Praise for BETTER THAN NONE

“The conversational style that Olivia Jake uses in her book Better Than None will surely make this a fan favorite. It gives readers the feeling of sitting across the table from their best friend and sharing some of their most intimate thoughts. I particularly enjoy the wry wit that offers I-totally-get-what-you're-saying moments that are nestled in between the more dramatic events. While this book shows extremely emotional losses, it also gives readers hope of being able to get through whatever comes their way. Jake has an uncanny ability to touch on all of the senses and take emotions from one extreme to the other — from sobbing to laughing and everything in between.”

Judge, 2nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards

New Book Release - BETTER THAN NONE

Today I’m releasing my latest book, BETTER THAN NONE. For those who’ve liked my other books, this one’s very different. It’s still a romance at its core, but it’s loosely based on my journey with my mother as we fought, and lost, her battle with cancer. Needless to say, it’s a very personal story, but it’s still fiction. There was no handsome doctor in my reality. What was there, though, was an experience unlike anything I’ve ever gone through.

To those of you who’ve not just lost loved ones, but who’ve also been their caretakers, my heart and admiration go out to you. Studies show that women in their 40s are the primary caretakers for aging relatives… because we don’t have enough on our plates.

But BETTER THAN NONE isn’t just about illness and death. It’s about one woman’s journey to find herself and stop being the person she used to be. It’s about learning not to sweat the small stuff, because there are far worse things. It’s about opening up and letting people in, even the most unlikely of people. It’s about finding sweetness and purity in caring for someone who means more than life itself.

Be strong. Enjoy the time we have here. Don’t be stingy with your love.

I hope you enjoy my new book. If you do, please review it on Amazon, see link below.

Best,

Olivia

http://www.amazon.com/Better-Than-None-Olivia-Jake-ebook/dp/B00LXOAE8A/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405776190&sr=1-1&keywords=Better+Than+None

The Kindness of Strangers

When I first started this journey, I simply enjoyed the writing. I loved getting lost in the drama and love and of course the sex of my characters. And that world was one that I controlled. It’s also a world that’s been a hell of a lot of fun to play in.

Then came the actual publishing, which I’ve noted before on this site, was far more daunting, and a world where I felt a lot less sure. But still, there were some roadmaps to follow and checkpoints along the way. And like with many things, the more I did it, the more comfortable I became.

The biggest unknown and best surprise has been the incredible outpouring of support from people I’ve never met. I can’t tell you how uplifting it has been to get emails from many of you, connecting with people I’d otherwise never have the opportunity to chat with. So thank you for reaching out! Some of you have shared that your emails to me or reviews of my books have been your first foray into that world. Thank you for stepping outside of your comfort zone with me.  As you know, some of my characters push themselves, but doing it in reality versus fiction are two very different things, so thank you for taking that leap and for trusting me.

It’s been a roller coaster year, and everything relating to writing has undoubtedly been the high. I have a few books in the works and have completed a new one, but it’s very different than everything else so far and I’m putting it aside for a bit to gain a little perspective before releasing it. The low of this ride (which is the understatement of the century) has been losing my best friend, who also happened to be my mother, at the end of last year. That new book is very closely based on the journey we took together during her illness and subsequent death. I’ve always maintained that I write and read romances because, who wants to read about things like cancer when we have to live through them in reality? And then what do I do, but go and write a book about it! At its core, it’s still a romance, but just a very different one.

The one similarity between writing and losing her has easily been the kindness of strangers. It has renewed my faith in humanity. In a day and age where we can be so disconnected amidst all of our so-called connectivity, I’ve been overwhelmed by simple gestures, many by people I barely know.

Thank you again,

Olivia

It's not you, it's me. Then again...

I’m starting to think that all ‘good’ men are flawed. Seriously. The fictional ones and the real ones. The whole, it’s not you, it’s me, yeah, starting to think that might be crap. Perhaps it is you. And when I say you, I mean men. We put you up on the pedestals to be our everything, but maybe you’re not all that perfect. From JFK and his now infamous womanizing ways to Christian Grey, hot, sexy, holy crap yes I want him to take me more than anything, but hello, issues. And then take your pick of men on screen. Big or small. Screen that is. Is it them? Is it us? No, us women aren’t perfect either, but is a man only desirable if he’s seriously f-d up? Or is it just if he’s f-d up and can be saved? And that’s where we come in. We’ll be the ones who save them. We’ll be the ones who see behind their pain, their pasts, their… everything. And they’ll cherish us for it.

