Haiku for Circle of Desire

Some years ago, another author interviewed me and asked for a haiku about my debut book, Circle of Desire. So here it is.

Even wintry men
Find women to be a test
In their heated beds

That was fun. I’m not saying I’m good at it, but I do believe I found something new.

CircleofDesire mm cShe also asked, what makes the hero and heroine in Circle of Desire so perfect for each other?

At first glance, Olivia and Collin appear to be cut from the same cloth, deadly killers pushing their own agendas. But as you get to know them, you realize Collin sees through Olivia’s sultry pretense to the abused little girl inside. In turn, she sees through his coldness to a leader who worries that he may not be man enough for the job he inherited. They soon discover in each other what they each need. Olivia finds a man she can trust, and he finds a woman who believes in him. Besides, two strong-willed people clashing in and out of bed make some interesting reading.   

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Same Tale, Different Story

Some years ago, I had an interviewer to ask me, how does it feel to compete with Businessman Wearing Capeestablished writers?  I thought you might like to see my answer.

Wow! That’s really a good question. I guess I’ve never really thought of my becoming published as a competition with other authors. Maybe because I’m aware of the vast opportunities to take one story and turn it into a hundred directions. Over the years, I’ve heard we basically have a certain number of plots to write. Seven to ten are the most common quantities given. A good link to go to that explains this is HERE.

With those basic plots, we have an indefinite number of stories to tell. Since everyone has their own way of speaking, in this case, writing a story, we can have thousands, even millions of authors and never hear the same story, especially word for word.  Plus each reader has their own special need inside that drives them to purchase certain type of stories. I personally love forced marriage plots, contemporary or historical, along with CircleofDesire mm canything involving spies and assassins. The last two are why I wrote CIRCLE OF DESIRE, my debut book. Most authors do write what they want to read. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Readers want their need fulfilled more than once a year. Some have a monthly, weekly, and for those fast readers, a daily addiction. My addiction can be seen in the stack of novels waiting in my shelves to be read and the same number downloaded on my iPad

What I’m getting at is there’s room for many authors. Some who will be an instantaneous best-selling author (al la Stephenie Myer) and others who’ll take a few years to reach that same point of success (the fabulously talented Sherrilyn Kenyon). Of course, the publishing world has room for all of us in between authors.

Deadly Sex

Circle of Desire was my debut book. Sure there are a few things I would change about the book, that is if I had written it recently, but overall, I love that story. My favorite thing about the book is that the heroine is just as dangerous as the hero. And the hero knows it and respects it. They are equals in many ways. Both are damaged, but the heroine is more so. Though the hero knows this in the beginning, it takes him a while to understand how much she has to overcome. All of it makes him love her more.

One of the hottest part of the book is how they got turned on when they argued. A couple times their arguments even turned into a physical fight and then an explosion of red hot sex.

Here’s an excerpt (not a sex scene – you need to buy the book to read those – but there is lots of sexual tension).  Collin is standing over Olivia as she is stretched out on a couch.

“You need to be briefed on our policies. Then we’ll test you to see what skills you possess and the best way to utilize them.” He watched one corner of her mouth quirk up as she tried to hold back the smile. “What’s so funny?”

“You.” She gave up the struggle and grinned big. “All your policies, testing, and utilizing. Why don’t you talk like a regular person? And tell me in plain English what you want?”

She raised one knee and the robe parted, exposing a long, smooth length of gentle muscled thigh to trim ankle. His hands itched to clasp her legs around his neck again and rejoice in the taste and heat of her body.

Relaxed and smiling up at him, she revealed her true danger. Her sex appeal. Deep inside he’d realized he held an intense attraction to her. But for now, at the beginning of her training, he needed to keep her at arm’s length to a certain degree, holding himself away from her like a carrot in front of a donkey. He studied her face. If she could read his thoughts, he would be dead for comparing her to a donkey.

She turned on her stomach, arms folded across the armrest, chin on top, looking at him with a poignant softness. Though she appeared all sweetness and femininity, he knew she was lethal. What method would she use to kill him? Her hand slammed into his nose, shoving bone and cartilage through his skull, killing him instantly? Or debilitating him with a hand to his crotch and then a twist of his neck? The latter took strength or skill. While she’d been handcuffed to the bed, he’d experienced firsthand the well-trained muscles defined beneath her silky skin. She had many deadly skills.

