Behind the Story: All About Unexpected Commander

Out of all my books thus far, this has been hardest one to write.

No joke, I wrote 300 pages, sent it to a beta read and they hated it.

Me after getting their reply:

tenor

The next day, I deleted all 300 pages and decided to write Unintentional Addiction. By the time I got back to this story, I had a better outlook on my hero, who had an arrogant, cruel and restrictive personality until I made him a little more manageable.

I started slow, writing the first twelve chapters and then sending 2 to 3 chapters to one beta reader, who in turn would read it and then text back: Done.

After that I would send questions via text like: at the end did you hate Yon?

She would have to respond on our Marco Polo ap because it lets her get all her thoughts out without me interrupting.

It was great. It also let me go back and fix any scenes that needed fleshed out because I have a horrible habit to write fast.

After finishing I sent the 2nd draft to another beta. This was me after reading what they thought of the new version.

Me:

1*40-XJY6EqILDMXM7Q299pA

Unexpected Commander is the third book of the series but this one is darker than the first two because Yon and Yelena have been abused. Yon in his youth and Yelena after she was kidnapped and experimented on by an apathetic Numan.

In my final version I’m happy to say that I love how Yon had to work on his abrupt and harsh words, just as Yelena had to find her voice.

These two are perfect for each other and I loved how protective Yon was of her the entire book.

Here is a sneak peek into one of those protective scenes:

“Are you always like this?”

Yon placed her on the bed, took a pillow, and handed it to her. “Keep the foot elevated. And, no, I’m not always like this.”

She held up her hand, hoping he wouldn’t leave her yet. She wanted to understand him better. “And when you say, ‘not always like this,’ do you mean you don’t knock people unconscious a lot?”

His head tilted slightly. “No, I meant I don’t usually come down to the planets I hate just to find a specific female and bring her back safely.”

It took a half-second longer than it should have for her to process that. “You came for me?”

“You shouldn’t have been down here in the first place.”

Yelena didn’t know what to say to that.

“Good thing you didn’t like Lotus Adaamas, because it was the last time you’re going to see it.” Yon was still holding out the pillow. His tone didn’t sound angry, more matter-of-fact.

She took the pillow and said, “Is it because of my skin? Or because of something else?”

“All of that and more.”

“What else could there be?”

“I will write you a list.”

If you haven’t read book 1 and 2, that’s okay, this book is still good on its own. But if you have read the others, it will enhance your reading experience.

 

 

Behind the Book: Unintentional Addiction

Unintentional Addiction (UA) is a spin off from the Unexpected Series.

At first I planned to write UA to introduce a few characters and races so readers could gain insight into my world without pages and pages of backstory. Because my stories are from limited point of view, I had to think of a way to give insight into characters in an entertaining way.
It would be safe to assume that Lotus Adaamas is a companion series to Unexpected. Key players in each will have an effect on each other.
For example, the male who rules Lotus Adaamas pops up in several books and in several series. Z is also a key player in several books and since his romance happened in between book 2 and book 3 this was a perfect time to release the story.
But as I say that, I should confess that when I first wrote this back in 2013 it was a contemporary office romance. I’m happy to say that I took great pleasure in expanding the story and characters. Adding in the futuristic elements took the longest time.
During the re-wite, I took out the old heroine and put in Adelia, Rannn’s sister. Mostly because the story was roughly written and the old heroine didn’t have much of a personality. What I didn’t change  was Z. He was the same person from the first draft with the addition of being able to enter into someone’s dreams.
This story was fun to write because Z was such a quirky character.
Even my editor told me she enjoyed working on this story because it had humor and a strong romance. The benefit to writing this book before Commander was that I had to layout the planet and give it a detailed backstory. Something I thought I had, but realized it wasn’t enough.
Now that I created this awesome planet with real people, I have planned and plotted three more books for this series. As a special sneak peek I’ll let you know that the next book in this series is with Shine – Unintentional Obsession.
But let’s get back to UA and talk a little bit about Silk Demons and Graches.
I can’t say what originally turned me on to the concept of having addictive skin, saliva and sex, but I think it made this story more interesting. As a Grach, mating outside the race would work against them; because if you think about it, there is no…dating with kissing and casual sex. One kiss, one steamy intimate moment and you would be hooked. If was me, I would have to really liked the person and be sure before there was any…extra stuff happened.
Of course Z is a risk taker, and he goes for what he likes. Thank goodness for that or this story would have gone nowhere.
I’ve met people like him before who never doubt themselves and in a way I admire that.
As for him being a Silk Demon, that took sometime to explain the concept to myself, let alone write it down. The first scene with Z going into his head or as some might say, is mind palace, I had to describe it in a way that would make sense.
I decided that since most people have unique minds and see things differently that each Silk would have a different mental palace too. If Z was an anti-hero type character, I could see him using that ability in some terrible way. Thankfully, he was a pretty decent guy. And he had to be, if he was going to mate with someone who had Yunkin-like morals.
Lastly, I wanted to ask a question to any readers who read Unintentional Addiction.
What was one of the questions you had, that didn’t get answered?