So perhaps it’s both of us. It is us and them. Maybe that’s what creates the true love. Or true fictional love.

We want the nice guy, so long as he’s buried beneath layers of turmoil. As a society, I think we’re hard wired to put someone up on a pedestal, watch them fall, and then cheer as they build themselves back up.

We cheer on the tragic hero as much or more than just the plain old hero. I’ve been wrestling with the whole notion of second chances. Everyone seems to believe that we all deserve a second chance, and I challenge that. The child with leukemia, absolutely, he deserves a second, third, fourth, and as many chances as we can give him. The child molester, nah. He doesn’t deserve anything. He had a first chance. Most of us, thankfully, our realities aren’t nearly as dramatic. And perhaps that’s why we’re so programmed to fall for the troubled soul with a heart of gold, albeit one that’s buried far down. We want to believe that we can get to that soul and make him a better person. Only us. We’ll save him. 

And hey, I’m as guilty of it as the next person. Maybe more. The characters I create are definitely flawed… so maybe it is me. Then again…

50 Shades, Not Yet Grey

 

All the hand-wringing surrounding the recent casting of a certain movie raised an issue that’s been on my mind for a while. Not about the casting, or how they’re going to manage to maintain the ‘integrity’ of the book on which the movie is based while securing an R rating. No, the issue is with erotic romances themselves.

Mind you, I’m a sucker for this genre. I love the escape, the fantasy, and yes, the sex. As a Women’s Studies major in college, intellectually, I know I shouldn’t. In fact, I’m sure they’ve long since rescinded my degree. But whether it’s because I’ve lost my youthful idealism, or I’m just looking for a break from reality, I am an erotica junkie. I read a new book every few days. And here’s the rub: I’m also a lot older than any of the characters I read about. So, while my biggest beef should probably be with what some of these characters do for love, or the improbable story lines, it’s less with that and more with the fact that almost all the protagonists are just barely women in their early 20s.

I get it, it’s fantasy, and as a writer, I peddle in fantasy to a certain extent. So if an entire narrative is unbelievable, why get hung up on a small detail like the main character’s age? Because, it’s the reader’s fantasy, too. And some of us are in our 30s or, gasp, even our 40s, and we want to relate to these characters. We want to read about women who aren’t 22, but who are still damn sexy and having amazing sex. I know the likelihood of being swept off my feet by a charming, handsome billionaire is lower than the chance of winning the lottery, getting struck by lightening and being hit by an asteroid, but a girl (woman) can still fantasize, no matter how unlikely. The one thing I can’t hope for? Being 22 again. And, just to set the record straight, I wouldn’t ever want to be in my 20s again. As far as I’m concerned, clarity far outweighs gravity, pun intended.

So if 40 really is the new 20, then why don’t our romance novels reflect that? Give me a character who has a little life experience. She can still be hot. In today’s pilates-yoga-no carbs obsessed society, it’s not a stretch to be as sexy, or sexier at 40 than many women decades their junior.  

Still, it seems so many authors think if they’re writing a love story, and steamy one at that, it can only work if the female lead hasn’t aged out of her second decade. With the majority of romance and erotica authors being female, why are women perpetuating the stereotype? Where are the strong, sexy 30 and 40-somethings being swept off their feet and having mind-blowing orgasms? Have we truly come such a long way if only inexperienced, virginal, impressionable young women are still the archetypal characters?

TV has somewhat embraced the notion that experienced women can be sexy, too. While the landscape isn’t littered, the mold was broken long ago, starting with the ladies of Sex and the City. Ironic, and perhaps proving my point is that they’ve been replaced by the less than sexy young Girls. Carrie and Co. showed us that over 30, and 40, could indeed be fabulous. And poor Hannah reminds us that sex as a 20-something is so often about insecurities and all of the horrible, awkward, uncomfortable experiences. It’s ok, Hannah. It gets better. Trust me. If you don’t trust me, trust Samantha.

I’m not suggesting that TV is the promise land for positive, progressive or realistic female role models. But as mass media, even though it’s still doing whatever it can to get that coveted 18-49 year old audience, it realizes that two-thirds of that demo is in their 30s and 40s, and as such, has strong sexy characters like Alicia Florrick or Rayna James.

