Today I am so pleased to welcome Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths to Joyfully Jay. Leta & Alice have come to talk to us about their latest release, Will & Patrick Do the Holidays (Wake Up Married #3). They have also brought along an exclusive excerpt and a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Leta and Alice a big welcome!

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When my co-writer Alice Griffiths and I dusted off our then-languishing story Will & Patrick Wake Up Married, we intended for it to be released like almost all of my other books: as a free-standing novel.

However, as we wrote and fleshed out the bare-bones story we’d generated years ago, it became clear this was going to be a gargantuan book. At the two-thirds point, we had 140,000 words. That’s longer than Smoky Mountain Dreams. That’s longer than Vespertine by nearly 10,000 words. And we weren’t yet done. I estimated that we had another 70,000 words to go to wrap up everything we’d started.

At that point, we knew we had a couple of options:

1) We could gut the story of all the side characters and rip out most of the later plot points, or,

2) We could release the book in two rather large chunks, a la Will & Patrick Wake Up Married Book One and Will & Patrick Wake Up Married Book Two. Sort of like Ginn Hale did with her Lord of the White Hell books.

But that didn’t feel right to either of us. For one thing, Ginn Hale writes world-building fantasy and this was a trope-tastic, soapy romantic comedy. The idea of dividing the book into two felt clumsy, like taking a large stone and breaking it in half. Clunk-clunk.

We were at a loss. Deciding to just suck it up and cut our darlings, I started gutting the book, trying to get rid of storylines. But then the story arcs started falling apart because all of those little pieces added up to the epic ending we had planned.

So we decided to get another opinion. We sent the story off to a trusted beta reader to get her feedback. Should we gut the book? Or do two books, clunky and off though that felt to us?

When the beta reader got back to us, it was a suggestion we’d never imagined. She said: I think you should consider doing this as a romantic-comedy serial; it rolls out like a serial and has perfect pauses for each section. It could be really fun!

A serial was so far off our radar but once the suggestion was made we both recognized the rightness of it. My gut, always the mediator of my choices, went from feeling heavy to feeling like wind was rushing through it. (NOT THAT KIND OF WIND! Though I am known to be gassy at times. 😉 )

Luckily, my co-writer Alice Griffiths felt the same way. She said it felt like it honored the story we were telling rather than mangling it or damaging its spirit. Maybe that sounds like a lot of hoo-doo voo-doo but I think as creative types, we’re allowed that once in a while.

We recognize that serials are not everyone’s cup of tea, but it was the best way to put this book out and to honor the full story that wanted to be told. We think it has a fun, vibrant feel and we hope that our readers continue to feel that anticipatory excitement between installments.

Perhaps this isn’t the forum for it, but I’ll go ahead and address the common misconception that doing a serial is a money ploy. For several reasons, this serial will definitely bring in less income than if we’d found a way to hack this book into a stand-alone single volume. I could go into that math behind that, but that might be a bit tacky.

Suffice it to say, we both knew the monetary reality going in to this serial endeavor and yet we still made the choice for the sake of the work itself. We feel strongly that it shows the work to its best advantage and hope that others will find fun in the ride, too.

We’ve also chosen to put it on Kindle Unlimited for members of that service so that the cost to many readers is mitigated.

So that’s how and why Will & Patrick Wake Up Married turned into the Wake Up Married serial! We hope readers enjoy it half as much as we’ve enjoyed writing it! It’s been a real blast!


Excerpt

For a day that started out pretty great, what with waking up with his face buried in a hot guy’s furry pecs, it’s all going downhill fast. Bullet train fast.

The medic alert bracelet Patrick finds on Will’s right wrist indicates the binge drinking his blushing bride had engaged in the prior night was a fool’s move. A cold prickle races over Patrick’s skin. He’d been too drunk to notice the bracelet either. Sure, it’s an expensive, fancy one, designed to be unobtrusive unless there’s an emergency, but he’s a goddamn doctor. He should have noticed.

“Hey,” Patrick shouts, tapping Will’s cheek. “Hey. Wake up.”

