Category Archives: After Life Lessons

New Release: After Life Lessons – Book Two

What does it mean to live, to hope, to love in a dying world?

That’s what the characters in our latest release – After Life Lessons: Book Two – are trying to find out once more. After Life Lessons takes you on the road with straggling survivors of a zombie apocalypse, as they try to heal first each other and then what is left of their society.

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The Complete After Life Lessons Collection

 

After Life Lessons is a Survival/Post-Apocalypse series with a Women’s Fiction bent. 

In the wake of a devastating epidemic, Emily finds herself alone, grieving and struggling to survive with her young son, Song. They encounter Aaron, an Army medic on a mission of his own.
After Life Lessons: Book One follows their journey from mere struggle to survive, into a life they slowly begin to recognize as worth living again. Once settled and fortified, they take to road once more in Book Two in order to find Aaron’s family. Instead they find new enemies and new allies and a dangerous mission for the future of the region.

The Complete After Life Lessons Collection  $5.99

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After Life Lessons: Book Two

After Life Lessons: Book Two

Years after the end of the world, the scattered survivors have begun to reconcile with their fate and are starting to build communities from the rubble. Life has been kind to Aaron and Emily, and maybe it is that infusion of hope that leads them on a winter trip to search for Aaron’s family. But the world outside their little haven has grown harsher, the conditions rough and dangerous.

Not everybody they meet on their journey allowed the grim realities to harden their hearts, however. Malachi and Kenzie – a easy-going drifter with a bum leg and amnesia, and a teenage girl who has lost everyone and everything – are on an ill-conceived mission to Mexico, while Iago and his band of nomads work to forge trading connections between the small settlements of the south. All of them will discover new nightmares on the road, far surpassing the threat of the last rotting zombies still roaming the countryside. And now they must come together to fight for peace and justice in the world they trying to rebuild.

 

After Life Lessons: Book Two — $3.99

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The post New Release: After Life Lessons – Book Two appeared first on Laila Blake.

New Release: After Life Lessons, Book Two

Laila Blake and I are excited to be releasing the second, and last, book in our After Life Lessons collection today! Available now in ereader formats, you can follow Aaron and Emily, as well as new characters, in a brand new journey in the life After the apocalypse.

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Years after the end of the world, the scattered survivors have begun to reconcile with their fate and are starting to build communities from the rubble. Life has been kind to Aaron and Emily, and maybe it is that infusion of hope that leads them on a winter trip to search for Aaron’s family. But the world outside their little haven has grown harsher, the conditions rough and dangerous.

Not everybody they meet on their journey allowed the grim realities to harden their hearts, however. Malachi and Kenzie – an easy-going drifter with a bum leg and amnesia, and a teenage girl who has lost everyone and everything – are on an ill-conceived mission to Mexico, while Iago and his band of nomads work to forge trading connections between the small settlements of the south. All of them will discover new nightmares on the road, far surpassing the threat of the last rotting zombies still roaming the countryside. And now they must come together to fight for peace and justice in the world they trying to rebuild.

This novel contains language some might find offensive, some gore and situations of a sexual nature. Reader’s discretion is advised.

Available at the following online retailers:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | Ibooks | AllRomance


Exclusive Excerpt: After Life Lessons – The Interlude

Have you read After Life Lessons yet? If so, I have a treat for you! A few weeks ago, L.C. Spoering and I released a little bonus collection of short stories called After Life Lessons – The Interlude. It’s just a bit of fun to tie us over between books, and to go into some details that we couldn’t fit into the tight structure of a novel.

And the best thing, newsletter subscribers can get it for free! Or you can buy on Amazon or Kobo. :)

 

Blurb

At long last, Emily, Aaron and Song have found a home on the small farm in Kentucky where Annika took them in. Knowing nothing of the trials and journeys that lie ahead of them, they can allow themselves to heal – in mind and body – as they become farmers and gatherers, as they become a family.

After Life Lessons – The Interlude offers nine snapshots of their lives from the perspectives of the different characters. It paints their present and digs up their past, and leads the reader through two years of rest, until Aaron, Emily and Song are ready for their next adventure in After Life Lessons – Book Two.

