Allison Temple Blog

Awkward and Thoroughly Kissable
Posts tagged romance
The Best (and Others) of 2018
So Long 2018.jpg

So Long 2018.jpg

So first off, this is being posted in error, because there is NO WAY IN HELL that 2018 is almost over. This has without a doubt been one of the most action packed years of my life...which is funny, because I spent an awful lot of it working from my couch.

I wanted to write about the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of 2018, but since we also all want to leave here in a good mood, I'm going to do it backwards. This is going to be like one of those food blog posts where I ramble and you keep scanning for the recipe. Bear with me. There are some good bits in here.

The Ugly

I had a publishing deal....and then I didn't. You can read a bit about it here, but let's just say I have to tell myself it was the right decision, even when everything else is uncertain.

The Bad

My grandmother passed away in October. It was quick without being sudden. We are all sad, but I can't say we were surprised.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 6.03.31 PM

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 6.03.31 PM

Her passing overlapped with the GRL Retreat. I was on the highway somewhere in Pennsylvania when she left us. My family and I had talked a lot whether or not I should go to Virginia at all, and in the end decided I should.

It's surreal to be all by yourself in a place you don't know when one of the pillars of your childhood leaves this world, but I drove 3000 km that week (see Figure 1) and had lots of time to grieve, remember, and distract myself with hours of Sam of Wilds' audiobooks shenanigans (more on that below).

Okay that that's done, let's get to the stuff you actually click the link for.

The Good

So much good. Good reads. Good friends. In no particular order these are:

I published a book!!

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Untitled design-9

Four books, actually. 2018 was the year I became an honest to god published romance author. It has been awesome and exhausting and sometimes heartbreaking, but I would do it all over again.

Three of these stories are short and can be found here for free. Going Down is brand spanking new and features the sexiest truth or dare game ever played in an elevator. It will also be moving to Amazon in the new year, so you should pick up your free copy now.

Speaking of pick ups, The Pick Up you have to pay for, but it's averaging 4.4 stars on Amazon, so I promise this small town single dad romance is worth your time. Also, it's on sale until January 5 if you use the code SALE18 when purchasing from the publisher's website. If you need more convincing, you can read about it here.

I discovered Verania.

I'm a slow reader. Super slow. A book a month is about my speed.

Last year, I was at GRL in Denver and Brandon Witt was speaking in a panel and said something like "And then I read The Lightning-Struck Heart and it had Gary the Hornless Gay Unicorn," and I had never heard of the book, but there was a ripple of . . . something in the room.

I didn't think about the book again until this past winter when Wish Upon the Stars came out and so there was a sale on The Lightning-Struck Heart and so I bought it and then whispersynced that puppy to get the audiobook and . . . is it hubris if I say my life changed?

Sam appreciates hubris. Let's go with it.

TJ Klune does not need my shout out. His fans are legion. And most of you are rolling your eyes going "Come on Allison, I knew about Verania ages ago!" But for me, as a long-time audiobook afficianado, this series is one of the best produced I've ever listened to. If you haven't done so already, give yourself the Gift Of Verania this holiday season (I capitalized it, so you know it's true).

I met some awesome people and read their awesome books.

I hesitate to write this, because just like we hope-click 'best of' lists even though we know our books won't be on them, someone is going to look at my recommendations and be disappointed that I didn't include their story.

Know that, if we are writerly friends, I appreciate every conversation we've had this year. A lot of writing is navel gazing and pep talks and it's awesome that the community is supportive enough that these can happen any time of the day.

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Untitled design-3

Craft Brew is book 2 in the Trouble Brewing series, which means you should probably read book 1. . . and that means you should probably read the Agents Irish and Whisky series to get the full impact. But if you're not down for that kind of commitment, just start with Imperial Stout and get ready for Nic's silver-fox-in-a-suit-hiding-so-many-yummy-tattoos and Cam's balls-out-Boston-but-Cam's-not-out-and-I-have-so-many-feelings-about-this. Seriously. The books are fast paced, the eye candy (even if it's in my head) is delightful, and there's still one more book in the series to go in 2019!

Life of Bliss is also a book 2 and I've been going back and forth about whether I like or its predecessor, Life on Pause, more. In the end, I picked Life of Bliss because I didn't know wake-up-married was a trope I'd be down for, but Vic and Todd are so frigging cute, the pining is so sweet and earnest, and Erin McLellan is my favourite sex toy queen, and this story is tamer than some of her others, but still doesn't disappoint.

Where Death Meets the Devil was quite possibly the best book I read in 2018 and LJ Hayward has subsequently put out a Coda, three novellas, and an excellent second novel in the Death and the Devil series, so while I still like the opening gambit (I'm just in awe of the dual timelines) the best, there are lots more words to help get you through your book hangover.

At some point, I'm going to write a 'what's up for 2019?' post. The short answer is SO MUCH! Thanks for being part of my debut year misadventures. Let's continue the journey next year!

