Re-release of Hard-Ass Is Here

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I just re-released what was my very first MM romance, Hard-Ass Is Here. It was originally published in 2013 and I still remember how exciting it was to get that acceptance email. Honestly, that thrill never wears off no matter how many books I write. Evey time I get an acceptance letter, it’s amazing. But there’s something about that first time. That first ‘yes’ we want your story.

The storyline of Hard-Ass Is Here is about, Taylor, who’s just gotten out of a bad relationship where he lost his cool and got himself arrested. Enter the new hard-ass boss, Phillip, who’s investigating a theft at Peterton Financial, where Taylor works. Unfortunately, the account being pilfered is Taylor’s responsibility.

Phillip suspects Taylor might be the thief, but he’s hugely drawn to him too. Things get more complicated when the men give in to their mutual attraction, but the stealing continues.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Excerpt:

“What the hell is this?” I scowled as Randy dumped a huge, sloppy pile of files and data sheets onto my desk.

“The new hard-ass is here.” Randy’s voice had the usual respect he afforded the higher-ups. None. “He wants us to go through all of these, ASAP,” Randy said.

“He’s here already?” I swiveled my chair and peeked out of my office to see a man standing with the bigwigs in front of the shimmering Christmas tree in the lobby. The new guy was about forty, black hair, at least six feet tall, with broad shoulders impeccably encased in what was probably a two-thousand-dollar designer jacket. His jaw was tense, belying the air of relaxed confidence he was doing his best to sell.

The guy allowed a polite smile as Sally, the receptionist, pulled a piece of shiny silver tinsel from his shoulder. Knowing Sally, she’d be positioning him under the mistletoe first chance she got.

“Where did he come from?” I asked.

“Your dreams?”

“Why didn’t anyone tell me he was already here?” I asked, ignoring Randy’s sarcasm.

“I am telling you.”

“I mean sooner. Why didn’t you tell me sooner? Did you explain to him we’ve compiled this already?”

“I tried. He’s good-looking, but he might be lacking in smarts.”

I exhaled impatiently. “It makes no sense to go through these again. We have it all in digital files already,” I grumbled, flipping through the sheets. “What is this, 1984?”

“You can take it up with Pretty Boy yourself. Looks like he’s making the rounds, and he’s coming this way.”

Great. This was who they sent? The guy looked like maybe he’d be an expert on hair products, but not necessarily business theft. We had a crook here at Peterton Financial and we needed someone who really knew their shit so we could catch the culprit. We’d been hemorrhaging buckets of money due to theft. Reviewing data printouts of losses we’d already gone over a hundred times was a waste of energy. My energy.

But the higher ups didn’t always care what I thought. Peterton Financial was a large, well-oiled machine, which meant it took a lot of busywork from little guys like me to justify the big bonuses the guys at the top raked in. I guess I’d have to shut up and let the new boss take a stab at fixing our branch’s problems. And when he failed and left, like the last two, I could get some actual work done.

“Ten bucks says he doesn’t last the week,” Randy whispered, waving a bill in front of my nose.

I eyed the new guy’s perfect haircut and aquiline nose. Maybe he was tougher than he looked? Probably not, but it was only ten bucks.

“You’re on.”

“Like taking candy from a baby,” Randy said, tucking the money back in his pocket.

Lucinda Mercy, the office manager, stopped at my door with Mr. Haircut.

“Taylor Williams, I’d like to introduce our new regional manager, Phillip Daniels.” She smiled at me, lipstick on her teeth. “Taylor is the senior financial analyst for the New York project.”

“Nice to meet you, Taylor.” Daniels took the lead. His shake was firm, the skin of his manicured hand smooth. I got a whiff of grapefruit, lavender, and lemongrass. He smelled terrific, I wasn’t going to deny he was enticing, but he wasn’t nearly as impressed with me since his gaze appeared tepid at best.

It had been a long time since I’d met someone as good-looking as Phillip Daniels up close and personal. In fact, I hadn’t been up close and personal with anyone in quite a while. I assumed that was why my pulse sped up and I felt a little flustered standing so near to him.

“I look forward to grabbing some alone-time with you.” My face warmed as I realized I sounded like I was hitting on him.  “I mean… you know to do work.” I grimaced.

His lips twitched. “I assumed.”

I laughed a little too loudly. “Right.” Pull it together.

