Naughty AF is here!
Hey, humans! Surprise, I wrote a Christmas book! (Which came out on the 23rd and I'm just now getting around to posting here on the website. Apologies, it's been a month.) I did send out a newsletter and posted about twice on social media because I'm awesome at that, so maybe this isn't a surprise at all. Or maybe it is. At any rate... Surprise! I wrote a Christmas book! :)
REX Hooking up with my new stepbrother over the holidays is probably fine, right? After all, What Happens at Christmas, Stays at… well, blah, blah, you know the rest. It’s not like it’s a big deal.
So we accidentally stopped annoying each other long enough to get our Christmas kink on, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Whatever. It happens. Soon Brad will go back to college, I’ll go back to my hot mess of a life, and we’ll both keep pretending the other one doesn’t exist. Nothing has to change.
Except I think it already has.
BRAD Hooking up with my new stepbrother over Christmas break is probably fine, right? So we happen to have one kinky thing in common and we both need to blow off a little steam. Holiday hookups are a thing. They make movies about them all the time.
If it had ended with just one kiss or one afternoon of kink, or one surprisingly fun holiday adventure, this would be a lot easier. But it didn't. Instead, I accidentally got to know him.
And now I'm not sure I want this to end at all.
Naughty AF is a 50,000 word kinky Christmas romance, stuffed full of festive fluff, accidental instalove, and lots of holiday spankings. One grump, one brat, one secret winter break hookup between stepbrothers. It’s all completely casual… until it’s not.
**This book was loosely inspired by characters from the Misha Horne short story Please Come at Home for Christmas. This is a completely original standalone novel.
A Happy Holiday Accident...
So, fun fact, this book was a total accident! (Which may be obvious, considering it was published two days before Christmas, lol!) So, once upon a time, a million years ago... or maybe about four, details are fuzzy, I wrote a 10k holiday short about two new stepbrothers kinking it up under the Christmas tree.
Please Come at Home for Christmas has been available as a free read for a few years, and this year I thought Hey, wouldn't it be fun to revisit those guys and maybe write another short about what happened the next Christmas? (Narrator: LMAO, Misha, have you met yourself?)
So, I opened a document and started writing. As you do. Except a sequel was not what came out. My original dirty-kinky-jolly 10k romp grew ten sizes that day (okay, that's a slight exaggeration, I'm not working miracles here). When the dust settled, I somehow ended up with a full fledged romance novel with mistletoe kissing and Christmas shopping and holding hands in the snow and full on Lifetime Christmas Movie holiday fluff... mixed with the grumpy, snarky, kinky goodness we all show up for. ;) I'm so happy I revisited these guys, even if it didn't turn out as planned. (It rarely does, lol)
This was the most fun I've had writing in a long time-- a book that smacked me in the head out of nowhere that wasn't anywhere on any schedule, that I was writing far too late for the Christmas rush. But that's an accident for ya. Uninvited, unexpected, makes no sense but you do it anyway because it makes you happy. I mean, isn't that what all these gross romance feels are about anyway? ;)
Real Talk (If you like that sort of thing)
So, I try really hard to be positive and upbeat in newsletters and on social media and when posting all the things, and I always struggle to find some space where authentic and positive and professional and normal overlap, which frankly might be something I never find. If I'm being authentic, the truth is, I'm not really terribly positive or professional or normal, at least not in the traditional ways, so it's a weird thing to try to navigate. I'm also not very share-y. I value my privacy and don't like talking about feelings. Or having them. (Yes, I know, clearly I was destined to write romance lol. But romance happens to us robots too, so I write what I know, I guess.)
I've always tried to be open about mental health issues because I know talking about things helps people, helps erase stigma, and while I don't talk that much-- about anything, really-- I've never made a secret of the fact that I've struggled with depression, anxiety, and agoraphobia my entire life. Yeah, often I make snarky self-deprecating jokes about it, but self preservation is part of the deal, and that's part of how I function too. So, here's some real talk about my year and how this book came about that's as authentic as I can be. It may or may not be interesting, it's certainly not required reading, but like I said, I'm trying to find my balance here so I thought I would write it. (No guarantees it'll stay up tbh, because anxiety, but it's almost a new year, let's try some things.)
