FIRST NIGHT is now #Free Everywhere

It took a little while to convince Amazon to drop the price to free, but it’s finally free everywhere. So if you prefer to buy for your Kindle directly from Amazon, now you can. (It’s also available for free at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Scribd and Smashwords too.)

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FIRST NIGHT, a short story prequel to the Hauberk Protection series. Was it the excitement of the New Year or stubborn pride that drove Jodi Tyler to challenge her boss? But when the clock strikes midnight, and the ball drops on Times Square, has Jodi Tyler won the bet or lost her heart?

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First Night by Leah Braemel,

© 2008, 2014 Leah Braemel

It might have been the two glasses of champagne that drove Jodi Tyler to consider her friend Terri’s dare. Or maybe, she told herself for the fifth time, she really was concerned her boss was working himself too hard.

Though her mouth was moving, Jodi could barely hear a word of Terri’s explanation over Hector’s attempts at singing and the amps blasting full-power. The music itself wasn’t bad—Juan and Tyrell both played a mean guitar—but Hector needed to be muzzled for mangling U2’s New Year’s Day so badly.

Champagne sloshing over the side of her wine glass, Terri gestured toward their boss, who stood in the farthest corner, his cell phone pressed to one ear and a hand covering the other. The suit jacket Mark Rodriguez had worn earlier was nowhere in sight. His tie had disappeared too, leaving the top two buttons of his shirt splayed open. What was it about that peek-a-boo V that she found so attractive? He twisted to allow a waiter to pass, which caused his shirt sleeve to pull taut. Damn, the man must work out five hours a day to maintain those shoulder muscles.

Though he had an excellent physique his recently-earned MBA spoke to his intelligence, a trait Jodi found just as sexy as his kick-ass body.

From the deep furrow in his forehead, whoever he was talking to was pissing him off. Bingo, there was his tell of running his hand over his head, something he only did when he was trying to keep his cool. Normally he kept his dark hair trimmed in a Marine’s high and tight, but he’d been so harried lately, he’d let the top part grow longer. Long enough that every time she’d seen him, she’d been tempted to run her fingers through it.

Poor guy. Celada Security had the best rep in the Metroplex, yet the damned competition kept swiping clients by undercutting their rates. It wasn’t that Mark was doing anything wrong—the man had a flair for keeping both his clients and his employees happy—but he didn’t have the type of money their competition did. Which meant this might be the last party they’d all celebrate together. Unless he pulled off whatever Hail Mary pass he’d hinted at during today’s staff meeting.

Terri put her mouth to Jodi’s ear and repeated, “Come on, Jodi. Mark brought his laptop to the party, and when he’s not working on it, he’s been on that damned phone. You need to get him to loosen up.”

Jodi rolled her eyes. “And just how do you propose I do that?”

Terri flattened her free hand over her stomach and wiggled her hips. “There’s no better way to start a New Year than with some hot monkey sex.”

“Terri!” Laughing at her friend’s antics, Jodi shoved Terri’s shoulder.

“Jodi.” Terri mimicked Jodi’s exasperation. “He’s not seeing anyone, and neither are you since you finally saw the light about Jace and kicked him to the curb. Sex is the perfect way to relax and, honey, you both need to relax. Besides, I’ve seen the way you eye Mark when you think no one’s looking. You’re dying to get him naked.”

“I am not!” Yes, I am. I want to pull his shirt off and run my fingers—hell my tongue—down his pecs, over his abs. To trace that line of dark hair from his navel to where it hides beneath his fly.

“It’s time you get back up on the horse and Mark’s the perfect stallion to ride.” Terri grabbed a champagne flute from a passing waiter and pressed it into Jodi’s hand. “Here. Give him this. Tell him there’s a private party and he’s invited. I bet he’ll have you seeing fireworks before the ball drops in Times Square.”

As Jodi argued internally about whether it was a good idea to have sex with the boss—which she knew wasn’t smart at the best of times—Terri fumbled in her purse, withdrew a package and shoved it in Jodi’s bag. Jodi peered inside to see what her friend had given her. “Holy crap, you brought a box of condoms to the party? What the fuck were you expecting? An orgy?”

“No. But it never hurts for a girl to be prepared.”

With an entire box? Terri obviously had far more to her beneath that standard Celada uniform than she let on.

“You know you’ve been fantasizing about him for months. It’s time you go hook up with him and ride that man into the sunset.” Terri shoved her in Mark’s direction. “Or let him ride you.”

What the heck am I doing? Jodi asked herself, as she maneuvered her way through the crowded room.

Taking responsibility for your own happiness, that’s what.

Download First Night for Free

First Night, the short story that introduces Jodi and Mark from Private Property is on sale FREE from now until the end of the month. You can download it for free from Smashwords as epub or Kindle format


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It will also be available directly from Amazon for free, but I can’t change the price myself–I have to ask others to report the price drop to Amazon and wait for them to make the adjustment. (So if they still have it at 99 cents at Amazon, please click on the “Report a Lower Price” button and report it for me.)

