What We Imagine

Dwayne JohnsonThe other day, my oldest daughter was saying how she loved seeing what people imagine certain book heroes look like. So I thought I would share what I think Jack in CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE looks like. A combination of the two fellows in the top two pictures. Jack keeps his head shaved (his story will reveal why he does it), has piercings, tattoos, and isn’t classically vinsidehandsome though women would call him good-looking in that manly way. He’s a lady’s man. So he loves women. Not for just sex. He actually has a female best friend. Though his younger brother, Rex, hates him, he will do anything to keep him happy. Jack even tricked Rex into marrying the woman his brother had loved for years. Because of the decisions Jack has made, he’s a lonely, lonely man. Thankfully, Katerina comes along and cheers him up.  LOL! If you could call fearing for his life as cheering up. Don’t forget CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE is on sale now at Amazon!  Plus Amazon has CIRCLE OF DESIRE and CIRCLE OF DANGER on sale for $1.99.  Not sure how long that will last. For those who have been following my blog, I’ve mentioned a couple times I’m working on a new series. This hero let’s his hair grow, unlike Jack, and wears it in a hairstyle that has become popular again.  It was the thing to wear in the 1930s to 1940s. I wasn’t alive then, but I’ve seen the movies (reruns 100 times over) from back in the day. I so hope fedoras come back in style too. Here are a couple pictures of the hairstyle I’m talking about. So sexy if done right. Plus the new hero leaves some scruff on his face. haircut brad haircut hero By the way, CONGRATULATIONS to Melissa Ruiz!  She won the 2nd set of books, bag, Hello Kitty, $10 Amazon Gift Card and tee shirt!  Melissa, be sure to answer my email.  Thank you!

[Update:  Melissa is excited to have won.  Her package is being mailed out Saturday.  Congrats again!]

Two more days . . .

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Excerpt

Jack stepped out of his Silverado and hesitated near the truck’s front end, keeping the thick engine block between him, the house, and anyone who might shoot. Besides, he wasn’t sure what mood Kat would be in.

The place appeared to be deserted. Not that anything looked different from last evening. Early morning sun reflected off the windows and exposed peeling paint beneath the eaves. The overgrown bushes near the long porch needed to go. Too easy for someone to hide behind and attack when entering the front door.

No birds chirped nearby. Something didn’t feel right. Kat wasn’t inside the house. A heavy sensation ran down his spine. Who was watching?

He stepped back and opened the crew door on his truck and pulled out a sawed-off shotgun. In the South, it was the weapon of choice against thieves and burglars. Using rock salt, the spray would cover anyone heading his way, and he didn’t worry about his aim, or killing anyone. Rather ironic considering the field of work he’d been in so long, but he was tired of people dying around him.

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

MM910001135Sorry. Fell asleep last night before announcing the winner of the international giveaway. Twitter follower @csibabe06 (Caroline), you’re the winner! Please send me a direct message tweet with your email address and I’ll send you the $20 Amazon Gift card.

[Update: Caroline has claimed her prize. The last giveaway will be Tuesday, February 24. The last bag of books and RELEASE DAY for CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE!]

Valentine’s Day with Jack and Katerina & First Winner

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00009]Let’s peek in and see what my hero and heroine from CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE had planned for Valentine’s Day.

Katerina’s eyes narrowed. “Are you saying you want me to go with you to the tattoo parlor? So on the most romantic day of the year, I’m to sit there and watch some woman work on you? Been there. Done that. And burned the shirt.”

“Now, baby, didn’t I fix the top shelf for your dolls?” Jack crossed his arms as he towered over her, flashing a big grin.

“They’re Hello Kitties.” She looked away and said in a amused tone, “Thank you. I really loved the perch for Kinky too. She acts as if they’re her family. They do look like her.”

“If I catch you putting clothes on her, I’ll –”

Laughing, she shook her head.  “I wouldn’t dare. Don’t worry. And I’m not going with you.”

