It’s Too Early in the Morning for This: Reading, Writing, and Editing Sex

I also wrote a post for the Just Contemporary Romance blog, where I discuss how I approach sex scenes. (Hint: Carefully. Especially at eight in the morning.) And click over to their blog for a giveaway!


When it comes to romance novels, I’m promiscuous. I have very few nonnegotiable demands, other than an entertaining story, clear consent before sex, and non-abusive behavior from the heroes and heroines. I don’t care whether the book is set in the past, present, or future. It makes no difference to me whether the protagonists are humans, vamps, or aliens. The story can be funny or angst-ridden, lyrically written or brutally efficient in its verbiage. And while I don’t mind novels where the climactic payoff is a simple kiss, I also get a kick out of erotica.

But I understand that many—most?—readers are not like me. They have favorite subgenres and definite opinions about heroes, heroines, preferred mood, and writing style. This is especially true, I think, when it comes to sexual content. I’m happy to read almost anything, but not everyone wants to encounter tumescent body parts every few pages.

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Love in the Stacks

Today, I’m visiting Mary Gramlich’s blog to discuss how I perennially disappoint my mom by not making my heroes baby-toting cowboys who also play professional sports and volunteer for the local firehouse. (Love you, Mom!) Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for my book on her site!

Book with heart

As far as my mother is concerned, all good romances feature cowboys, firefighters, or professional athletes. And if the hero happens to be a hockey-playing rancher who volunteers for the local firehouse—and preferably acquires an infant at some point in the story—all the better.

Unfortunately for her, those stories aren’t my catnip. No, I focus on a slightly different type of hero and heroine: Nerds. Book jockeys. Smart, snarky, and sometimes socially awkward human beings.** Which inevitably results in the following conversation every time I start writing a new book:

Mom: So is your hero a firefighter?
Me: No.
Mom: A cowboy?
Me: Nope.
Mom: A hockey player?
Me: NO.
Mom: Does he play baseball?
Me: For the love of God, NO!
Mom: [pauses] Maybe your next book?
Me: NO, MOM. IT WILL NEVER BE A COWBOY, OKAY?
Mom: So…nerds again?
Me: Yes.
Mom: Huh.

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Librarians: We’re Way Filthier Than You’d Think

I’m visiting Shelley K. Wall’s blog today to talk about librarians! We may seem innocent, but…well, you’ll see.


I am a proud former librarian. I am also the possessor of a potty mouth, a bawdy sense of humor, and an e-reader that should’ve melted long ago because of its smutty contents.

While I worked at the library, the combination of my job and my personality sometimes surprised people. I understood why. In the popular imagination, librarians love silence, propriety, and—above all else—glaring over the tops of their bifocals at troublesome patrons. They don’t swear. They don’t tell dick jokes. And they certainly don’t read sexy books.

Turns out, though, that’s not quite true. If you talk to librarians, you’ll find a wide array of personalities. Some of my favorite coworkers did direct death stares at noisy library visitors, and a few refused to read books with sexual content. Others, however, actually ended up getting shushed by patrons (*coughMEcough*) for speaking too loudly or laughing too hard at dirty internet memes.

And many of us loved romances. In my case, that love led to writing romances of my own.

But I didn’t forget the library, even though I no longer worked there. My debut novella, Broken Resolutions, is set in one. It features a quiet but determined librarian named Penny, who meets her perfect match on New Year’s Eve. The later books in my Lovestruck Librarians series feature her friends, all of whom work in the same library system.

So before Broken Resolutions downloads onto e-readers around the world, I should probably clarify a few things. Here are four true/false questions to test your librarian knowledge:

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The Public Librarian’s Ultimate Guide to Flirting with Cute, Single Patrons (Unabridged Ed.)

For the debut of Broken Resolutions, I wrote a ton of blog tour posts. The first one goes live today. Here’s a peek at it. And it includes a giveaway!

pretty african college student reading in library

[NOTE: The American Library Association denied the very existence of this guide—written by the famed and mysterious Librarian X—for years. In a daring caper, however, I managed to steal a copy from a sealed vault in the Library of Congress, shortly before Nicolas Cage came in through the air vent. You’re welcome. —Olivia Dade, former librarian and author of Broken Resolutions]

So you’ve spied a single, attractive patron in the stacks of your library or in front of your circulation/reference desk, and you think the two of you would make a perfect couple. Congratulations! Some librarians go their entire working lives without experiencing true love at the library. Librarians like me, for example. But I’m not bitter at all!

Anyway, you should immediately begin to activate Protocol 613.9. Please follow the steps below.