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First Night by Leah Braemel,

On gremlins and deadlines.

thumbs-upYesterday I was working on a novel that is due to my editor by the end of next month. I was pleased with myself because it was one of those epiphany moments for my heroine and the storyline was suddenly gelling in my head. I wrote over 2,000 words in about 90 minutes, which is unusual for me these days.

I use Scrivener for my first drafts as I really like how it lets me keep character studies and research in the same place as the scenes. (I have a tendency to forget minor things like my characters’ names and while I can (and often do) try not to slow down by using a notation like [heroine] or even on occasion [whatsisname bad guy] it really bugs me after a while so I like how Scrivener lets me just scan down the left hand side of my screen and quickly see the list of names in the index cards beneath the scenes. I also like how it saves my work every minute so I know I won’t lose my work—and I haven’t ever had any problems with it in the five years I’ve been using it.

I also work on multiple computers at any given time. I use Lucy, a small older computer that is handy fro travelling, (yes, I name my computers) first thing in the morning in the family room before the family rouses and things are quiet. I also have a workhorse laptop (Michelle) complete with docking station that I keep in my office and write on that in the afternoon. Because over the past few months, Michelle has been having issues (she’s 5 years old), last month I dug deep and bought a new desktop. I copied my documents from Michelle onto an external hard drive and transferred them over to the desktop. (No name for the desktop yet—but I’m thinking it’s a guy for some reason. Someone alpha and contrary—it’s Windows 8.1 and is a bear to try to keep updated properly.)

Anyway, what I’m saying is that in any given week, there are multiple copies of that Scrivener document on three different computers, Dropbox and Carbonite. When I close the doc, Scrivener also makes a back-up copy (and stores the last five versions of that backup) to the hard drive of whatever computer I’m working on. Just in case, I rename the file at the start of every month – I have always thought it was a little redundant, but I was used to do it daily with Word and it never hurts to have an extra back up, right?  To make my peace of mind complete,  I have a program that constantly runs in the background of my computer that saves ALL my files to Carbonite on the cloud. As I said, in five years I’ve never had a problem.

So I’ve been sitting here smugly thinking that even if I was working on Lucy or Michelle or … whatsisname — and for some reason the computer crashed, or God forbid, the house caught fire and all three computers were fried, my work was still available in the cloud.

Which all sounds good, right?

grumpy-leahExcept yesterday, when I went to work on the next scene in my doc after completing that epiphany moment, the scene I’d already written, that I KNEW had been written, that had an index card that would only appear because I’d created it for a purpose and had written notes if not an entire scene in it…well, there was no text in that file. Nor was there text in any of the other scenes. All but three scenes had disappeared. Oh the index cards (think file folders) were there on the sidebar, but the contents were all empty.

From what I can see, something happened around April 10th that corrupted that particular Scrivener file. And from the looks of it each time I opened the file on my other computers, it corrupted them too. When I saved the previous month’s copy on March 31st, there were 133 documents in the files section (each scene is treated as a separate doc). April 10th version has 6. Ouch. Then I realized it’s not just the scenes that are missing, it’s the characters studies and the copious research notes I made too. Even the title page and back matter pages are missing.

So I checked my back up copy on my desktop.  All five versions of it were empty too. As were the five backup copies on Michelle. And on Lucy.

Since it seemed to occur around the time I bought the new desktop, was there something about switching to Windows 8.1 (which has been a total bear about updating) that caused Scrivener to hiccup? Was it simply that something didn’t connect properly with Dropbox one day and it corrupted everything in that file?  But I’m a constant revisionist and I never ever work on a single scene in a day. I am constantly going back and editing previous scenes and leaving notes for future scenes. So how could I have not noticed all those missing words for that long a time? I have no idea.

What it comes down to is I have lost at least three week’s worth of work. Work that is due to my editor by the end of next month.

social media time suck ecardWhich means I need to haul ass even more than I have been doing.

Which means – I’m going to go quiet for a while. I won’t have time to set up my usual Pay It Forward Friday posts (I generally do them the first week of each month). I may be slow responding to emails. I’ve informed a couple of my regular blogs where I guest post that I won’t be able to post there this month, and possibly next month.  And, yes, I need to write this as much as it pains me — you shouldn’t be seeing me on social media as much. (Which is probably a good thing as I really think I’m addicted to Facebook and need to break the addiction.)

So if I’m slow in responding to an email, or you don’t see me around, I’m still here, I’m just up to my neck in writing, trying to ignore the world and all its distractions. Hoping that some good natured soul in my family is shoving food under my office door, and being patient with me when I lose my temper as I know I’m going to sooner or later. (I apologize in advance to anyone I snap at.)

See you on the flip side, which hopefully will be before the fall…