Will opens warm brown eyes and looks just as shocked as the first time. He starts to move, and Patrick encourages him. “Sit up.”

Will does as he’s told. “Did I pass out?”

“For a few seconds. Here, drink some more water.” Patrick puts a bottle in Will’s hand and sighs.

First, said hot guy freaks out and accuses him of rape. Patrick remembers clearly how Will had begged for it last night, and, sure, drunken consent is basically no consent, but they’d both been smashed out of their minds, so if anything they’d raped each other. Over and over. And enjoyed it the entire time.

Then the guy turns out to be a total prude when sober. A prude who freaks out about an even more prudish ex-boyfriend who sounds like an utter asshole. And Patrick knows from assholes, being one himself.

And now Patrick finds out that he’s gone and married the idiot. Why? Why would he do such a thing? He doesn’t know. He hasn’t remembered that part yet. Surely there’s a good explanation, like someone held a gun to his head. If anyone was roofied here, it was clearly him. He’s categorically opposed to marriage, in all its forms and guises.

He doesn’t even have a pre-nup signed. This pretty piece of ass could take him for everything he’s worth. And he’s a neurosurgeon, so he’s worth a lot. At least they’d used condoms. He remembers rolling them on, and a quick glance toward the trash can shows that, yes, there are six in there. Christ, no wonder his balls are killing him.

A sharp memory takes his breath away.

Will’s bent over the bed, taking Patrick’s slamming cock, saying, “Everyone says married sex is boring, but this…this is amazing!”

Patrick fucks Will even harder then, grunting at the tight grip of his ass and the slap-slap of their sweaty skin. “Yeah, who knew?” And he comes, bending down to bite Will’s shoulder as he shoots his load.

Will takes a sip from the bottle Patrick hands him and looks like he’s going to slip unconscious again. Giving the benefit of the doubt isn’t something that Patrick does often or well, but maybe Will doesn’t know that binge drinking is off-limits for him. After all, the clowns-to-competent-doctors ratio is pretty high; it’s possible that Will is unfortunate enough to be seeing a Bozo.

“You need some glucose.” Patrick heads to the fridge, pulling out a bottle of orange juice and tossing it to Will. Then he grabs a fancily wrapped block of cheese from the fridge and the carton of whole-wheat crackers from the basket of snacks. He nods toward the medic alert bracelet on Will’s wrist.

“Drinking like you did last night is dangerous.”

Will takes a large swallow of the orange juice. “Tell me something I don’t know.”

So, benefit of the doubt is unnecessary. As usual.

Using a knife to cut small hunks, Patrick quickly builds a few cracker sandwiches. He hands them to Will.

“I shouldn’t drink for a lot of reasons.”

“Eat up. Chug-a-lug.” He pauses as Will’s expression goes through ten dozen versions of freaked out.

“You’ll need to test your blood sugar soon. Is the meter in your room?” Patrick glances toward the small bag on the floor by the unfamiliar jeans, wadded-up buttoned shirt, and boxers. “I take it that murse is yours?”

“What?” Will’s color is getting better and he’s more lucid. Patrick hands him the rest of the cracker sandwiches.

“That man-purse. It’s yours. Do you keep your meter in it? Test strips?” Without waiting for an answer he crosses over and opens it. “Bingo.” He tosses the bag on the bed. “Test yourself.”

“I’m feeling better.”

“Ain’t that just jolly news? The last thing I need is a strange guy I’m married to collapsing into a coma in my hotel room due to diabetic hypoglycemia.”

Will remains silent, obviously panicking as he eats.

Patrick waits for a quiet minute as Will chews and swallows the last bite of cracker and cheese. Then he sits beside him on the bed, retrieves the supplies from Will’s murse, and, taking Will’s left hand, tests him. Finding Will’s glucose reading satisfactory, Patrick mutters, “Good. Crisis averted.”