1. Ask yourself the following questions: Are you asleep? Or hallucinating? Have you taken any new medicines or eaten any mushrooms of dubious provenance? Because honestly, hot patrons aren’t exactly thick on the ground in public libraries. I would know.

In the unlikely event you answered “no” to all those questions, please proceed to step 2.

2. Observe the people around your hot patron. Could any of them be his/her spouse? Yes, I know you said the patron was single, but that just seems so unlikely, I wanted to make absolutely certain—

Okay, fine. Let’s move on to step 3.

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To Everyone’s Surprise, I Got Married Nine Years Ago. To No One’s Surprise, It Was Awkward.

I’m in the midst of writing Driven to Distraction, the fifth book in my Lovestruck Librarians series. Near the beginning of the story, a prior heroine and hero get married in a ceremony attended by all their friends.

Fun, right? Except that, for the life of me, I couldn’t seem to get a handle on that chapter. For a full day, I attempted to imagine various aspects of the scene: what the bride would wear, what vows the groom would make, the flowers, the cake…

None of it inspired me. At all.

I really wanted any fans of this hero and heroine to feel satisfied by the wedding, but I couldn’t get the words on the page.

Then it finally occurred to me: Apparently, in fiction as in real life, I don’t really give a damn about weddings. Love, yes. Weddings, no.

As a child, I never made Barbie marry Ken. My Barbie, despite the permanent arch of her feet and the disturbing holes in the sides of her head—the better to accommodate high heels and earrings, respectively—led an independent life of adventure. Well, maybe not adventure. But she could claim sole ownership of a luxurious Dream House and a shiny Corvette.

My Barbie even boasted some skimpy lingerie. Poor Ken never saw any of it. As far as I was concerned, Barbie’s staid boyfriend did not meet her needs. Too young to attribute Barbie’s dissatisfaction to Ken’s eerily smooth nether regions, I simply decided he was boring. And so Barbie remained single, glamorous, and happy, even after I gave her a haircut suitable for asylum inmates.

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I’M AN AMAZON! (Oh, wait. Sorry. That should read: “I’m ON Amazon!”)

Though a substantial, geeky part of me wishes I were joining a tribe of female warriors with bare right breasts, I’m writing to announce something else instead:

The first two books of my Lovestruck Librarian series are now available on Amazon.

BrokenResolutionsMyRecklessValentine

<———-SEE? TOTALLY ON AMAZON! WITH COVERS AND EVERYTHING!

And I am incredibly, ridiculously excited about it. Not because I prefer that particular site to the other places my book will be sold, but because I own a Kindle. Which means that, come December 8, I’ll be able to download my own book onto my own e-reader.

Admittedly, this makes my book only one of hundreds on my Kindle. But I can’t wait. Soon, I’ll be able to bookmark or add notes to my own story! Or—best of all—highlight favorite passages! (And by favorite, I obviously mean smuttiest.)

I love seeing that listing on Amazon. I’ve navigated to it dozens of times already. Somehow, looking at my cover there makes my work real in a way that even signing the publication contract didn’t.

Broken Resolutions is my debut book, written before I had an agent or contract. I drafted it in response to a publisher’s open submission call without any expectation of it selling, or of anyone reading it other than my ever-patient critique partner (hi, Mia!) and the poor editor who’d surely (and immediately) reject it. Still, I’d just attended the 2014 Romance Writers of America Conference in San Antonio, where I’d watched Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway discuss the art and advantages of novella-writing. That session inspired me. As did the idea of setting a story in my most recent place of work: the library.

So in late July of last year, I sat down and wrote a novella, with no idea that this particular manuscript would be the key to finding both an agent and a publisher for my work. With no idea that the book would become the first in a series of stories set in the same fictional library system. And, most importantly, with no idea that in the space of a year, I’d be able to witness what I’d written become available to the world.

I’ll be honest. When I see my book available for sale, I kind of feel like a fierce warrior. I feel like I’ve conquered an army, or at least successfully raided the far border of Bookland, surrounded all the while by my loyal, invaluable tribe of friends.

I feel like an Amazon, albeit one with both boobs (generally) covered.

I know there are more battles to come, some of which I may lose. But I’ll always have this first taste of victory to hearten me, no matter what happens in the future.

Tomorrow, I resume my normal life of sitting slumped in front of a computer screen in pajamas. But today…today, I celebrate.*

*NOTE: By celebrate, I mean highlight the smuttiest parts of other people’s books on my Kindle, since that is pretty much my favorite activity in the world.

P.S. If you’d like to preorder my book, you can do so from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, or Kobo. Thanks for your support!