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Goodbye 2018. Hello 2019!

Happy New Year!!!

Hope you guys partied like maniacs and recover like rockstars. New Years is usually low key in the Anthony house. Add a raging head-cold to that, and you get some kind of beached whale, junk food, TV situation that's not super glamorous. This year, the dude and I sailed through Season 5 of Breaking Bad, a pile of chicken wings between us, and a litter of tissues on the ground. It was sexy. 

I know I thanked you in my last email, but its January 1 and I'm feeling sappy. Three years ago, I never would have guessed that I’d be the author of 6.5 books, a signer at one of the largest romance book conventions, and a name that people recognize. It amazes me. All I ever wanted to do was write. I never anticipated how far it would take me.

As most of us do, I headed into 2018 with big plans. Some goals I hit, some I didn't. It was a wild, educational, sometimes grueling ride, full of highs, lows, too much coffee, more candy, and imaginary assholes keeping me awake at night. I became a best-seller, left my job, flew to Florida, met so many amazing readers, authors, bloggers - made lifelong friendships that will last forever. I made mistakes, I made progress, I made way too many childish dick jokes, and y'all stuck with me the whole way. 

All in all, it was a fantastic year and I'm not sure what 2019 has up its sleeve, but it has really big shoes to fill. 

So what's coming in 2019? I'm making plans and would love some reader feedback as we head into the new year! As a special THANK YOU, everyone who fills out the form (and includes their name) will be entered to win an Amazon gift card! (Questionnaire CAN be done anonymously, though.)

The survey should take you a few minutes. 

Thank you again for everything! Here's to a GREAT 2019!

One door closes ...

Three years ago I wrote a book. It wasn’t the best book, and it wasn’t the worst. Just a tawdry little romance novel that I was too embarrassed to even tell anyone in my personal life about. I kept it to myself. My secret; my little project. I wasn’t sure if anyone would even read it, let alone like it, but It didn’t matter. I wrote it me. Just to prove that I could.

Secret Promises book sold sixty copies on the day it released. I was floating on air watching the numbers tick over the course of the next few days. As the reviews trickled in one by one, I read every one, sobbing as I saw how much people loved my words. Readers raved about this silly little novel I wrote in my spare time. They swooned over Jameson and cried with Jillian. They wanted more.

I wasn’t sure if I had more.

But I did.

Book after book, my readership grew. They were voracious. They ate through my words and regurgitated love and admiration across the pages of Goodreads and Amazon. They looked up my social media and sent me messages telling me how much my stories meant to them. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted. I gave a tiny piece of myself to the world, and they gave me back so much more.

Three years ago, I never would have guessed that I’d be the author of six books, a signer at one of the largest romance book conventions, and a name that people recognize. It amazes me. All I ever wanted to do was write. I never anticipated how far it would take me.

Today, after thirteen years, I walked away from my job to pursue doing what I love full time. It’s scary and awesome and I’m so excited to see where this journey will lead. But that doesn’t subside the bittersweet sting of a tearful ending. Dropping my keys on my boss’s desk hurt so much more than I anticipated. I cried saying goodbye to people I considered family, but it’s the necessary evolution. The door to my future is sitting wide open and it’s time to move through with both feet, instead of my toes lingering in the threshold.

It’s strange how much it hurts having your dreams come true, but even the caterpillar bleeds before it becomes a butterfly. I’ve lived in my cocoon long enough. I’m finally ready to spread my wings and soar.

A day in the life of an Author in the summer

7:00a – ALL the ideas roam through my head in those faint hours between sleep and awake. Plots and scenes and amazing characters basically construct themselves.

7:15a – Rolls over, eyes flutter open. “I’m going to write all the words today.”

7:20a – shower – because if I don’t do it now, I never will.

7:30a – “MOM I’M HUNGRY!” Towel off and get dressed, keeping all the ideas fresh in my mind. Feed kids, dress kids, yell at the kids to stop fighting … stop fighting … stop fighting …. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS SACRED AND HOLY STOP FIGHTING!!!!