All of the Above?
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anthony-tran-378336-unsplash

What genre do you like to read and write?

(this post is based on the Marketing for Romance Writers 52 Week Challenge)

I'm not fussy...there is very little in romance that is a hard no for me. I'm not a huge BDSM fan, and I don't really get MPREG, but if someone pressed their favourite BDSM MPREG into my hands and told me my life would be incomplete until I'd read it, I'd probably try it.

I find contemporary romance easiest to write. It gives me familiar settings and really lets me dig into the characters to find out what makes them tick. I'd love to write romantic suspense, but I'd need to do a ton of work on plotting big external plots and also on law enforcement...spies...terrorists...you get the idea.

My TBR pile is giant and varied though. Books I've read most recently include:

So yeah. It's all pretty gay. But otherwise, there's pretty well the whole shebang in there. Better find a couple historical romances to balance it all out.

What do you love to read or write?

The Hook Up

UPDATED, JULY 2018: The Hook Up has moved. You can get it for free by signing up for my newsletter.

 

Okay folks, Mondays are hard, so how about a freebie?

The most common thing I saw in reviews for The Pick Up was that people wanted to know more about Kyle's history with Olivia.

Fortunately, I wrote a short story about that very thing! Here's the night that Kyle met Olivia.

Remember the fights? The lost phone? It's all there. But also, there's karaoke! Ice sculptures! Revenge via veggie fries!

Don't worry though, if you haven't read The Pick Up (although you totally should anyway), The Hook Up stands on its own.

And did I mention it's free?

And available right now?

All you have to do is clicky click on the link and grab a copy!

Happy reading!

PS, I've got more Red Creek shorts planned for later this year. Members of my Facebook group always get them first. Join us if that's a thing that sounds like fun!

The Pick Up

Another excerpt from my trip to the bank.

"How long have you been a writer?"

"Well, I mean, I think people who are writers, it's always something they've done. You know? There's always a history. Bad poetry, terrible short stories and-"

"No. It's for the computer. I have to put a start date for your job."

Oh.

What do I tell him? Is it the day I started writing The Pick Up? The day I finished it and decided it was something I might try to publish?

In the end, I gave him the date last July when I signed my contract with Riptide. I was a writer long before there was a document with terms and conditions on it that said other people thought I was a writer too.

Today though. Today will always be special. Today is the day The Pick Up is released into the world, so today is the day you all find out I'm a writer too.

I hope you read Kyle and Adam's story. I really hope you like it. I'd love to hear from you. More importantly, I hope others hear from you. This industry is so dependent on word of mouth. So if you read it (even if you don't love my guys as much as I do), leave a review. On Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, or just with your book club. There's more Red Creek coming. You want people to join in the fun, don't you?

If you don't have a copy of The Pick Up yet, you can get all ebook formats and hard copies direct from Riptide, or from you favourite online retailer.

Thanks for reading!

A

A Blonde Moment

True story, I don't look like anyone else in my family. We all have blue eyes, but where my button nose and rosebud mouth* came from is a mystery.

Also a mystery is why my hair never went truly brown. My family is littered with childhood blondes who eventually went brunette. My hair is darker than it was, but I cling to the fact that it still falls under the blonde heading.

All this to say, I should absolutely be excused for completely blanking on the mystery box that arrived today. Even though Riptide emailed me two weeks ago and asked how many copies of The Pick Up I wanted. Even though we have less than seven weeks until release day. Even so, I opened that box with all the innocent enthusiasm of a four-year-old on Christmas morning.

A blonde four-year-old at that.

And then...

I cried a bit. I texted everyone I thought might be close to their phone. I spammed social media.

I wrote a book. It's a real book now. In just under two months, you can read it too! I hope you will!

The Pick Up is available for preorder from Riptide Publishing.

*those are my grandmother's words, not mine. I didn't look like her either.

Don't Freak Out

screams-of-joy-2481573_1920 I already freaked out for you, so don't bother.

But The Pick Up is available for pre-order on the Riptide Website. Would do you me a favour and go check it out?

Kyle’s life is going backwards. He wanted to build a bigger life for himself than Red Creek could give him, but a family crisis has forced him to return to his hometown with his six-year-old daughter. Now he’s standing in the rain at his old elementary school, and his daughter’s teacher, Mr. Hathaway, is lecturing him about punctuality. 

Adam Hathaway is not looking for love. He’s learned the hard way to keep his personal and professional life separate. But Kyle is struggling and needs a friend, and Adam wants to be that friend. He just needs to ignore his growing attraction to Kyle’s goofy charm, because acting on it would mean breaking all the rules that protect his heart.

Putting down roots in this town again is not Kyle’s plan. As soon as he can, he’s taking his daughter and her princess costumes and moving on. The more time he spends with Adam, though, the more he thinks the quiet teacher might give him a reason to stay. Now he just has to convince Adam to take a chance on a bigger future than either of them could have planned.

The cover is coming soon (and it is ADORABLE), but you really want to read this book, right? Coming March 5!!