He cleared his throat and said in a velvety tone, “I see Randy dropped off the files I want you to comb through.”

“Yeah.” I shifted uneasily. “About that, we’ve got all this on the computer. I don’t need to go through the hard copies.” I met his cool stare and hoped I didn’t sound as annoyed as I felt.

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist.” He lifted his chin.

I gave a surprised laugh. “No, I mean it’s been done several times already in hard copy and on the computer.”

He leaned toward me pointedly. “Then one more time going over the physical paperwork won’t hurt anybody, will it?”

I hesitated. Did he have bad hearing or something? “Seems a little silly to pay me to do something I’ve already done many times.” I spoke through gritted teeth, but I attempted to keep my expression pleasant.

“Why don’t you let me worry about the man hours?”

“Looking at the same thing thirty times isn’t going to change the outcome.”

“I guess we’ll see.” He narrowed his gaze.

Angry heat filled my face. “I’m happy to look over the computer stuff again if you really want me to. But I’m not inclined to go through all those paper files when it’s not necessary.”

“How about you get inclined?” His eyes flashed with irritation.

I sucked in a calming breath and counted to twenty. Ten wasn’t good enough. “I’ll see if I can get to it.”

A muscle in his jaw hardened. “On the contrary, I want you to make this a top priority.”

Apparently, we were now soundly engaged in a pissing contest. He might be gorgeous, but he was either dumb or an arrogant prick. “Maybe I’m not making myself clear. Let me try this one last time; these have already been gone through and saved to the computer. Everything piled on my desk right now is already scanned into the computer.” I spoke slowly, in case he was having trouble understanding the big words.

“Look, Taylor, is it? We need to get something straight right off the bat. I’m your boss, and I’m giving you a direct order.”

“I understand that, but I have a lot of work and this is a waste of my valuable time.”

Until Lucinda gasped, I’d forgotten she was there. She looked nervously between Phillip and me. “Um… Taylor what can it hurt to look the stuff over?”

I held up my hand. “With all due respect, Lucinda, I don’t think Mr. Daniels quite grasps my point.”

“Do you actually want to catch the thief, Taylor?” Phillip snapped.

“Of course I do, but—”

“Then you should be willing to do whatever it takes. Since you’re so familiar with the data, it shouldn’t take you long.”

“It’s not as simple as that. Going over all this is extremely time-consuming,” I said. “I have other things I need to get to. I have other deadlines.”

“I’m sure you’ll work it out. I expect a report ASAP.”

He turned his back on me and walked to the next cubicle, perhaps to spread his good cheer elsewhere. I stared after him feeling embarrassed and irritable at his abrupt dismissal.

“Wow, you like the rough stuff.” Randy snickered.

“Fuck off.” Warmth crept under my skin, and I kept my gaze as far from the frustrating Phillip Daniels as possible.

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WRITING TO MARKET By S.C. Wynne

BelievingRory_FBprofile_OptizimedForFeedI was thinking about how sometimes, as an author, I feel pressured into writing to what I think is commercial rather than what I would want to write about. But it occurred to me that isn’t why I write. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the lighter stories. I enjoy every story I write or I wouldn’t write it. But I do seem to be occasionally drawn to darker subjects. (Believing Rory and Painful Lessons would be examples of that) Or maybe just writing a story that isn’t dark, so much as it deals with dark subjects like stalking, death or subjects such as those. After all, I’m writing romance.

So I guess my question is; do you not buy books if they have any kind of serious subject? Do books that touch on the subject of death or grief turn you off? I don’t like movies or books that end sad, but I can handle anything if the book or movie ends happy. Are you like me, or do you veer away from anything that isn’t super cheerful and fluffy?

Go ahead and leave a response in the comment section along with your email address and I’ll pick two winners to receive an e-book of choice! I’m excited to hear what you have to say. Should authors just write to market or can you handle romance books that aren’t always light and fluffy, so long as they ultimately end happy?

S.C.

www.sc-wynne.com

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EDITS SOMETIMES FEEL LIKE A TRIP TO THE DENTIST

Editors are my partners in crime. I know this intellectually. But still, whenever I see edits sitting in my in-box, I must admit my stomach clenches. I instinctively brace for what’s to come.