After Life Lessons – The Interlude contains scenes of graphic adult content.

 

Excerpt: After Life Lessons — The Interlude

Aaron.

The barn at the edge of the property is still in view of the house, looming large in front of what must have been a field years back and now sprouts weeds and wild flowers.

Annika doesn’t know if it’s sound, or if anything has been kept in it for decades. Inside, the light filters down through cracks and rotted holes in the roof; old birds’ nests perch feathered in the eaves. The whole building rattles with the wind, but my unprofessional inspections show it sturdy, termites unaware of its existence, just like the rest of the world.

We tied the horses up outside. The weather has mostly held recently, but we built a tent anyway, with a tarp unearthed from the cellar. The horses seem amused by this, as much as Song and Lani, who duck in and out to offer handfuls of grass to the horses in the heat of the sun.

They’re back at the house, now, for lunch and for school– Annika’s damned strict about school. I’ve been in the barn all morning, working on the roof, in the loft where it joins the wall. I’m not confident enough to climb up on the outside, and it doesn’t seem to need as much work as I feared.

Emily is worried about the floor, says it’s supposed to be softer for the horses’ delicate hoofs, but I figure we can worry about that once we have them secure. I don’t like thinking about them out there, tied up in the dark, presented like a buffet. We take turns watching them, unknotting their ropes, feeding them. It’s not a permanent solution.

In the long run, we’ll need a fence, too, a place for them to graze. There’s enough meadow behind the barn, but it’ll take some planning and a lot of wood, and some skills I’m not totally sure I possess. I think we’re all trying not to think about it. One step after the other.

From up here on the ladder, I can see her– Emily, heaving a can of water around the garden. It’s so heavy it seems to dislodge her hip as she leans away from its heft. She’s gained weight herself, and muscle, and, as she moves, her face arranges itself in that determined grimace I’ve grown to know.  It makes me smile, and I stop affixing patches to the holes in the roof. I am mostly hidden from view, so I indulge myself: she’s kind of impossibly cute like that.

She’s wearing jean shorts and a flannel shirt, red and way too big for her, so she’s knotted it around her stomach and in the crook of her arms. The rubber boots make her feet look unnaturally large as she trudges through the soft earth.

She likes the garden, keeps adding almost every day. Either she digs up new patches of earth, or tries to rally enthusiasm to find more crops in the neighboring properties. She’s good at it, too: she has that smile and the determination of a mother.

She eventually catches me watching her, and waves, and I wave back, only a little sheepish. I’ve tried to reason with myself, but mostly have given up– I’m allowed a few weeks, months, years, right? My arm’s barely healed, after all. A guy who faces death gets to moon over his pretty girl and act like an idiot for a fair amount of time after that.

When she moves my way, I climb carefully down the ladder. She’s got the bucket, still, and I assume she intends to water the horses, but I enjoy pretending she’s coming to see me anyway.

“You know it doesn’t have to be perfect, right?” she asks, that cheeky grin on her face, even as she peers up at the roof. “We just have to make room in there, give them a proper place.”

Her accent makes words sound like she’s gone and dug up a dictionary, even if I know they’re not special, or even unusual. Proper, from her mouth, sounds Shakespearean.

“Might as well do it right the first time,” I say, my own accent as jarring as ever next to hers, and I instinctively try to flatten it out, the way she tells me not to– it’s just something I do, out of habit.

She ducks under the stallion’s neck without letting go of the halter she took hold of. It brings her so close, I can smell her hair.

“Are you okay working up there?” she asks, her small hand sneaking up my shirt.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” I’m instantly distracted, and the mare whinnies behind me, like she can tell. We still haven’t given them names; Song and Lani can’t decide. It’s the first thing they’ve ever fought over.

“You know…” Emily pulls her shoulders up like a kitten. She looks sad, and then winces when the stallion tries to make a sudden grab for the water, biting mare and little one out of the way, and yanking at Emily’s arm.

“Are you worried about me?” I can’t help the sing-song my voice takes on, and she makes a face at me. I’m grinning again, as wide and dumb as ever. She pokes her tongue out, that cute pink thing, and I want to pull her close, get her away from those animals.

