Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
Today we are visited by Jessica Scott. She’s the author of several books that I’ve read and loved, but is here today to answer some of my questions, and share about her book, Anything For You. I also have to add my two cents to this post! If this sounds like something you would enjoy reading, please find some buy links and pick up a copy or two.
Barb – How would you describe your book in 20 words or less without using the blurb?
Jess – What’s the biggest thing you would give up for the person you love? For Shane, loving Jen means sacrificing something both of them want.
Barb – Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?
Jess – I won’t say I keep track of reviews but I do keep an eye on them. If I’ve requested a review from a blogger and they do the review, I feel like I have an obligation to share that review because it was a time investment from the blogger, you know? And when I spot a reader review that’s really great, I pass it along to my followers. But I try not to skulk reviews and I avoid negative reviews simply because they get stuck in my head and its really hard for me to get it out once it’s in there.
Barb – Do you read reviews written about your book?
Jess – Only if I’ve requested the review from someone. Otherwise, I stay off amazon and goodreads if they’re negative reviews.
Barb – Do you have a day job?
Jess – I’m an active duty army officer. I’m currently stationed at Fort Hood but that’s getting ready to change as I’m prepping to move at the beginning of March.
Barb – Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?
Jess – Learn your craft, pay attention to the industry news, follow writers and industry peeps on twitter but don’t pitch on these platforms unless requested. Don’t be in a hurry to publish (advice I freely ignored) because then you’re writing on someone else’s schedule and its really tough to learn.
Barb – What’s your favorite part of writing a book?
Jess – Revising. I love revising and editing because its so great to see that rough draft start to change into something readers will enjoy. I’m a terrible self editor so when I have editor who really gets me and helps make my books stronger, I couldn’t be happier.
Barb – Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
Jess – I used to write by the seat of my pants but I often found that I had to chunk massive parts of my manuscript and start over essentially from scratch. Over time, I learned to storyboard and figure out what my characters want. Doing prep work at the outset saves me tons of rewriting time on the back side and it keeps my story tighter. I don’t mind deleting but I’d rather strategically delete than chunk the whole manuscript, you know?
Barb – How did you come up with your premise for your books?
Jess – Learning to figure out my premise before I started working on specific projects has made a huge difference to my process. I’m a big fan of Alexandra Sokoloff’s Screenwriting Tricks for Writers. Reading that book was a major lightbulb for me. I sold shortly after I started applying her advice.
Barb – Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Jess – Shawntelle Madison (full disclosure she’s a friend of mine). Her urban fantasies are a really great mix of humor, family angst finding your place in the world. I really love Nat’s story in Coveted and Kept. She’s got a novella out currently Bitten by Deceit and there’s an excerpt from it in the back of Anything for You.
Barb – How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?
Jess – I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for readers and fans so they’re very important to what I do. I do my very best to respond to all emails, comments etc but sometimes I can’t and I hope readers understand. I’m most often on twitter and Facebook.
Barb – Vampires or werewolves?
Jess – Werewolves. I’m a sucker for a hairy chest and werewolves are very rough and rugged creatures aren’t they?
Barb – How many more books can we expect in this series?
Jess – There are at least two more books in the Coming Home series. Back to You is Laura & Trent’s story. Reza’s story is probably my favorite story after Evan & Claire in Until The Was You and his story is Come Home to Me. I love a tortured hero and Reza is completely tortured. Emily is a great match for him. Both Come Home to Me and Back To You are already written, we’re just waiting on the publishing gods to determine their fate, lol!
I’m giving away a digital copy of ANYTHING FOR YOU as well as Shane & Jen’s first story BECAUSE OF YOU to one lucky commenter!
From the author of Because of You comes an all new Coming Home short story.
Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison has spent a year recovering from his combat injuries. A year spent in the arms of the woman of his dreams. But loving Jen comes with a price: every time he touches her, he faces the uncertain fear that loving her might mean losing her forever.
Jen is a breast cancer survivor and with Shane, she’s found a man who loves her despite her scars. But her scars may be too much for their love to survive.
As their love grows, so does the risk to Jen’s life. And Shane must make the toughest decision any man can make to save the woman he loves.
You can buy ANYTHING FOR YOU at the following ebookstores
*The links for iBooks & others should be live soon!*
Fort Hood, late 2008
“Jen is going to kill you. You know that, right?” Vic Carponti took a long pull off his ever-present Dr Pepper. “I think she has first dibs on your balls. You don’t have exclusive use over them any more.”
Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison glanced over at Carponti and fought the urge to use the physical therapy ropes to strangle the younger sergeant. No matter how much time they’d spent together training Army privates at Benning or blowing shit up downrange, Carponti still managed to push all the right buttons. “You’re not helping, you know.” Shane was already having a hard enough time trying to find the nerve to talk to his fiancée about his desire for a vasectomy.
“Jen wants kids.”
“I know that,” Shane growled. He leaned down to stretch, barely suppressing a groan as the muscles in his thighs protested the daily pain his physical therapist insisted on. He’d have thought that six months after being blown up in Iraq, physical therapy would stop being a morning torture session. Guess not.
“Why are you so adamant about this?” Carponti held up his hand at Shane’s fierce look.
“I’m an expert in amputations, not women and babies, okay?”
“She had breast cancer. A really aggressive version. If she gets pregnant and the cancer comes back, the choice comes down to her life or the baby’s life…and I don’t want to have to make that choice with her. I don’t want her to have to make that choice. Granted, it might all be fine. She might never get sick again, or the hormones from pregnancy might not do anything to her.” Shane walked over to the free weights. His legs protested each step, so his next words came out slowly, one with each step. “I can’t risk it. No matter how much I might want a kid with her, I’m not going to risk her life for some selfish need to feel my baby growing inside her.”
“I realize that,” Carponti said, “but why on earth are you looking at this without talking to her first?”
“I’m going to talk to her.” Shane sighed hard. “I just haven’t yet.” He didn’t want to admit he was afraid. Not to Carponti. He’d never hear the end of it.
“Did you ever think you’re overreacting?” Carponti asked, following him.
“No,” Shane snapped. “Because I’m not.”
“You just said there’s no rule that if a woman gets pregnant after cancer, she’s going to die.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve also talked to the brigade surgeon. There’s a higher risk of the cancer coming back for younger women like Jen who had aggressive cancers. There’s a higher risk that if she does get pregnant and the cancer comes back, it could come back even more aggressive.”
Shane looked at Carponti seriously. “I want kids with her. I just don’t want to kill her.”
“So you’re going to get unmanned and tell her later?”
“This isn’t funny.”
“Vasectomies are always funny. Especially watching a big guy like you squirm over the fact.”
“It is my balls we’re talking about,” Shane snapped, grabbing the fifty-pound dumbbells.
It was one of those times he’d rather not have Carponti chirping in his ear.
“If a vasectomy is such a big deal, then why do it?” Carponti placed the bottle in his prosthetic hand. “There’s other ways of preventing pregnancy, you know.”
“We’ve talked about all of those. She had a bad reaction to an IUD. Anything hormone-based is out. And condoms scare the shit out of me.”
“Did we have a bad experience with a condom?”
Shane groaned, wishing he hadn’t said anything. “When I was seventeen, I had a condom break on me. The girl and I spent the rest of the month terrified she was pregnant.” He glanced at Carponti. “So while I appreciate that you think me getting my balls clipped is amusing, this isn’t all that funny.”
“Maybe not, but watching you freak out about it certainly is.”
“You’re so good for morale.”
“You can bitch all you want, but I still don’t see why there aren’t other options.”
Why? Shane ground his teeth and counted as he curled the weights. He’d read the literature about Jen’s specific cancer. Everything he read created a little more fear that he could lose her. Shane did not do well with fear. If the only thing he could control in the equation was his sperm, he was doing that.
Sometimes, at night, when the nightmares came, it was no longer his soldiers who’d died in the war haunting his sleep. Sometimes, it was Jen, bleeding out in his arms. He didn’t tell her that. Every time he tried, the emotion got jammed up halfway between his throat and his mouth. Jen wasn’t a random number in a study. She was his heart and soul, and while she was determined to live a normal life and not let the cancer define her, every time they made love, he was aware of the risk.
The worst part about it all? He wanted kids with her, too. But the risk was too great.
“Hello? Candyass who’s stressing about getting his balls chopped off? Why is a vasectomy the only option for you not to get her pregnant?”
Shane finished his set. “Because it’s the smart thing to do. Condoms break. Birth control fails.” Carponti was probably about to accuse him of writing country songs again. “This is the only one-hundred-percent sure option.”
“You could always be in a celibate marriage with her,” Carponti said dryly.
“Yeah, and then she bangs the FedEx guy when I’m in the field.”
Carponti snorted and coughed. “That’s just wrong.”
