Happy Writer’s Wednesday!!! Today I have fellow Rebel Lila Munro visiting! So everyone…say Hello, Lila!
Welcome, Lila! I’m so glad you could stop by! Let’s get started. Shall we?
Good day, readers! Before I get started on the long ago and far away tale I’ve spun up for today, I’d like to thank Heather for hosting me and allowing me to take over her blog today. J The space is much appreciated and I look forward to sharing my story with her and you, the readers.
I’ve not shared my story in a long while. It seems that once you get started in this business the focus shifts from who you are and where you came from to “what did you just write and what are you writing next?” Although I still do answer a lot of interview questions, it seems they are less personal these days and more geared toward what I think as a writer, what I do as a writer, and who I think is a good writer. And quite honestly, this blog opportunity and subject matter couldn’t have come at a better time because about twice a year I evaluate what I’m doing and where I’m going, tweak my goals and assess what I want from this crazy author’s life. It just happens that we just made the six month mark on 2013 and after cleaning out all the closets about two months ago and moving from North Carolina to Washington State, the time to evaluate has come. I’ve found over the course of the last few years, when I begin this evaluating, it always helps me to reconnect to where I came from and what I wanted then—those things help me stay grounded and in tune with what I hope to achieve. It helps me to not wander off the path at the first sign of a shiny thing. (And in all honesty, I’m having quite a dry spell with the writing, so maybe this will also jar the muse awake.)
So…here we go…long ago and far away…
I’ve always had a love of the written word even before I understood what written meant. As a child I loved to be read to and at age three, I had memorized the entire book The Little Red Hen verbatim as a result of it being read to me so often. And I do mean verbatim. In fact, my mother used me as a prop in her scheme to “get one over” on our great granny. I guess my mother had heard about my “super smart” cousin just one too many times so she convinced my great granny that at age three—I could read! (Bear in mind, this was long before the days of Hooked on Phonics.) How did we achieve this ruse? Well, she sat me down in my tiny rocker with The Little Red Hen in hand and I “read” the whole thing to granny even pausing at all the appropriate spots. This of course makes me smile even today. Ha!
With a passion for reading, I forged forward “writing” my own tales in the scribbled mess that is the stuff of young folk before they learn to write their ABCs and boring my younger sister into oblivion by reading the chicken scratches to her as she stirred “soup” in our little yellow kitchen from Sears. At age eight, I was so convinced I was the next John Boy Walton, I asked Santa for a typewriter—and he delivered! Praise be! I was now a real writer. It took me another seven years to learn to use it, thank you Miss Reece from freshman year typing—you made this writer’s life a WHOLE lot easier! Of course somewhere between getting the typewriter and learning to type, I had a creative writing teacher in sixth grade who planted the seed of belief by telling me I had the innate capability of carrying a story line. I think my twenty-some-odd page “book” rather than a three page essay for my final project convinced him of it. *hehe*
The odd thing is, once I learned to use the typewriter, I long-handed my stories for years after that, which coincidentally all ended up in some dumpster somewhere—my angst ridden teen novel I finished senior year in high school: dumpster! The next great American novel from sophomore year college: dumpster! The first one I typed was while living in Okinawa for three years (really what else does one do when confined to an island with no Wal-Mart?): dumpster!
Putting yourself out there is a scary, scary thing. At that point it was safer to just hide what I was doing. I mean innate capability or not, who was I really?
Let’s see, what happens next…
Oh, yes! Have a baby, graduate college, marriage, divorce, re-marriage, move to Okinawa…and travel and travel and travel, whew! Before I knew it, I was 40. **slaps forehead!** Dear Lord! I was nearly over the hill and had not achieved publication yet and it’d been on my list of things to do for years taking a back seat to…life…
At 40 I was a grandma and the nest was empty, the economy was in the tank and in spite of all my Jill of All Trades skills I was unemployed for the first time in my life and wandering in a circle in the middle of my living room floor looking for something else to clean.
That’s been almost five years ago.
That summer, after scrubbing a whole in the linoleum cleaning it for the umpteenth time, I visited my local book store and stocked up on a guilty indulgence I’d neglected myself of for many years in lieu of “deeper” fiction—IE my child’s textbooks and the Bible (people if you’ve not raised teen boys—buy a Bible now! You will need it!)
Holy shit! Romance sure had changed. It looked a lot like I wished it looked like when I was in my twenties and early thirties. It was naughty and the doors on the bedroom were open! I read like a woman starved for air and before I knew it, there was a stack of “used” books littering the corner beside my reading chair and my muse, God bless her heart, stepped out of her slumber, stretched, yawned, and looked around.
“What’s up?” she asked, with a sly smile.
“Feel like writing one of these?” I waved a copy of Alison Kent’s, The Sweetest Taboo in the air with a smile on my face. “I think we can do this.”
For those of you who don’t know, Alison basically blazed the trail for the Harlequin Blaze series with her saucy style and no holds barred ideas. She was one of the first people to step across the line from hot contemporary romance to what can be considered erotic romance. The Sweetest Taboo was an older read but after reading it and the hot sex scene on the table in the corner of that little bar where a writer in hiding hoped to remain anonymous, I was hooked! Another title that took me in that fall was One Good Man. Again hot in a subtle way.