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Some publishing houses are pretty intense. Others do a lighter edit. But they are all centered around pointing out how you did something wrong, or could do it differently. Just like the doctor with that damn tooth drill, no matter how much you floss and brush, the dentist always finds something you could have done better. Right? It’s the nature of the job.

But I also want to point out that I love my editors. LOVE them. Without them it would be a terrifying world. Sometimes I can’t believe the stuff they catch that I didn’t notice. I’ve accidentally changed the spelling of names, or mentioned someone is under twenty-one and then proceed to have them drinking wine at a restaurant. Hair colors change without warning. I would be lost without their watchful eyes. They protect me from myself. Plus, if you have a good editor they will give you positive feedback as well. I’ve been so fortunate to have great editors who encourage me and also enlighten me.teamwork

Every time I sell a story to a new publisher there’s a nervous anticipation until I meet the new editor. Will they get my voice? Will they understand my snarky humor? I’ve been so fortunate to have fantastic editors. We trade little funny comments back and forth. They make me laugh out loud a lot. I get a ton of strange looks from people who don’t understand why I’m guffawing at my computer.

The other side of the coin is editors are amazing in their ability to not take things personally. It’s such a relief to me that when I do disagree on something they don’t become offended. They are wonderful about accepting that we authors don’t always agree with them. I’m in awe of how beautifully they keep their egos in check. Editors discuss everything so rationally. It calms me because I know they will listen to my concerns, and not steam roll over me. That takes a special person to be able to do that.

I still remember my first edit. (I’m eyeballing you, Kathleen.)I had so much to learn. I still do. And I didn’t understand that many times editors are simply making suggestions. You don’t have to accept them. (Unless it’s house style or something non-negotiable. Like changing the capital of California to Santa Rosa because you think it’s prettier there than Sacramento.) In the beginning, I thought if an editor pointed something out I HAD to make the changes. That was definitely terrifying, and a bazillion times more stressful than it needed to be. Yes, a bazillion. You heard me. I’m grateful that my editors insist on how important it is for me to love my story. They encourage me to not make changes that will ruin the book for me.

I guess these feelings I have are normal. I like it when something is normal about me. No one likes to be corrected or criticized. Even when you know the other person is right. The more seasoned authors I talk with even get stressed when edits arrive in their in-boxes. That’s comforting to know. No matter how long you’ve been writing, or brushing your teeth, there will always be more to learn.

I’m glad I have my editors along to guide me. I’m thankful for Kathleen Calhoun, Sue Adams, KC and Elizabeth London for all they have taught me and continue to teach me. I’m so proud and happy to work with them. I’m secure in the knowledge that they have my back. I won’t make a fool of myself if they have anything to say about it. And luckily they do have lots to say about it.

I’m eternally grateful for my editors. I have nothing but warm fuzzy feelings toward them. I wish I could say the same about my dentist.

 

 

Creativity is such an odd thing when examined.

 

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Every now and then it strikes me how odd us humans are. And I mean that in a good way.

We create books, songs and paintings and then we hold them out to others, much like Stuart from Mad TV, and we say “Look what I can do!” stuart-2

It’s such a funny thing really. I mean people will assemble and pay money to have others sing for them, or read to them. Humans love to be entertained. We need to hear the stories and see the pictures other humans dream up. It’s wonderful that there are the ones who need to express themselves and the ones who are interested in what others have to say. And the majority of us are probably a mixture of both.

These made up books, songs and movies actually make us cry, and laugh. The stories stick with us for days sometimes and we can’t shake that make believe world. I remember reading A Separate Peace as a teenager and I was depressed for days. But I loved that book and how it made me feel. Ordinary People did the same thing to me.

There are entire multi-million dollar industries based solely on people making up stories for others to enjoy. We pay some actors millions of dollars to pretend to be someone else just so we can experience the moment with them. We re-read and re-watch movies over and over, wanting to feel those initial emotions from the first time all over again. Humans crave this hijacking of our brains. Cats…they like to play with string. Dogs like to chase balls. Humans? We’ll pay good money just to be dragged away from reality for an hour.

Strange as creativity seems to me sometimes, I’m so thankful for it. I’m honored to experience other peoples stories and songs. I’m so happy that I get to share my thoughts and emotions through my characters. It’s cathartic, and fulfilling and it feeds something deep inside me that nothing else could.

www.sc-wynne.com

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