8:00a – Fuck it. You’re going to camp.

Sit at the computer and open my manuscript, briefly reading through what I wrote the day before. Four hundred words? That’s pitiful. I’m going to write two thousand today. That’s my goal. Two thousand … before lunch.

8:15a – Go brush your teeth. Why are you crying? You what? What? I don’t understand when you whine. STOP WHINING! Shit what was this character supposed to say? Go over it quick in my head again while Kid B hurls herself on the floor because her shorts are the wrong shade of blue.

8:20a – Ok I’ll order you new shorts from Amazon, just please get off the floor and brush your teeth. No, I’m not going to brush them for you, big girls brush their own teeth. Brush your teeth. BRUSH YOUR TEETH!

8:30a – Brushes Kid B’s teeth

8:45a – I WILL SWALLOW YOUR SOULS IF YOU DON’T STOP FIGHTING!!!! YOU – upstairs. YOU – car! Get your shoes.

8:46a – get your shoes

8:47a – get your shoes

8:48a – WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU LOST YOUR SHOES?!

8:50a – Finds the shoes and gets Kid B in the car. Kiss goodbye, sigh of relief. Time to work!

9:05a – Sits at desk and stares at the monitor trying to recall the amazing ideas from before. These characters are gonna fuck on the deck. Hand stuff first … BFF slides into DMs with brand new photo of Johnny James. *Drool.*

9:15a – still drooling, ‘cause fuck he’s hot.

9:20a – Go back to manuscript. His candor tugs the corners of my lips, as I push down the emotion bubbling inside. Candor? Is that the right word? Opens chat to author friend.

“Does this line sound right to you?”

“Hmmmm. I think the word tug doesn’t work.”

“No I meant the word Candor. It just doesn’t look right to me.”

“Maybe try quirks? I dunno…”

10:00a - His candor quirks the corners of my lips, as I push down the emotion bubbling inside. Nic’s right. That’s way better. OK, where were we? Reads from the top of the scene. This paragraph needs a little more. Toils with the words; moves shit around.

10:30a – Jesus, I’m starving. Checks word count. 200 words?! That’s all I wrote? Shit I better hustle. *shoves a handful of pizza combos in mouth*

11:00a – Brody leans forward, his elbows on his knees, sinewy muscles flexing under the thin cotton of his tee...

“Can I have some lunch?” Gets up to make Kid A lunch. Listens to a thirty-minute lesson on the power of the sun and how he plans to harness it to make cars run without gas in the future.

11:45a – I know I had the perfect response to this comment. What the fuck was it? Sits back and thinks. Types out three paragraphs. Deletes all three paragraphs because they suck.

12:00p – Friend slides into my DMs. Dick pic. I should add this to my website. I really need to update my website. I should go do that.

1:00p – FUCK! Kid B gets out of camp in one hour. Checks word count. Three hundred. SERIOUSLY? I’ve been sitting in the fucking seat ALL DAY! Checks rank on Author Central. Meh. Checks sales on BookReport. Double Meh. Maybe I should look at my ads. Opens Facebook to check out ads. Set up some new ones.

1:15p – denied. Set up new ad

1:20p – denied. Set up new ad

1:30p – denied. Bang head on keyboard. Open DMs to whine about what a prudish bitch FB is.

1:50p – shit, I have to get Kid B.

2:05p – Kid B needs a bath

2:15p – Kid B needs a snack

2:20p – Kid B needs me. Nothing, in particular, she just needs me next to her at all fucking times.

2:30p – Kid A asks Kid B if she wants to go outside. YES! Go outside and play, let mommy work. Kids run out, I sit back down at the computer and get back to work.

2:45p - Craning my neck, I move forward and close the distance between us ...

Kid B hurls herself through the door in a puddle of tears. Kid A sat on her swing. Yell at Kid A, console Kid B who clings so tight I swear she’s trying to crawl back inside my vagina.

3:00p – “I’m hungry. When’s dinner?” Shoos Kid A away with a can of coke. If all goes well, this book will make me enough money where I can afford the dental work it caused. Plan B? Dentures.

