cannot thank our friend, Heather, enough for introducing us!

CherryRed’s Reads’ Facebook page just hit 500 likes, and to celebrate, Lauren’s giving away the first signed set of Wanted By You (LITC, #1) and Fantasized By You (LITC, #2) from my Love in the City series plus a I Heart NY tee!

To enter, click on the picture below, and you’ll be directed to Lauren’s blog where you can check out her cherry-poppin’ reviews of both books as well as enter to win these precious beauties! Thank you again for being such devoted book lovers and good luck!

CRR_giveaway

Blog Hop, Hooray!

I’ve been tagged in this fun author blog hop by the amazing Amanda Aksel, author of The Man Test, which I absolutely loved! I’m so happy to call her a friend and can’t wait for more books from her! Thanks, girl!

So, here’s to keeping the hop alive with my interview:

1) What am I working on?

I’m currently working on the second book in my Love in the City series, Fantasized By You. The series is about a group of friends trying to find love in the city, and each book is about a different couple. The first book in the series, Wanted By You, released at the end of February, and I’m hoping to have book two out in the summer of 2014!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

In my Love in the City series, every book has a love story and a message of awareness. The covers of the books will be a different color representing an awareness referenced in each book. I think it’s important to not only tell a great love story, but also share a meaningful message along with it. That’s what I hope my work achieves.

3) Why do I write what I do?

This quote by Cyril Connolly sums up why I write: “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” I write because writing is something I have to do. I have these voices in my head begging me to tell their story, and I enjoy doing so. When I read, I’m constantly falling in love with the secondary characters along with the main characters, so I love book series where the secondary characters get their own story. I’m a sucker for series and sequels, so you’ll probably never see a standalone from me. I write what I love to read.

4) How does your writing process work?

Outlining is a must for me. I’m not one of those writers who can just sit down and let the voices in my head do the writing. I’m super organized and have notes about each of the books in my series on my computer, my email, a notebook, the notes app on my iPhone, etc. I need peace and quiet to write, and I usually write in bed. I also make a playlist for each book that I listen to when I’m not writing. So, when I take my dog on a walk or work out, I’ll listen to songs that go along with my story or my characters. I feel like that’s a way to stay in “writing mode” even when I’m not actually writing.

To continue the blog hop, I’m tagging three authors (I couldn’t pick just two)…

Elle Jefferson (author of At Death It Begins series), JC Emery (author of Bayonet Scars series), and Katrina Vore (author of The Dark Lotus series)! Tag, you’re it! I can’t wait to meet you girls in Phoenix next year at the Indie Mashup signing!

The Art of Writing

Last night, I finished up with a few tweaks and edits on WANTED BY YOU. It’s headed to the copy editor now which means we’re getting closer and closer to publication! 

*throws confetti!*

Let’s talk about the art of writing for a moment…

I think some people think writing a book is like taking a crap. You just sit down and write, and boom, a masterpiece is formed. No. That’s not how it works. There’s anxiety involved. A lot of anxiety and edits and rewrites. And the voices in your head never shut up. And they’re begging you to tell their story, but you can’t write fast enough to get everything down at once so you have notes all over the place. Inside your old college notebooks. On your Notes app on your iPhone. On your laptop’s sidebar sticky notes. It’s a mess of notes all over the place; sometimes in places you can’t even remember putting them. It’s exhausting and time consuming but completely magical all at the same time.

All of the anxiety and edits and perfecting is totally worth it because writing a book is not like taking a dump. It’s not an everyday occurrence that everybody does. It’s a big deal. It’s crossing off a bucket list item. It’s chasing after the dream you’ve had since you were a little girl. A dream of one day becoming that author who inspires others to write because being a writer is their dream, too.

So, as I get closer to publishing my first book and think about all the excitement and nerves that will come with release day, I can’t help but smile and think, bring it on! I’m not going to let anything or anyone bring me down. I’ve worked hard to get where I am as a writer, and I’m not going to let one person’s opinion or a bad review or whatever bring me down because writing a book is not like taking a poop. If it was, everybody would do it and nobody would judge anybody on how they do it because nobody would care.

I’m thankful for the people who care about me and my book and the Love in the City series, the people who have taken the time to help me through the writing and editing process and given me sound advice, and to the people who read my book early on and gave me their honest opinions.

I will forever be grateful for people’s honesty and feedback, but honestly, writing a book is nothing like taking a shit. Not everybody can do it. Not everybody has the guts to do it. So, cheers to all of us who have the courage to put ourselves out there, and to all the people who continuously support and encourage us to pursue our dreams and who care enough to share their thoughts with us.

Support

Love in Awareness

The awesome thing about being an artist is using your gift or your art for good.

That’s one of the best things about being a writer–millions of people read your words and take something from them.

That’s also why I believe in not only telling a great love story, but also supporting a variety of causes in doing so. In the My Kind of Lover series, I have designed each plot around two lovers and their love story. The lovers, either individually or together, become advocates to certain causes because they’ve either personally been impacted or know of somebody or something that has been which causes them to bring awareness to you, the readers, by showing their support to such causes. You’ll see throughout the series how each book brings awareness to certain charities like Susan G. Komen for the Cure or March of Dimes or the Special Olympics just to name a few. Each book has some cause it hopes to bring awareness to.

It’s my goal as a writer to use the passion I have to help those in need because my voice can be heard through my stories, and I hope all of you take something special away from the lovers, their story, and their support for their causes.

Inspirations

I thought I’d share with you all some of my inspirations for writing.

The first is definitely music. I have a ton of music on my iTunes in all sorts of a genres and will be creating playlists for each of my books for the readers to fully understand what inspired each one and some of the characters. They are definitely more upbeat than other playlists I’ve seen from other authors. There’s a reason for this. I don’t listen to music while I write. If I did, it would be a disaster. Trust me, I’ve tried it. I know a lot of authors who do this and major kudos to them because I physically and mentally do not have the ability to do it. However, I do listen to music during my workouts or when I’m walking my dog so I’m constantly finding music that inspires my writing or my characters, and I think that’s really important to the story and important to share with the readers.

The second is poetry. I found a girl by the name of Charlotte Scott who creates the most beautiful poems. I actually spent weeks hunting down her blog because someone posted one of her poems on Pinterest and didn’t tag her blog (so irritating). Anyways, I feel like most of my characters can relate to her poems or their love story can relate to it. I also feel like most of my readers will be able to appreciate her work and how the beauty of her words incorporates into my characters and their story. I’ve asked her if I can use her poems at the beginning of each book in the series and she was more than happy to let me publish her work in my own. This is also a really great way to promote her and her talent and I’m happy to do so. It’s important that writers promote one another and I’m more than thrilled to share her work in my books since she’s been such a huge inspiration to me and my characters.

The third inspiration would be my fellow writers. I’ve become friends with several writers through Facebook and Twitter and the support from them has been amazing and I know I’ll never be able to thank them enough for it. Jamie McGuire has amazing self-publishing information on her FAQ page on her website that is extremely helpful. A special shout out to Jennifer Probst as well because without her and her feedback I don’t think I would’ve ever started this series. Her thumbs up was the boost I really needed and if I ever meet her in real life, I’ll probably go bananas. I’m extremely grateful to other authors for taking the time to help us aspiring authors with our questions as well as just promoting one another. The endless love for indie writers and/or self-published authors is amazing, and I’m happy that I’ve chosen this path.

Write on my fellow writers, write on!