Shane dropped the weights, the muscles in his left arm screaming. He was nearly back to his previous strength in his upper body, but sometimes his bones liked to remind him that no, he was never going to be as good as he’d been before. It frustrated him that there were more aches and pains now. More stiffness just getting out of bed in the morning. But he was determined to heal, so he could get back to leading soldiers.
Because that’s what he did.
Beside him, Carponti finished not choking on his drink. “You’re serious about this.
You’re really going to let a doctor near your nutsack with a scalpel?”
“Will you just drop it? I shouldn’t have said anything to you, damn it.”
“What? I just want to be sure you’re making the best, most informed decision.” Carponti grinned. “You’re going to let me see the cut, right?”
Shane just shot him a baleful glare and Carponti held up both hands, the soda in one.
Funny, Shane was used to the prosthetic now. It no longer caught his eye like it once had.
Carponti was just…Carponti. The missing hand didn’t really matter.
“Hey, so have you heard what’s going on back at battalion?” Carponti asked.
Shane picked up his water bottle and flipped open the cap. “I haven’t been in to see Sarn’t Major in a while. I’ve got a meeting with him later today. Why?”
“There’s a ton of bad shit going on. Iaconelli got in a bunch of trouble up in Colorado on a mission.”
“That’s nothing new. Ike’s always in trouble.” Shane and Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli had never really gotten along, which was a shame, because Ike was a damn fine infantryman.
“Yeah, well, apparently there’s a whole bunch of crap going on down there. Maybe that’s why Sarn’t Major wants to see you. See how much longer before you’re back at work?”
“Maybe.” Sarn’t Major would no doubt fill him in when he saw him later. Shane wanted to get back to work. Badly. But if Ike was screwing up again, Shane damn sure didn’t want to get back just to clean up after him.
Carponti grinned. “So, back to the more pressing matters, are you going to gift wrap your nuts and put a little bow on them and say, ‘Here baby, for Valentine’s Day, I’ve sacrificed my manhood’?”
Shane shook his head and tried not to laugh. “There’s something the matter with you.
You know that, right?”
“Sure. My traumatic brain injury is acting up again.” Carponti turned toward the door as it opened. “Speaking of nuts, here’s my wife. I need to get mine out of her purse.”
Shane turned to see Nicole Carponti walking onto the physical therapy floor, looking polished and perfect. No one ever looked at her and thought she was a cop. It made her a perfect investigator.
It also made everyone wonder what the hell she was doing with a scruffy, red-headed sergeant like Vic Carponti, but hey, she’d stuck with him after he’d gotten blown up. And worse, through his incessant bad tricks with his prosthetic. Shane watched as Carponti kissed his wife on the cheek, then slung his good arm around her shoulders as they walked out. Shane was reasonably certain Carponti tried to pinch Nicole’s ass with his prosthetic.
Life was never dull around Carponti, that was for damn sure.
Shane finished his therapy in blessed silence and headed to the locker room to change back into his duty uniform. He took a deep breath, running his hand over his jaw. Last week, Jen had slipped her body over his, her slick heat caressing his bare erection, and Shane had almost died from the pleasure of skin on skin. No barriers. He didn’t know which one of them wanted it more—the desire painting her features had been beautiful. And she’d gotten bolder since then, driving him toward a little death each time he touched her. No matter how much he was tempted to make love to her without a goddamned condom, he would not risk her life for a few moments of pleasure.
He loved Jen. More than life itself. The vasectomy was a very real discussion he was going to have with her very soon.
Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.
Oprah has called her. True story.
Her debut novel BECAUSE OF YOU launched Loveswept, the first Random House digital imprint.
She’s written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and is currently a company commander stationed at Fort Hood.
Most recently, she’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine’s Americans of the Year for 2012.
Connect with Jessica at
All the readers of this blog know that I’m a bit of a sucker for anything that resembles a “man in uniform” romance. Because of this, Jessica’s series is right down my alley!
I deliberately included the excerpt above as it gives a great look at Jessica’s writing style. The story line is funny and endearing. The characters are real. The have real conversations, and at times are irreverent. When Vic Carponti said “Speaking of nuts, here’s my wife. I need to get mine out of her purse.” I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t catch my breath to explain to my husband what was so funny.
I highly recommend Anything For You. It has humor, it has romance and it had me in tears. The perfect combination for me! The fact that Jessica Scott accomplished this in 35 pages is a testament to her skill.