3:15p – “I’m hungry. When’s dinner?” Shoes Kid B away with fruit by the foot. Fruit is literally in the title. It’s basically healthy.

3:30p - A muted sigh floats from my lungs. He matches it with a growl, pulling me off my chair and onto his lap …

CRASH! Kid B begins wailing from somewhere in the house. DIDN’T I TELL YOU TO STOP FIGHTING?!

4:00p – Friend slides into DMs “What do you think of this blurb?”

4:20p – Jesus it’s almost 4:30? I need to start dinner. Asks kids what they want.

4:25p – What do you want for dinner?

4:30p – Dinner?

4:40p – You guys want to eat tonight or what?

4:50p – YOU GUYS WERE STARVING TO DEATH TWO HOURS AGO! Fuck it…we’re having mac and cheese. Kid B immediately hits the floor.

5:15p -  Kid A sits down to Mac and Cheese. Kid B sits down to a giant plate of bacon. JUST BACON because I don’t give a fuck anymore. Just stop crying before I kill someone.

Husband comes through the door. YAY DADDY”S HOME!!!!

5:20p - Stop fighting! Eat your dinner

5:25p – sit down and eat your dinner

5:30p – Ok…I don’t want to see your dance moves. I want to see you eat your dinner

5:40p – no. I don’t want to hear another knock knock joke. Your dinner’s getting cold.

5:45p – If I heat that up, are you going to eat it this time? OH for fuck sake stop crying … please…

6:00p – You barely ate your dinner, but sure I’ll load you up with ice cream. Why the fuck not? I’m too exhausted to listen to whining this close to bedtime.

DM’s blow up. Chat Chat Chat

7:00p – bedtime for Kid B – Thank you, Jesus.

7:05p – Bring her a snack

7:10p – Bring her a water

7:15p – Kiss her for the hundredth time

7:20p – death threats and shaking fists I’M NOT COMING UP HERE AGAIN!

7:30p – Sit down with laptop and a mug of coffee

7:45p – A slow, steady thrust that causes my back to bow… Kid B needs to poop.

8:00p – This couple feels like they’ve been fucking ALL goddamned day. Checks word count. Four hundred words. Shit. Throws laptop aside and turns on Dr. Phil.

Fuck it. Tomorrow’s a new day.  

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The demure housewife with a dirty mind

I write dirty books.

I love smut. I love men. Hell, I even love women. I LOVE sex. There! I said it. And it feels damn good! Throw the book at me, I’m guilty as hell.

I yell these truths as I hide behind “Jane Anthony”, giggling with crimson cheeks. My sexy as sin alter ego allows me to be, well, me. In life, I’m quiet. Sure, I’m good for the occasional dirty joke, but that’s not the face I show to people outside my close-knit inner circle. I’m a mom. A wife. A nondescript member of the HSA, donning my yoga pants while chauffeuring my kids around town, a latte in one hand and a Kate Spade handbag swinging off my forearm. Gag me. (PLEASE, I’m not kidding … gag me, I love it).

I am the demure housewife with a very dirty mind.

When I began writing, I kept it a well-hidden secret. I didn’t even tell my husband until my first book was finished. Part of it was just proving to myself that I can do it before alerting my loved ones. A sort of, if a tree falls in the woods sort of analogy. If I failed at that first book and no one knew, would it really make me a failure?

But I didn’t fail. I finished that book and proceeded to write many more over the subsequent three years that followed. I’m damn proud of myself. I have readers. I have friends. A whole entire life outside of my real one. Like-minded people who read behind closed doors and keep their sordid fantasies a secret. And you know what? There’s a LOT of us.

Stay with me. I have a point, I promise.

My cousin “liked” my page today. I sat for a beat and looked at her name taunting me on the screen, my head screaming inside my skull. She knows! Now everyone’s gonna know – and worse – they’re gonna want to read it! They’re going to ask what my books are about and I’m going to have to stand there, shuffling from foot to foot trying to answer their questions without cringing in their faces. Damn my mother and big fucking mouth. Why? Why? Why?

