Friday, August 28, 2015

Cover Reveal & $50 Amazon Gift Card GIVEAWAY!

My new complete series is now LIVE! Here's the cover reveal for book II, House of Stone, the conclusion of my epic wartime romantic historical fiction series, for fans of Outlander and The Bronze Horseman. 

In WWII Romania, Tsura, a young Roma (gypsy) woman, has no choice but to leave her lover, Andrei, behind and marry the grandson of the man whose basement she and Andrei have been hiding in. An epic WWII saga, for fans of The Bronze Horseman and Outlander. 

“It won’t be a real marriage.” Tsura put her hands to Andrei’s shirt and pulled him in close. “I’ll never share a bed with him. I love you. I only do what I have to do to keep us all safe. Once the war ends, it’ll be as if it never was.” She caught his face in her hands. “I am only yours, Andrei.” 

“Yes, you’re only mine,” Andrei bent over and growled in her ear. “When you put on that dress for him and walk down the aisle in that ugly goy church,” he kissed her hard before putting a strong hand to the back of her neck, pulling her forehead to his, “you think of me, here. When you say your vows to that man, you remember that it’s me who has owned and claimed your body tonight.” He again pressed his lips to hers.


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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cover Reveal for 501 Ways to Tie a Knot

This is a cover reveal for a smexxxxxxxxxxxy read! I was lucky enough to beta read this one, happy to give a shout out for their cover reveal. Haha, this one is definitely NOT YA, so beware ;)

Book Name: 501 Ways to Tie a Knot
Author: Kristin Leigh Jones & Kat DeSalle
Genre: Romance, Humor
Series: Has-Been Series #3
Release Date: October 2015

Goodreads Link:

501 Ways to Tie a Knot
Being a submissive isn't easy. Being one of the BDSM community's most sought after ones that is willing to do, try, exhibit and teach anythingis even harder. Follow Levi as he takes his recently devastated friend, Rod, to Arizona to heal. Although you quickly learn he isn't there to just help Rod as this trip was already planned and is a necessity for Levi. Hes there to relax, re-group, and prepare himself for his next cross-country tour to showcase his talents as a male submissive. 501 Ways to Tie a Knot unravels the mystery that is the Amish born man, Levi Johnson, who fled rural Pennsylvania at eighteen to find more from lifeto feed his hungry soul. 

Levi discovers that everything in life comes at a priceespecially when your heart and soul get involved. On the last stop of his tour in the infamous New Orleans, hes faced with an impossible situation: two women have his attentionboth are lying. What happens when Levi falls in love with one of them, and lusts for the other? When the shocking reality becomes too hard to handle, he begins to question his existence in its entirety. His tediously balanced world gets turned upside down. Will he accept the truth, or will what hes always desired walk out of his life forever?

Author Bios:
Kat DeSalle is one half of the crazy writing duo that created the HAS BEEN SERIES.
Born and raised in California, she graduated with a degree in Fine Art, which introduced her to a number of creative outlets. She dabbled in various jobs ranging from teaching art, to working in the finance industry. Ultimately, she found her passion in writing. Now, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and children, where she follows her dream of writing romance novels.

Kristin Leigh Jones is the wearer of many hatsnot literallyalthough she does look good in one. From being a full-time mom, wife, chef, maid, dog walker, litter box scooper to owning a photography business and working as a freelance editor ... She now adds writer to her long resume. Between juggling all these tasks she squeezes in as much time as possible for snuggling her babies, reading, and watching football on Sundays in the fall. Da Bears! Hailing from the Midwest her whole life, she fully appreciates the change of seasons but admits to really only enjoying it less than 5 months of the year.

Kristin is very thankful to have found another half of her brain in her dear friend Kat. Who, might be thousands of miles away, is never farther than a text or a phone call. Together they make up the dynamic duo writing and producing the hilariously romantic and sexy Has Been Series.