Will sucks on his pricked finger, not making eye contact while Patrick takes in the evidence of Will’s workout regimen—firm abs and strong shoulders, v-ing down to slim hips. His short hair glows gold in the light from the windows, and his nicely formed pecs are liberally dusted with blond hair. Will strikes him as pretty, even though he’s taller and larger than Patrick. He can’t be more than twenty-six, farm fed and, if memory from the night before serves, normally rosy cheeked. He isn’t rosy cheeked now.

Patrick cuts to the chase. “FYI, I don’t have any STDs. And condoms were used. I know what you told me last night about your ex being your only. But you also told me about the shady meet-cute with his new boyfriend.”

“He’s not with Hartley like that.”

“That’s not what you thought last night.”

“Shut up.”

“All I’m saying is if he’s been dipping the wick in some other pot of wax, it’s possible you might be carrying something you’re not aware of yet.”

Will’s eyes blaze. “No. That’s impossible.”

Patrick lifts a brow. “Oh, right, because your ex wasn’t much of a lover, right? It’s been, what did you say? Six months since you last got any?”

Will shakes his head but says nothing as he blushes.

It’s this Ryan idiot’s loss, really. Will’s a great lay. “Regardless, we should both keep an eye out for any difficulties down below, like pain or blood in the urine or—”

“Let me guess, you’re a urologist?”

“No, I’m a neurosurgeon.”

Will snorts and rolls his eyes. “Yeah, right.”

Patrick’s not sure why he’s offended. Maybe because now that they both remember all the ways Patrick made Will come, he expects a little respect?

“What? I don’t look like a neurosurgeon to you?”

“You look…you look…” Will evaluates him. “Like you still aren’t wearing any pants.” He covers his face again like he hasn’t been at the receiving end of the cock he’s so scared to look at. “Please. Hand me my clothes. I have to get out of here.”

“You need to eat the rest of that food before you do anything else. I’m a doctor.”

“That means I have to do what you say?” Will snaps.

Patrick takes pity on him and pulls on his boxer-briefs and jeans before tossing Will’s clothes over.

“There. Since you’re so uncomfortable with nudity, maybe this will cheer you up and we can figure out the first step to extricating ourselves from this mess.”

Will drains the bottle of OJ before he wriggles under the covers to pull on his underwear and pants in prudish privacy. “I’m sure you noticed my bracelet last night. Why didn’t you seem concerned about my drinking then?”

Will’s on the bed on his hands and knees. Patrick pounds into him as he rubs up and down his back over and over. A strange, possessive thought fills him: he’s mine now and I have to take good care of him.

Patrick shrugs the memory away and answers Will. “You wear one of those dangerous, fancy-pants bracelets instead of the traditional medic alert. If you weren’t so vain and trying to hide your disease, I’d have noticed instantly and none of this,” he gestures between them, “would have happened. As for last night, I drank too much and wasn’t thinking clearly.” Patrick holds up his hand, waggling his ring finger. “Obviously.”


Blurb

Will & Patrick Do the HolidaysFollow Will & Patrick as they do the holidays in this third installment of the romantic-comedy serial, Wake Up Married, by best-selling author Leta Blake and newcomer Alice Griffiths!

A couple’s first holiday season is always a special time. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are magical when you’re in love. Too bad Will and Patrick’s marriage is a sham and they’re only faking their affection for each other. Or are they?

Sparks fly in this episode of the Wake Up Married serial. Will the sexual tension between Will and Patrick finally explode in a needy night of passion? Or will they continue to deny their feelings?

Episode 3 of 6 in the Wake Up Married serial.


Bio

Leta blakeLeta Blake

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more about her by following her online:

 

Alice Griffiths

A long-time reader of romance novels, Alice Griffiths finally took the plunge into writing, teaming up with best-selling author Leta Blake for the ‘Woke up Married’ serialized comedy. A lover of tropes, Alice enjoys mining old ideas and putting a fresh, funny spin on them. Formerly working in the newspaper industry, Alice is now an art curator. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

You can find out more about her by following her online:


Giveaway

Leta and Alice have brought a tour wide giveaway for 2 copies of Will & Patrick Do the Holidays (Wake Up Married, Episode 3). Follow the Rafflecopter link below to enter. 

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