In March of the next year, I submitted my first piece, The Executive Officer’s Wife to Wild Horse Press, who sadly closed their doors earlier this year. I will never be able to repay them for giving me my first chance and opening my eyes to the world of publishing, introducing me to my best friend, and grooming me for what was next.
My dream then was to someday write for one of big presses, attend RWA meetings and conventions, soar…and stand alongside the greats at Harlequin, Alison included. But, fear of rejection and circumstances kept me from submitting to a bigger press and I soon found my second home with Whiskey Creek Press where Bound by Trust still lives.
It was after my best friend introduced me to Rebel Ink Press I settled into a groove and for the last three years I’ve made Rebel Ink Press my publishing home, even veered off the path from what I began writing. I moved from contemporary and erotic romance into the deeper waters of BDSM and ménage. And recently I’ve begun to contemplate…
Thanks again for having me by! Hope you enjoy a bit of my latest release, Love Vindicated, Steele Image book 1.
In 1980, Kyle Montgomery’s life was seemingly perfect. Heavily recruited by Force Recon fresh from the Naval Academy, he’d been working black ops for the Marine Corps for six years and was on the cusp of being promoted to Major. He was on the fast track to bigger and better things, had all the right people vetting him, and he’d married the woman of his dreams and was exploring a lifestyle which could have ended his career. With the Iranian embassy under siege and the Middle East in turmoil, Kyle was sent on a mission which would change the course of his life forever.
Returning home after three months of being invisible, Kyle finds his wife has been murdered by the very people he’d been sent to protect. And instead of the government retaliating, they hand him his walking papers with the agreement they’ll never speak of the events again. It’s like Kyle never existed. His wife never existed. And the people who maimed and tortured her never existed.
Resigned to never again walk that path, Kyle opens the first Steele Image club with the thought of providing a safe haven for others like him, those who were invisible to the public and most of the government. Those who had eclectic sexual tastes. Those who would later become his allies. And his enemies. What he never expected, after settling into the comfortable role of detached service sadist, was to find someone to once again call lover. Haley Kilpatrick awakens the side of Kyle he believed dead, challenging him emotionally, physically, and intellectually and driving him back to the place he’d thought he’d let go of forever to vindicate his love…
“Hello,” the man who’d retrieved her head gash patient said.
Haley blinked a couple of times then came to her numbed senses and drew her brows together. “How the hell did you find me and what the hell do you want?”
“Rough day?” he asked, pointing at the mug hanging in Haley’s right hand, tilting a bit while the contents sloshed dangerously close to the rim.
“You should know,” she snapped, recovering her grip just in time. “You were there for all of five minutes of it.”
“Yes, about that, I came to apologize for my man, it seems he…”
“You know what?” Haley cut him off. “I don’t give a fiddler’s damn what his problem was. Whatever it was, it was no excuse to berate me, feel me up like fruit at the farmer’s market, or refuse help. So, barring there was something else, take your apology and go away.” Haley started to slam the door in his face only to have him step half-in and stop it.
“No, it wasn’t. Not any more of an excuse than his behavior is for you getting belted.” He eyed her mug again then looked into her eyes which Haley was sure were veiled under a Hoppleganger glaze. “What else happened today?”
“Nothing,” she whispered, wanting to deny the pull he had on her, but it seemed the more she tried to pry her eyes from his, the harder it was to accomplish doing just that. “Nothing for you to worry about. Apology accepted. Now please.” She pressed the door against the brick wall that was his frame and looked away before the tears she’d been containing since noon surfaced and she made a fool of herself in front of a perfect stranger. “Please go,” she begged.
“No.” With the utmost care, he reached up and peeled her fingers from the edge of the door and pushed her hand away then hooked his fingers under her chin and held her gaze. “Let me in, Haley. Now.”
The fact that he knew her name should have been the first thing to register, but as it were, it came in a distant second to the heat which immediately pooled low in Haley’s insides and settled across her. Everything in her screamed for her to push back, make him leave, call for help, but God help her, the actions never came and the words lodged in her throat as she found herself nodding and backing away from the door to allow him complete entry.
For a moment they stood, sizing each other up, then in two strides the man was toe to toe with her and he cradled her face, fingers running into the wisps of hair hanging loose around her cheeks. In one swift movement, his head came down and without further warning, his lips overtook hers and his tongue swept across them, prying her open to his demands. The mug she’d had such a tight hold on fell to the carpet landing with a dull thud, sending the bittersweet earthy odor of hops and barley into the air.
Paralyzed, Haley stood limp, allowing the man to take exactly what he wanted, exactly what she wanted him to take. She couldn’t have stopped him if she tried.
After traveling the world for nearly two decades and spending the better part of the last ten years in the Carolinas bouncing from duty station to duty station, Lila Munro has most recently followed her husband to the Portland, Oregon area making a new home north of the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. She’s a military wife with an empty nest save one furry and quite mischievous Siberian Husky and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past seventeen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance that spans everything from the sensual softer read to BDSM and ménage. When she’s not writing, Lila enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum, taking field research trips, and exploring her surroundings to include everything from micro-breweries to the mountains all around her to the local farmers markets. Her works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Private Pirouette, the Identity Series, the Slower Lower series, Force Recon anthologies, and the At Your Service series. Currently she is working on the Steele Image line and its companion short story series Steele Clips. Ms. Munro loves to hear from her readers and can be found at www.lilamunro.com on Facebook at LilaMunroAuthor and Twitter @lilamunro