Friend Kat on Facebook:
Tweet Kat here: @KatDeSalle
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Friend Kristin on facebook:
Tweet Kristin here: @k_leigh_jones
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Monday, August 10, 2015

What is Literary Voice? How Does a Writer Find Voice?

As writers we hear a LOT about this word: voice. So much so, it almost begins to take on magical connotations. Agents demand it. Editors reject piles and piles of manuscripts for not having it. We’re told to discover it, like it’s a hidden jewel in our soul, and if we mine deep enough, we’ll find it!
*insert discordant scratch on record player*
It took me a long time to realize that the words of the all-wise Inigo Montoya apply here: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
When people talk about ‘voice’ like the hidden jewel to discover in themselves, they mean it in the poetic, stylistic sense, like on Project Runway when the judges are say, that designer has a distinctive point of view or ‘voice.’ They mean, there is a sense of visual and artistic cohesion to their pieces, in the way that you can tell an impressionist is different from Picasso is different from Jackson Pollack. Or in Project Runway terms, Seth Aaron’s in-your-face dramatic sensibilities are very different from Anya’s flowing, feminine, wearable drapey dresses are different from Mondo’s style. This use of the term ‘voice’ is very useful for the visual arts and for writing poetry.
However, it’s NOT AT ALL USEFUL in the practical sense for fiction writers, because, unless you’re writing literary fiction (and even then, only rarely), voice is meant to be about the voice of your CHARACTER, not about your authorial stylistic voice. When agents and editors reject manuscripts for voice, it’s because the voice of thecharacter’s personality isn’t coming through. Ironically, because of this false idea of what voice is, authors are over-writing with their prose styles and not letting character’s voices speak.
Because here’s the kicker: readers rarely care about how pretty or well constructed your sentences are. All readers (and agents and editors) want is to get pulled emotionally into a story. Which is accomplished through your character feeling like a fully-realized, complex human—via voice. Voice is merely the term to encompass all the ways this full character realization is translated onto the page (in every single line of text) through:
  1. Internal Thought and Reflection
  2. Observation and Description
  3. External Dialogue
  4. Movement (as in, blocking the movement of the characters within the setting, like actors on a stage)
How does your character see the world? What are they like? Down to earth? Snobby? Intellectual and detached? Overly empathetic? You as the writer have to be in their heads, whether you’re writing in first person or third. That’s where you discover voice—not in yourself, but in your character. It’s not how you see the world that matters, it’s how they see it.
Do they have a penchant for gambling or drugs? They’ll always want to align themselves with the person in the room likeliest to give them their next fix. Every thought in their head, observation they make, thing they say, and movement they make is to get them closer to this goal. Through this, the reader should feel their personality because the reader is in their heads. As the writer, it’s your duty to see and write through the lens of the character. It’s up to you to get in their minds. Remember, you’re telling their story, not yours. Get as close to them as you can, even down to the language level—this is where their personality can shine through.
When I began to shift my paradigm to think this way, writing began to feel like an entirely different animal. And that’s when my (pile of) rejection slips started turning into acceptance notices.
Here’s my nice and fancy definition of voice to hang your hat on:
The manner of language by which an author expresses personality to narrate a story. Voice is used to close the distance between narrator and reader so that the reader is immersed in the ‘feel’ and personality of the story that the author intentionally means to convey. All language—every line of text—including internal thought, observation, movement, and external dialogue should be filtered through voice.
I'll be teaching a class online this Fall on this topic if anyone's interested, here's a little intro video below.

Open to anyone, anywhere. For more deets, click here: The Loft Literary Center

Monday, May 4, 2015

Big News - I have a new book coming out!