So if TV has realized that its audiences might want relatable characters, what’s taking the literary world so long?

It doesn’t take an advanced degree to understand that men fantasize about and idolize young, nubile, moldable virgins. But by and large, men are neither writing nor reading these books. Women are, and we’re the ones perpetuating the notion that only young women can be desirable. So let’s stop contributing to the sexualization of younger and younger girls, and embrace the strong, sexy, experienced protagonist. Maybe then they’ll reinstate my degree. Unlikely, but a woman can dream. 

Surrender Isn't Sweet

Many of you have commented on the dramatic shift in tone, story line and characters between The Moments series and Broken Rules, and with Jennifer’s Surrender. A few have expressed surprise as to just how dark Jennifer’s Surrender is. It’s still a romance, but it takes a very different journey than the other three books.

When I wrote it, I intentionally tried to do something different. A different voice: this one is first person. A different tone: like I said, it’s dark. One reviewer called it ‘haunting’. A different type of main character: Jennifer isn’t nearly as strong as Samantha or Alexandra. And a different message: with so much BDSM literature out there, I wanted to write a cautionary tale.

It was a challenge for me to see if I could do it, and equally important, to see if readers would like it. I hope that you do and would love to hear from you.

Olivia

 

Not for the faint of heart

 

After releasing my books, I started the self-promotion, beginning with my friends and family. Step one, check. All going according to plan… until one of my closest friends told me that her mother was reading In The Moment. The good news: her mom was hooked! The bad news: her 70-something year old mother is someone I’ve known since I was 13, and this same woman was reading erotica that I’d written. As if that weren’t embarrassing enough, apparently her father, who’s in his 80s, read it too, or, more accurately, skipped ahead. I’m not sure if he skipped to avoid the steamy parts or to get to them quicker. Either way, another valuable lesson in this writer’s journey: Realize, and to a certain extent, hope that, my books end up in unintended hands. But could they please be strangers’ hands? 

So, while some of the scenes in my books might not be for the faint of heart, neither is the exposure. Guess I’m going to have to pull out my big girl panties and toughen up. It’s a brave new world out there (for me).

My mom has always teased me that I’m so tough on the outside, but a marshmallow on the inside. I cry at sappy TV commercials or silly love songs. But I have a tough exterior that belies what my friends and family know. So I guess this dichotomy of being so comfortable writing steamy sex scenes on the one hand, and cringing at the thought of owning up to them on the other, is all part of my DNA. I’m sure my mom would tell me that it makes me more interesting. I’m also pretty sure that only she’d think that… being my mother and all. And yes, now she’s reading my books, too. (Cringe.)

Writing and blogging and marketing. Oh my.

 

When I first shared that I had started writing erotic romances, there were a variety of responses from my friends and family. Most were overwhelmingly positive and supportive. A few were, and still are, in disbelief. But by and large, they were all impressed and proud that I have now self-published all four books.

I’ve since learned that the writing is by far the easy part. The marketing is definitely the bigger challenge. Even after having read all the sites with all the tips and tricks and suggestions, much of the self-promotion is overwhelming. I realize I’m definitely not the first writer who’d prefer to stay in her fantasy world of make-believe characters and happy endings rather than put herself out there into the real(ish) world of the internet.

Ironic that in my other life, marketing is my job. But one more thing I’ve learned on this journey that it’s a lot easier, at least for me, to market someone else’s fantasy rather than my own reality. Much, much easier.

So, thank you to those who have been patient with me during this adventure. To my new friends who have started reading my books and don’t know how private I am, this is my first foray into social media. Yes, really and truly my first.  

Answers to a few questions: I pulled down the previous post as I’m submitting it to a few outlets. Simple, right? Apparently, when I pulled it down, I disabled the ‘contact me’ feature on this site and only just learned from a friend that no one could actually use that page until yesterday. Again, newbie here. First website. So my apologies if getting in touch with me hasn’t been easy.

Also, right now In The Moment is the only book of the four that’s available anywhere other than Amazon, and I’m still waiting for all of Smashwords’ distribution channels to receive it. The other three books are part of the KDP Select program, so they’re exclusive to Amazon until mid-December. Then I’ll release them via Smashwords as well.

Thank you again for your interest and support.