This was a rough year for me. I came into it with Big Book Energy and family and health issues wore me down so hard I barely had words all year when I desperately wanted ALL THE WORDS. It took me most of the year to realize I was so burned out I could barely function-- which is a really hard thing to come to terms to when you don't feel like you're accomplishing anything to begin with. Because I don't communicate well in real life, (or online, let's be honest) writing books is my main way to connect with people. To share who I am and how I feel and do my best to put positive representation into the world for people who need it the way I needed it-- and still need it. So getting to the point where I felt like I couldn't connect with anything made this job pretty close to impossible. I don't have the ability to just write through things, no matter how hard I try. It would certainly be easier if I were different, but I'm trying hard to appreciate what I am and not constantly berate myself for what I am not. It's a process.
A lot of my energy this year has been put towards dealing with my mom's health issues. At the beginning of December she had a heart attack and then open heart surgery, followed by a lot of complications. Amidst everything I was trying to deal with, some part of me said You need to write something . Even if it's a short story. Just write one short story. A follow up to something. Anything. It wasn't a particularly nice voice, TBH. It was the one that says You accomplish nothing ever, how dare you call yourself a writer, you're not enough of anything to claim any title.
The jerk voice and I did agree on one thing, though. I needed to write. I just wanted a distraction. It didn't have to mean anything, just something to keep me from getting sucked into the overwhelm. Why I decided to follow up this ancient Christmas short, I couldn't even tell you-- well, a big part of it was that I knew if I tried to write something following up a novel it would sprawl and sprawl and it would end up a full length book since they all want sequels anyway. (I thought I was being soooooo smart picking a little tiny story lol. Little did I know.) I thought I could write another 10k to follow up the first 10k of Brad and Rex, and at least I would have accomplished something. Even if that something was a 10k holiday sex scene, it would keep me busy and it would count. If you've read Naughty AF, you know it didn't turn out that way at all. That thing is sweet as hell, (I mean, grading on the Misha Horne curve of sweetness, anyway, lol) and boy did I not expect it.
The truth is, I've wanted and tried to write a Christmas book forever. I used to be the biggest fan ever of holiday stories-- books, movies, tv episodes, no matter how cheesy they were, I was there. My grandma and I would sit in front of the tv with coffee and Rice Krispie treats and bingewatch Lifetime and Hallmark movies until they came back around on a loop lol. And then I lost my grandma and grief wiped me out. Christmas died for me. I stopped watching all of those things, stopped decorating or taking part in any of the traditions I used to. I tried to force myself into celebrating situations, and it was so painful I had to turn it off. Grief is a tricky thing. You think it's gone or faded and then you crack the door just a little to something and it barges right back in and makes itself at home for another indefinite stay. You end up tiptoeing around your own brain trying not to set off any booby traps because fuck knows you don't have the energy to fight back. I've had to put books on hold because I thought I was ready to write about things and it turned out I wasn't yet. This fall, I pulled out a holiday book I've been chipping away at for a few years, wrote another 20k or so on it, and then just had to stop. I put it down and thought maybe next year.
But somehow I managed to convince myself that if it was short, if it was just 10k of Christmas, I could manage it. (When I think about that now, it really doesn't make any sense at all, but not a lot was making sense at the time, so that's just the way it is sometimes, I guess.) I figured I could write a cute little sequel showing where Brad and Rex were now, maybe getting kinky at college, or in their own apartment. What happened to those guys anyway? Except when I sat down with every intention of writing that, we all know by now that wasn't what happened. They had a different story to tell, and I just let them tell it, even as it just grew and grew (and grew) into something completely unexpected. I wasn't sleeping much anyway, because we were constantly dealing with issues with my mom's health or the hospital, so I just completely got lost in this book. Being in such a strange state of mind probably helped me write it, although I certainly wouldn't want to do it again. It should never have been possible for me to finish this before Christmas in the time I had, with the energy I had, but somehow I kept showing up every day and so did the words and somehow it happened. I really adore this book, and here's hoping there are more holiday stories in me in the future.
I told a writer friend that I hadn't realized how deeply i'd been on autopilot until this book grabbed me by the throat and reminded me I actually enjoyed writing. So this coming year, I'll be trying to hold onto that feeling. Life is short, unfortunately, and I'm going to do my best to invite things into my life that make me happy and cut out things that make me miserable. (Looking at you, facebook.) Writing something that brought me actual joy during a tough time was like a gift, so, I guess we'll see what kind of gifts I can give this year-- to myself, and to my most thoughtful, most patient readers, who I adore-- even if I don't talk much. ;)
Wishing you all happy holidays and an excellent 2020. May we all turn the page to something even better.