I was updating my website to include the new book I have coming out next year and realized I hadn't even mentioned it here yet! Gah, it's been a crazy busy month! So yes! I have a new book coming out next spring, a dark, twisty mystery with a little bit of sexy thrown in. It's called Girl Last Seen and I co-wrote it with the always fabulous Anne Greenwood Brown. She wrote one of the big main characters (Lauren) and I wrote the other (Jude). Here's the deets:

Lauren DeSanto never cared about the fame. The same could not be said for her best friend and bandmate Cadence Mulligan, who spent all her time promoting their music on YouTube. Even when their videos went viral, all Lauren cared about was their lyrics and their friendship. But when an infection paralyzed Lauren’s vocal cords and she could no longer sing, Cadence had no choice but to go solo.

Cadence’s star is rising. That is, until she goes missing after playing a small show at the local coffee shop where Lauren works. All eyes turn to Lauren and suspicion turns to accusations when blood evidence is discovered on Lauren’s work shirt and motive is found in a terrible fight between the two former friends over Cadence’s boyfriend.

And then there’s Jude Williams. He’s recently moved back to town with a vendetta against both girls. The problem is, as much as he tries to hate Lauren, he finds himself feeling sympathetic when the town and then the national media condemn her. After all, he knows what it’s like to be accused. It was Lauren’s false accusations that ruined his life.

As Lauren and Jude work together to reveal the twisted life of Cadence Mulligan, neither knows if the other is indeed searching for the truth or playing an elaborate game to cover his or her own sins. They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But it’s hard to know what to do when you don’t know which is which.

Add it to your Goodreads, I can't wait to share this one with you guys. It comes out Spring of next year. And stay tuned here and at my FB page - we'll be doing giveaways and other fun things when we've got a cover to reveal :D 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Review - Love on the Ledge by Zoraida Córdova

Book Summary:
Sky Lopez thought she had it all—the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect life…until she discovers her not-so-perfect boyfriend has been cheating on her. So when her uncle asks her to help plan his Hamptons wedding, Sky jumps at the chance, leaving all of her “perfect” future plans in the rearview mirror.

The wedding doesn’t prove as good a distraction as she’d hoped, because when her relatives and friends find out she’s single, they put Sky in their match-making sights. Never mind that she’s only twenty four. Never mind that she doesn’t want to settle for anyone other than Mr. Right. Seemingly everyone in Sky’s life wants her to get married and have babies. Like, yesterday.

So when Hayden—a sweet, sexy roofer—plummets through the ceiling and practically falls into her lap, she can’t help but think that maybe nice guys do just fall from the sky.

Soon Sky finds herself juggling crumbling wedding plans, the cheating ex who’s trying to win her back, the cute plastic surgeon her family thinks is perfect for her, and the hot roofer she can’t seem to get off her mind.

As the wedding date draws closer, Sky will need to choose one—or none—to keep herself from falling off the ledge, and maybe into love.

My Review:
So much fun! You just get to step into this huge, crazy family (and friends so close they feel like family) and are swept in from the first chapter. The book takes place as Sky prepares for her uncle’s wedding and it has all the antics of a big family wedding. But it’s more than that, too. Sky has been burned bad by her ex and the last thing in the world she is look for is love. Until a hunky roofer literally falls through the ceiling and into her path.

Their romance is so real. Sky is wary of starting anything. She’s not looking for a rebound guy, and Hayden has hurts from his own past. But they are continually drawn to one another. Watching them spend more and more time together was such a pleasure to read. It was so genuine. That was the best part about this book. The realness of it in the family dynamics, the relationship, the conversations. Gah. I just downed this book. If you're into books with heart that make you laugh your butt off, I highly recommend Love on the Ledge.

Publish Date: May 5, 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: Samantha Young's HERO

Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that she and her mother weren’t his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets,. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they’re on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again…

This was my favorite Samantha Young book since On Dublin Street. We’re so familiar with the hot CEO trend (and my fear going into this book was that it would feel like the same old, same old). Instead, Young brings a fresh take on CEOs because none Alexa and Caine, yes, but none of that insta-love or even insta-lust crap that drives me so crazy. Neither was there a point somewhere in the novel where Caine stops being a real person and turns into a two-dimensional ‘alpha male’ stereotype like so many authors are writing these days.