Why, indeed.

I am a damn good writer. I should be thrilled with what I’ve accomplished. Sex is part of the human condition. We all do it. Most of us even like it. Why am I so ashamed to admit that I write about it?

My books are sexy, but they’re pretty damned vanilla compared to some. I've shaped fictional worlds rich with detail and in-depth drama. I've created lives, souls. I've broken hearts and put them back together again lopsided and bruised. My work is explicit and salacious, and oh so emotional, but nothing so taboo that should make me want to hide the minute someone starts asking about it. I mean, what’s a butt-plug between friends, really?  

Yet, the idea of these two worlds colliding makes me want to hide. It’s been three years and I’m still not comfortable enough to admit my dirty little secret. Maybe someday when Pretty Reckless the movie releases at a theater near you (HAHA wishful thinking!) but until that day, I’ll remain tight-lipped – until my daddy tells me to open wide ;)

My New Book Stand

My review of Clear Solutions Displays, Plywood Display Three Tier (4904) Stand

My decision when choosing a stand was not taken lightly. I scoured the web looking for the perfect one to take with me on book signings. It needed to be lightweight, have enough room for all my stuff, and fit in a suitcase. While this rack covers all my "must haves", I don't love it nearly as much as I hoped.

Let me start by saying that when I found this stand, I was stoked.  At $17, I considered it a steal. But $14 shipping?? Seriously? (NO, I did NOT take off points for shipping - that would be insane!) But, after a few days of mulling it over, I figured, "what the hell?" This stand has everything I was looking for, plus it's pretty which is a major bonus.

Shipping was quick (for $14 it better be!) and before I knew it, my lovely stand had arrived! It was packed fairly well. Each piece was wrapped up tight. There were no dings or cracks in the wood. Everything was hunky dory except - no instructions.

Being a card-carrying member of the Ikea generation, surely this sucker couldn't be that hard to construct, right? Tab a/slot b/Swedish meatballs ... le sigh.

Yeah, I had no idea what I was doing. It was a jigsaw puzzle of epic proportions and I had no idea what went where. Were there extra pieces included? This thing seemed like a much better idea a week prior when I was hitting "complete order."

I race over to my computer to pull up the website. OF COURSE - the instructions are electronic! I could go online, print out those bad larrys and get this sucker together before my Lean Cuisine had finished it’s laps around the microwave. DOH! Foiled again. Not only are the instructions mysteriously missing, I'm certain there are parts in front of me that aren't on the picture listed. I stare at the image dumbfounded, channeling my inner Agatha Christie to help me solve the mystery at hand. 

I tackled this bitch like cavemen inventing the wheel, grunting and groaning as I went. Finally, at long last, I figure it out. I stand back and ogle the fantastical creation before me. This must be what Ty Pennington feels like whenever he completes a project!! I set my book babies atop its glorious shelves (shelves with pockets - NOT PICTURED) and snap some photos for Instagram because, DUH! Victory was mine! I'd gotten it together and all was right with the world.

Then it came time to take it apart.

Um ... yeah ... these pieces slid together like a dream, yet pulling them apart was more akin to nightmares. I. COULD. NOT. GET. IT. APART.

I tugged, I toiled -- I broke two nails! Good God, this isn't just a stand. It's the most indestructible force in the universe! Agatha Christie, don't fail me now!! I race to the garage to grab a crowbar. (Ok ok, it was a flat head screwdriver. Bear with me, I'm on a roll) Carefully - because pretty though it may be, it's still only plywood after all - I fit the tool between the seams and pry them apart. A sweat had begun to build on my brow. This was intricate work. I did NOT want to destroy my new book stand! Lord only knows how much they'd charge me to ship it back!

Elbow grease and determination are a musty cologne, but I did it. I got it apart and packed safely back in the box. I took a deep breath and enjoyed my microwave Swedish Meatballs with a side of triumph.

The stand won the battle but it lost the war! Unfortunately, it has to go back ... 

THIS ISN'T EVEN WHAT I ORDERED! 

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