 

Behind the Author: Where it Began

Insights into Layla Stone, her writing, her process and her imagination.

 

What do you do when you are not writing?

If I’m not writing, I’m probably at home, picking up toys, cooking, watching Spiderman with my son for the 100th time, reading to my daughter or relaxing with my husband.

Do you have a day job as well?

I have a day job as a conference room technician. It’s a good job with great pay so I would only leave it if I made more in book sales than I do as a technician.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Oh wow, I started writing scenes when I was a teenager. I completed my first futuristic romance book when I was twenty-four. Sent that to a few publishing companies. No one was interested. 

I really liked the premise and I may end up rewriting it to fit a book in my Science Fiction and Fantasy worlds.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I think it was a combination of reading books by Laurann Donner, Cynthia Sax, Anna Hackett and C.L. Scholey. I feel in love with the futuristic worlds, aliens and interspecies relationships.

Where do you get your ideas?

My first book, and the start of the Unexpected Prize happened while I was reading a friend’s manuscript. The book was a lion shifter romance, but for whatever reason I read a line and my mind just stopped reading and suddenly, I was imagining a grey gladiator named Jarr-o who just found out he wasn’t being paid for winning the last fight, he was being given a Terran female….and he wasn’t happy about it.

The entire story and plot idea came from that moment. I put down my friend’s book to write out the premise and opening chapter. Then later that night I went back to my friend’s book and finished reading her draft because I knew the next day I was going to delve back into my idea and get it written.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Yes, there are days when I have a hard time writing. Those are terrible days, and even then I try to force myself to write something. Even if I know that I will delete it the next day, I still write something.

I also try to read something that will spark some kind of emotion. But to be honest, nothing works, I end up taking a mulligan for the day and hope that after a good nights’ rest I can get my head back in the clouds and write better scenes.

Sleep works wonders!

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

Absolutely. I wish I could go back and re-work Unexpected Prize and made it book one in a series about gladiators from Angny. I could write his sister’s book and a few others.

I’m playing with the idea…we’ll see.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Sure, I can tell you about the books I am working on this year and a half. Next month I will launch book one in the Lotus Adaamas series called Unintentional Addiction. The great thing about this book is it lines up perfectly to where Unexpected Demon left off.

In June, I will launch book 3 in the Unexpected Series called Unexpected Commander. This book’s timeline will pick up right after Unintentional Addiction.

After that I plan to launch book two in the Lotus Adaamas series called Unintentional Obsession. This will pick up after Unexpected Commander.

Next is book four in the Unexpected series called Unexpected Enemy.

Then I will launch the book five Unexpected Master and hopefully shortly after that I will finish the series with Unexpected Captain.

Following the end of Unexpected Captain I will complete Lotus Adaamas series book three. I don’t have a title for it yet.

What does your family think of your writing career?

My husband and sister are incredibly supportive. I love them for listening to my thoughts and complaints but the one person I owe my author success to is my amazing friend Melissa.

If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be a published author. I would still write books for myself and headed nowhere.

She introduced me to my first editor in 2015. That editor introduced me to Amazon’s KDP and createspace.

I freaked out a little because I didn’t know the first thing about publishing. Melissa knew nothing about being a publisher either, but she has a better mind for business and an eye for detail. She urged me forward, gave me tasks such as setting up a website, a Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

After that I felt more confident as I researched more, learned about book covers, blurbs, copy writing and book formatting. Each step Melissa has been there to support me on whatever I was working on or struggling with. Many times she would walk with me as I poured out my frustrations. Then in true Melissa fashion she’d analyze the issues and solve the problems one by one.

She never did the work for me, but that was because she couldn’t. Melissa suffers from aphantasia. A condition where a person can’t imagine or visualize images in their mind. No joke, this is a real thing. So as you can guess she can’t help plot ideas, characters or help with book titles, but everything else she’s brilliant.

It’s a perfect working partnership.

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Without hesitation I need to express my gratitude for each reader/fan who has enjoys my stories. Writing is my passion, but it has not come easy. My betas and editor will know better than anyone how many times I’ve rewritten a story from scratch, revised and revised again. Doubted myself as an author and then woke up, shook off the doubt and got back to work.

Every time someone buys a book or reads it on kindle unlimited, I see that and it makes me smile.

Every time someone leaves a review, good or bad, I see that and I appreciative the time they took to let me know what they thought.