“Just… protective,” she smiles, but she’s distracted, restraining that damned horse. The barn can’t be finished soon enough where I’m concerned.

“Wanna come see how it’s going?” It’s transparent, very much so, and she snorts, and then laughs, looking over at the little horse.

“You need an inspection?” she asks, raising her eyebrows.

I look up towards the main house. Everything looks quiet; the kids are likely busy with their math and reading for another hour at least. It can’t be selfish, I reason; it makes sense in my head.

“Come on.” I take her hand. When she smiles the way she does, I wonder how in the world I got this lucky.

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Release News Spring 2014

May is knocking on the door with — at least here in Cologne/Germany — a lot sunshine and birdsong. There hasn’t been much time for blogging recently, or maybe I just lacked that fire that always drives me to some issue-laden post about society and women and writing.  And so I let the thoughts percolate until the fire is back, but I still wanted to give you all a quick update on what has been going on this month and where we stand.

After Life Lessons

As you probably know by now — because we’ve been flogging it a lot — After Life Lessons finally came out earlier this month. With editing, formatting, graphics and review solicitation, it really took up the better parts of February and March in a way I wasn’t quite prepared for. But it’s finally out and work starts to taper off just as feedback is streaming in.
It’s actually doing quite well, better than we expected and we’ve had a lot of great support from readers and the overwhelming response was pretty damn positive.ALL400-6001

We expected that it would be hard sale, mixing zombies (which make people expect and hope for action and adventure) with both romance and more women’s fiction/general fiction elements that slow down the action and take the book to a place we enjoy. And while the responses have shown that there was some basis for this concern, they also proved that the majority of people followed us down this different path and largely enjoyed it very much.

We really are grateful for that leap of faith on the side of our readers.

On the side of actual news, we finalized the first draft of After Life Lessons – The Interlude this week. As we discussed before, it is a collection of 9 short stories told from various first person points of view (mainly Aaron and Emily, of course, but also Song and Annika). They showcast their lives in the 2 years they spend at the farm they find towards the end of After Life Lessons (Book One) and so bridge over nicely to the start of After Life Lessons (Book Two), which is where we plan to end the series.
After several rounds of editing and formatting, we will officially release After Life Lessons – The Interlude in July 2014. Friends and readers who sign up to our newsletter, will get it for free a little ahead of time.

 

Lakeside Series

BTLOTM -- color600x900After the rights to By the Light of the Moon were returned to me earlier this year and the book vanished from online retailers, I’m ready to release the revised and edited version next month, on May 27th 2014.

It was really a wonderful process to finally go back in and to fix some of those issues that I’ve been having with the book ever since I realized a publisher actually wanted it, but then it was too late. I gave the book a different start, changed some of the motivations and relationships. It’s essentially the same book, and I don’t think that readers of the original version will need to read this new one to follow the series onward, but I am a lot more proud of it the way it is now.

I’m about to move into formatting it and going through all the necessary steps to get it out there to you, but at the same time, I am also starting to edit Lakeside #2 – A Taste of Winter, which I hope to finally release in September or October (only a year after I originally hoped to release it).

To stay informed about those releases, you can also always sign up for the Lilt Literary release newsletter.

 

Breaking in Waves

Driftwood Deeds has been out for almost 5 months, and so it’s no big surprise that we are moving towards the release of the next installment. Trading Tides is currently with my lovely publisher A Hotter State and going through edits and other publishing processes. We hope to release it towards the end of June.tradingtides1

Trading Tides takes Iris back to her work in London and follows her experience of longing and difficulty in a distance relationship. At 35k, it’s a bit longer than Driftwood Deeds, but still just within novella parameters.

The last installment of the Breaking in Waves series should also come out sometimes towards the end of the year. It will be called Saltwater Skin, be told from Paul’s perspective and take both of them back to the sea and into a final HEA.

 

Other Releases

In terms of anthologies, I also have some new things to report. After Kristina Wright’s Best Erotic Romance in February and Shawna Kenney’s Book Lovers in March, I actually have a few new ones lined up that feature stories of mine.