“Damn it, woman. You ruined my surprise. Lucy said she could do a Hello Kitty.”  He pulled her into his arms.

Katerina slipped a hand beneath his shirt. “Not sure a Hello Kitty would look so good next to the angel of death.” Her hand rubbed over his large tattoo.

Jack lifted her. She wrapped her legs around his waist. He whispered, “The tattoo is for you.”

Her heart stopped. She didn’t have anything against tattoos, she loved his. But needles always scared her.

“Will you hold my hand?”

“You betcha.” He snuggled her neck. “Happy Valentine’s Day, sugar.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day to you, love.”30afdd49d785ee61c19a9e1b330646fd

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The winner of the first bag of books, shirt, Amazon gift card and Hello Kitty is Jenn McElroy!!!  Congrats!  I will be emailing her tonight.

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[update: Jenn answered her email and the package will be placed in the mail this week!  Congrats again to Jenn.  Two more prizes to go.]

Giveaways! February 14 through 24!

Here’s your chance to win one of the two following cute bags (US Only. See further into IMG_0435the post for International). There are 10 books each in them, includes my three full-length novels, a $10 Amazon gift card, cool T-shirt and a Hello Kitty doll.

How do you enter for a chance? Each of the following is an entry.

Like my Facebook page

Follow me on Twitter

Sign up for my Newsletter

For International readers, you can enter too, but your prize will be a $20 Amazon Gift Card via email (one winner).

[update:  First U.S. winner will be announced February 14, International winner on February 19, and last U.S. winner February 24.]

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Three Types of Alphas

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00009]

Release date 2/24/2015 Amazon.

Over the years, I’ve heard debates on the plus and minuses of Alpha and beta heroes. Personally, I prefer Alpha heroes, and strangely, as unchanging Alphas appear to be, they have been changing with the times. Maybe it has to do with women liberation and the younger generation.

Geez, that last part makes me sound so old.

I guess it’s because I don’t have a problem with a man being a man. For a man to beat his chest and open my doors never bothered me. But at the same time, why are women still referred to as Mrs. in the business world or if I’m purchasing something? Hell, I’m proud of being married to my hubby (love him dearly), but what does my marital status have to do with my work? Men are Mr., no matter if they’re married or not. Never understood it. Equal rights and all.

Sorry, got off track. Back to the three type of Alphas.

1.  The Tarzan Alpha.  Loved watching Tarzan movies on TV when I was a kid (they were re-runs of re-runs), but as an adult in the present PC environment, the movies from the 1930s for sure show a hero Tarzan11who’s not really very nice to Jane. Even in one film, he tears her clothes off. Of course, he’s just curious about the clothing. Yeah. Right. It was the same movie (Tarzan and His Mate) along with a few others that helped bring about censoring movies in Hollywood during that period. The Johnny Weissmuller ones were my favorites. By the way, Tarzan’s English name was John Clayton. Thought I would throw that in.

Now on to this Alpha. At times, he can come across as being not the smartest cookie in the pack. Maybe because he’s raised by apes/wolves/lions/etc., from a different planet or time. Isn’t that a great excuse to do whatever he wants? But when he’s in his environment, watch out! You’ll look a fool if you underestimate him.

The other side of the same coin, this Alpha can also be super-smart, and you’ll know it from the start. Often he’s that way because he’s lived a horrible life. Cruel biological or foster parents/guardians, bad choices or friends, etc. So he grows up thinking women are nothing but sex toys for him to play with. That is, when he’s not busy taking care of business. He often plays a brutish hero, steam rolling over the heroine, forcing her to do what he says. “For her own good.” Hey, I enjoy reading this type, but no way do I want to be around one in real life.

What authors write this type? Lori Leigh, Anne Stuart (she has some scary, delicious ones), Beth Kery, and Nalini Singh (some I’m told).

2. The James Bond Alpha. This is the category where most Alphas fall. They’re self-James Bondsufficient and don’t believe they need a woman until they meet The One. Sometimes they have a hard time recognizing her. That’s the part we find so much fun: watching him come to terms, that he can’t live without her. Oh, yeah. The mighty falls hard.