Alexa too escapes a common trap of being a weak female lead. All of her choices throughout the novel feel realistic and really hit you gut emotionally. She fights hard but is able to be vulnerable too and it’s this combination as she tries to tear down Caine’s walls that keeps you flipping pages. Gah, such a great book. Five star read for me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Big-Boned. It's Not Just a Euphemism.

I was wearing women's size 12 pants when I was in fourth and fifth grade and in 16's by 8th grade. None of that Junior's section crap for me either. Nope, it was Ladies 16's. And I felt fat. These were in EXTRA LARGE territory after all.

Because everywhere I am hearing about how we should be a size 6 or 4 or of course, a size freaking zero. Because those are the sample sizes they are making for models! So the theory is that if I could lose enough weight, I could one day be a size six or four. I could get to be a SMALL. If I worked hard enough. If I just lost enough weight!

Like a lot of teenagers, I became obsessed with my weight. I stopped just short of developing a full blown eating disorder, but the obsession of counting calories consumed most waking moments for a couple years there... and I only ever made it to a size 8. Which at the time seemed like failure. Why not 6 or 4?

I haven't thought about all this kind of crap in a long time. Went to college, met a dude, got married, got secure in my body, myself. Have gone up and down in body size. Last year I dropped a bunch of weight due to a migraine med I went on, I know, you all want to punch me. All this to say, randomly, I haven't weighed so little since high school. I haven't tried on jeans to size myself (I abandoned pants with like, buttons, a couple years ago, I just wear jeggings, yay, pajamas you can wear outside!), but I did decide to try a new style, so I bought a bunch of dresses off ModCloth.

I figured, hey, I'm skinny now! I'm probably a Medium.

Picture me: aglow to get my new coat from Modcloth. I have not purchased new clothing (other than aforementioned jeggings) in two or three years. I take the glorious garment from the box and slip it on one arm. And then try to slip it on the other arm.

Except it doesn't go.

I mean, it sort of goes. I can jab the arm in there, but trying to button the damn thing, well let's just say that sucker's not going in. It almost gets there. But even if I suck in really, really hard, it's not making it. Because there are these things called RIBS. And they're in the way. Because even though I'm randomly so skinny that my waist is basically just my f'ing RIBS, I'm STILL not getting into a Medium.

That's right kids, I'm STILL A LARGE. At the smallest size I should healthily be, I'm a LARGE. 

There was never EVER hope of me fitting into a size 4 or 6. Because my BONES wouldn't have fit. I'm only now realizing this at age 32. The bones of my hips would literally split the seams and not get into those motherf'ers. It wasn't the 'thunder thighs.' There are bones involved!

So I start looking around at my friends. Like the one who fit into size 4's. Like, measuring the width of her hip bones to the width of mine. I'm so skinny now my hip bones freaking stick out! And there's no way these suckers are fitting in anything smaller than like a size 10 or 12 pants now that I'm an adult!

Yet when we say we're big-boned, people laugh under their breath. Yeah, okay, they think. Just a nice way of saying overweight. And then I want to punch them in the face. Now I have proof! I'm skinny enough to see these damn big bones poking out, and they're just mother'fing bigger than all the tiny size 4's out there!

I wish we could all rearrange our ideas of SMALL and LARGE or somehow do away with all this shit! GAH! Because these size idealizations screwed me up so much as a teenage girl. I was only ever gonna fit into Large or Extra-Large clothes, and not because I was fat. This is such an f'ing revelation to me, now all these years later. I want to go hug teenage Heather.

Long story short, I reordered the dresses and coat in Large.

THIS IS WHAT LARGE LOOKS LIKE! OR SKINNY! OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT! I feel f'ing gorgeous, so that's what I'll call it ;)