Bossy – Five Productive Tales of Lesbian Lust, Harper Bliss (May)
A Princess Bound – Naughty Fairy Tales for Women, Kristina Wright (May/June)
Bound for Trouble – BDSM erotica for women, Alison Tyler (July)
The Big Book of Bondage, Rachel Kramer Bussel (July)

And in addition to that, Ladylit will release a small collection of just my lesbian short stories sometime this year. How exciting is that?

New Release: After Life Lessons

“Years ago Emily had believed that fear could be overcome by repetition, but now she knew that wasn’t true.” — After Life Lessons

This is not only true for zombies, it’s like that with book releases, too. Excitement, panic, joy. It doesn’t become lesser or easier, which seems like a fair trade.

This one, has a very special place in my heart for a number of reasons: it’s a work of friendship and love and synergy, and the creative process behind it was one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing I’ve ever done. It’s good not to be alone, to bounce off ideas, to encourage and care together.
ALL400-6001After Life Lessons is also my first self-published venture. It’s a step that scared me a lot less because I had Lorrie there with me, all the way. It meant being able to touch, feel, breathe every step of the process and now I’m tied to every part of this book and nothing has ever felt quite so much my own.

It’s a good feeling. And a nauseating one, because damn, it’s good to have someone to blame, just in case, hehe.

I’m proud of what we did with After Life Lessons, I’m proud of what it is; I’m proud that it’s different and everybody remarks upon that, I’m proud that it’s finally out and of the countless hours of work that went into it.

So after Lorrie blogged about this on the 8th. This is my own little belated Happy Release Day to myself. And I’ll get some cake and take a deep breath and accept that now is the time to let go of an obsession that driven me for months, that now, the book is yours, no longer mine.

If you’re here on my blog, that means something to me. That means this is reaching the right person: Thank you. Thank you for your support and your interest. And thank you for believing in this incredibly exciting time in publishing.

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Below, you’ll a video I recorded this morning and you can listen to the first chapter. I was a little bit sick, so excuse the voice, but I didn’t want to put it off any longer. I hope you enjoy. You can also read along to most of it here: Excerpt I

Release Day for After Life Lessons

It’s finally here, everyone! The day of all days, the day that has been over a year in coming, the day that I thought sounded so far away when we set it in January, I was just sure I’d never be able to wait that long.

Today, we release After Life Lessons out into the wild.

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The decision to publish under our micro-imprint was not easily made. We did shop the book, and had some interested agents, but the consensus came to: what’s the market? Given that we’re fickle readers, and this is something we’d like to read (and we had plenty of beta readers who jumped on it like, well, zombies on slow runners), we couldn’t imagine there weren’t other people who thought “hey, I like a little apocalypse, but how about we mostly talk about feelings?”

I may be awful at selling myself.

Today, After Life Lessons, so gloriously described by Laila as “Walking Dead meets Downton Abbey” is for sale. Here’s the backcover blurb to whet your appetite:

Hulking shadows emerge out of the chaotic flurries of the blizzard. Something is dying, and so they come, like vultures.

After months of struggling south to escape the zombie-infested remains of New York, a snowstorm traps 23-year old artist, Emily, and her son in an abandoned gas station. Starving and desperate, they encounter Aaron, an Army medic on a mission of his own, who offers them a ride to ease the journey.

The road is a long and dangerous place to travel, and every day brings a new threat. But fear and adrenaline also drive the two closer together; they find laughter and a budding attraction that starts to thaw at their numb and deadened feelings. And that’s when the pain really starts to hit, when places long thought lost prickle back to life. Eventually, they will have to fight not just for survival, but for a future together, or their broken world will swallow them whole.

This novel contains language some might find offensive, some gore and situations of a sexual nature. Reader’s discretion is advised.

I’m exhausted, and I’m terrified, and I’m thrilled to be putting After Life Lessons out for the world to read. And read I hope you will! You can add the book to your Goodreads list, or purchase it by clicking on one of the links below.

Thank you so much for your support of indie writers. You all rock.

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