And don’t be hating my favorite James Bond. Even today, wrinkles and all, Pierce Brosnan is so sexy.

The authors for his type? Linda Howard, Maisey Yates, Debra Webb, Anne Stuart (her Ice series has this, mixed with the Tarzan) and Carla Swafford (of course, I had to add mine).

3. The Jamie Alpha.  Yes. Simply stated. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, you haven’t read, watched or listened (audio) to any of the OUTLANDER books. The author has created a new alpha. He’s strong, gentle, and reasonable. Expects his woman to be as honest as he is and to stand by her man. But he’s willing to sacrifice his life or even give her up to protect her. Jamie

The authors with this type of Alpha? Diana Gabaldon (duh!), Betty Bolte, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Victoria Dahl (some), and my next book will have a lot of this Alpha in the hero. The book is due out February 2016 and should be titled BURNOUT [update: title has been changed. More about that later.] More info to come in the next few months.

As you noticed, the authors I mentioned have a mixture of Alpha heroes (including mine), but they appear to gravitate to the types I mentioned.

Something I noticed when I finished writing this post, all three Alphas are named after characters from the U.K., and all have “J” names.  Funny. HA!

Anyway, comment and let me know what authors you believe match up to the Alphas above. Chances are I’ll love to read them.

Blurb for CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00009]Word is out Katerina Savalas has found a map that leads to a long-lost Union shipment of gold. She can’t take the chance of someone breaking into her home again. So she decides to hire a washed-up Circle operative to protect her home.

Jack Drago wants to be left alone in his drunken misery. When he receives an unusual offer from Katerina, he accepts. What red-blooded heterosexual male with a death wish can turn down a chance to have a mob boss’s daughter in his bed?

To be released at Amazon on February 24, 2015, and other booksellers April 1.

Be on the look out for giveaways the week leading up the release!

How to please every reader

MC910216365Yep. I tricked you. It’s on the Romance Magicians’ blog. HA!

And you’re right. You have to click here again to read the post. It’s my monthly journey to the dark side . . . to my Romance Writers of America chapter’s blog.  *smirk*

I’ll be back in next few days when the urge hits me. For now, it’s time for me to get back to writing my newest book. My heroine is in deep doo-doo and doesn’t know it yet.

Good Bye Bitter Sweet and Hello Brightness

MP900309665Earlier this week, I wrote a long post about the last year and what I have to look forward to and then yesterday morning I deleted it. It was way too sad and wordy. So the short version is this.

2014 had a lot of good moments to celebrate while darkened by one bad event.

At the end of August last year, I lost my biggest cheerleader. My dad. He died unexpectedly. One important thing was he knew I was in the middle of working with a new editor toward a new contract with a new publishing house, and my writing career was looking up. He was very happy for me. Being a voracious reader, he was as excited as I was about me being published and continuing to be so.MP900309596

So in October, I received a two-book contract from a wonderful editor at Penguin/Random House’s Loveswept line. Yay! And then a couple months later, I signed with Prospect Agency. Love my new agent!

I’m starting off 2015 the right way. All fresh and new. I have to pinch myself on occasion. Other times, I freak out and worry that I have lost my mind. Who am I kidding? I can’t write!

Well, this is where I dig in my heels and prove I can do anything, if I want it bad enough. Nothing will stop me but me. And I won’t let that happen. Heck, my daughters and writing family won’t let me. I’m so grateful for them all.

Watch out!  I’M BAAAACK!

One in a Million

The past week, I’ve been on vacation. So nice. Working on my writing during the day and watching TV or reading at night. Mercy, I’ve watched quite a few movies and TV shows on Netflix.

You know, it got me to thinking about the millions of actors and authors who hope to become famous for what they love to do. It blows my mind.

Does it make me want to quit? Goodness, no. All of this makes me want to work harder, to become a better writer. Every author should strive to improve with each book.