My Mom Might See This

caleb-woods-182648 Last week there was much righteous angst and furor over Romance's 'feature' in the New York Time Book Review. Apparently it started out promising, with an entwined couple on the review's cover. The NYT promised readers a Roundup of the Season's Romances. Then things started to fall apart, the roundup written by someone who either has an axe to grind or couldn't be bothered to do anything like research.

By the time I heard about the sexist and patronizing drivel contained in said roundup, the editorials and angry rants had already started happening online. I mean, some of the books cited weren't even published this season, or even in this decade. What was the point of the title? And then the review's author rounded it all up with "Why shouldn't women dream?"

Thanks. I didn't need your permission. I'll dream on my own terms.

 When I got married, Jane Austen loomed large in speeches from family. My cousin played a guessing game of romantic quotes (she might have spiked the deck with a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, just because she could). My mom referred to the ubiquitous accomplished woman, but pointed out that in the 21st century, we liked to snorkel, could rock a hard hat on a job site, and our extensive reading now included sparkling vampires (it was the height of the Twilight craze, don't judge).

I don't feel the need to defend my reading preferences, or my writing ones. I like what I like. There are so many moving and beautifully written romances out there. It's disheartening to see articles like the NYT that perpetuate the attitudes that romance novels are something that should be hidden under your mattress, and that the genre only includes heterosexual dukes, governesses, billionaires and pregnant virgins. I know that's not true and, if you're reading this, you probably know that's not true too. Those of us who write queer characters, or space pirates, or even Scottish lairds not in the Regency period, are all very disappointed to hear that we don't write 'real' romance.

My bio is up on the Riptide website. I showed it to my boss, who is white, male, and in his fifties. He poked around the website for a minute. "I'm noticing a trend in what they publish," he said. Nary a heterosexual duke or pregnant virgin to be seen. I just raised an eyebrow. He's an observant fellow, my boss.

I shared the bio link on every social media channel I have. Mid-day today, Facebook told me my mom had liked my author page. That made my heart skip a little. She's been very supportive my adventures in publishing, going so far as to scoop up a stack of my newly printed business cards to give to friends the last time she came to visit, but she hasn't hunted me down online until now. On my drive home, she proudly told me over the phone that she has added my blog to her Wordpress favourites (I didn't even know she knew how to do that). Cue another heart skip.

All this to say, my mom might see this post. I'm not stuffing my writing under the mattress. I started dreaming about this long before the New York Times told me it was okay. I'm lucky I have family who support this crazy publishing dream, when so many people, both strangers and others, are more than happy to roll their eyes and snicker at the inhabitants and creators Romancelandia.

My mom is going to see this post. Leave a comment to say hi, so she knows how cool we all are.

 

Plot Bunnies

firefighter-752540_1920.jpg So...there may have been some misadventures in the Temple household this evening. These misdaventures may have involved a microwave, an incinerated sweet potato, a distracted writer on a deadline, and the local fire department.

The end of the story is we're all fine. Except the sweet potato. I don't think he'll be coming back from this.

The good news is I now have a really cute plot bunny hopping through my head. It involves a well meaning and somewhat overweight main character who, on a quest to eat healthier, learns the hard way that sweet potatoes should not be left in microwaves unattended. Fortunately, there is a hot firefighter there to help him learn this lesson safely. Love and general adorableness ensues.

Sounds like a true-to-life bestseller, no?

Sunday Run Down

216247_10151632534930520_1496248641_n As I'm sure you can imagine, it's been busy around here lately. True story, I got my first publishing offer on March 31, which was immediately followed by a flurry of agents, more publishers, emails written with shaking hands and, if we're being honest, a certain amount of hurry up and wait.

I wrote a more concise post about how it all went down on Medium, and it was picked up by the good folks at Art + Marketing. If you're a Medium user, I'd love it if you read it and leave me a little green heart.

Next steps? Well, we're in uncharted territory now. I need to have a polished MS for The Pick Up to Riptide in two weeks. Then I have to have book 2 done by the end of the year! I picked that deadline myself. Brave or stupid, as my husband would say. There's a lot of writing in my future.

I'll be in Denver in October for the GRL Retreat. If you're a m/m romance fan and planning on going, I'd love to see you! I'm going as a reader, not an author, but that doesn't mean we can't be friends :)

The Big One

jon-tyson-195064.jpg Well, here it is. The big news. I've been a lousy blogger, but that's because every week, when I think about writing, I think 'no. You'll be able to tell them soon. Just give it a few more days'.

And now I can tell you!

Starting in 2018, the Red Creek series (yes, SERIES!!) will be published by Riptide Publishing!

Fo realz y'all!! We'll start with Kyle and Adam (and Princess-Astronaut Caroline). Editing starts in a couple weeks, and then I get to write my brains out for a year to get two more stories turned in!

Go big or go home, right?

Can't wait for you to meet everyone :) And don't forget to sign up for my mailing list so you can get updates on releases, excerpts, and other awesomeness!