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Let’s Celebrate With Giveaways

giveawayToday, I’m celebrating five years and seven books in publishing. On Tuesday, October 18, 2011, is when it all began, and I want to thank those who have and will read my books.

I’m giving away swag (cups, pens, jar openers -the red circle, book marks, etc.), and books, and gift cards.

How do you obtain such wonderful stuff? By telling me ONE of the following. Yep, you only have to answer one, but feel free to answer more.

1) What do you like about outlaw MC books?

2) What do you like about mercenary/spy/assassin books (similar to my Circle series)?

3) What other kind of book do you enjoy reading?

Be sure to leave me your email address. It will be used for the giveaway only.

Be aware that FULL HEAT, the second standalone book in the Brothers of Mayhem series, is on sale for 0.99 cents for a limited time.

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And CIRCLE OF DESIRE is on sale for $1.99.

If you want to know about future books, giveaways, and sales, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter. Click here and fill out the form.

NAKED HEAT is due to come out the end of February 2017.

Below are the books that make up The Circle series.

Winners will be announce after 9 p.m. tonight!

What’s Cool About Assassins?

CircleofDesire mm cToday, I was thinking about assassins. Don’t know what my train of thought was that got me there. One of my problems with ADD. I start looking up one word like Muscular and before you know it, I’m looking at pictures of butterflies. You thought I was going to say naked men, didn’t you? Well, I’m sure I did that somewhere along the way to butterflies.

Going on, I Googled assassins — oh, I remember now — I was looking for the assassin movie that I watched a couple years ago and wanted to use as a reference in my current book. Anyway, I found this great article about the Top 10 Movie Assassins. I don’t necessarily agree with all his choices (Tom’s Collateral should be number 1) but I enjoyed his insight. The article is from 2010, so he doesn’t include Looper.

I love Bruce Willis in anything including that movie. And of course, as you know I have a thing for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. No. Not a sexual thing. I like my men older, like Bruce. But then again I’m happily married. Whatever. Back to the subject.

Then I found this other list of assassin movies under Box Office Mojo called simply “Hitman/Assassin.” It lists all the movies for the last thirty years. Wonderful! I do love them.

That’s partly why I wrote my first published book, CIRCLE OF DESIRE. It’s about a female assassin. The opening scene is her waiting for a target.  In fact, I’ll place an excerpt for you.

Olivia St. Vincent typed the ammunition data into the keypad on the sniper rifle and then nestled her cheek against the stock’s custom-fit pad. She waited for the information to be processed and her target to come into view.

Keeping her attention on the boardwalk outside the open window, she caressed the silencer attachment and sighed. Powerful and lightweight compared to others, the rifle was her favorite and the only one of its kind. She wasn’t sure how The Circle got their hands on the prototype, and she knew better than to ask. She’d used it twice in the last eleven months and had no complaints.

She inhaled the fresh salt air coming in and watched the few early joggers trotting along the boardwalk next to Elliot Bay. Almost the whole length was visible from the empty fourth story apartment. A strong wind picked up and splattered water off the windowsill onto her hands and the rifle even though she sat a good three feet from the opening. She grabbed a soft cotton cloth and stroked off the liquid. It had rained for ten days straight since she’d arrived in Seattle, and only twenty minutes ago had it stopped. To the north, a break in the clouds showed deep blue sky. A miracle. Good grief, she couldn’t wait to get back home to Atlanta.

One moment, she was running her fingers across black metal, enjoying the bumpy finish. In the next, she was aiming at her target, taking a deep breath and then releasing it, relaxing, holding her trigger finger steady. He’d crossed the street and started down the boardwalk. Five foot eleven with a well-proportioned torso, he always wore the same dingy sneakers with orange Day-Glo stripes.

She squeezed her eyes shut for a few seconds and inhaled. Time to concentrate on the job. The Circle had given her orders to eliminate him, and she was programmed to follow. Later she’d hear he was a child molester or a killer like herself. Why she should care one way or the other, she wasn’t sure. Maybe knowing helped her sleep at night. Not that it would matter otherwise; she was a killer and good at what she did. She never really had a choice.

She waited as he’d jogged a little past the half-mile mark. His feet pounded in a steady rhythm as the early morning light glistened on shifting muscles. Like clockwork every day, he hit the pavement at sunrise, jogging down the same area. Only thing about predictability, it could be deadly.

The area around him was clear, no one nearby. He turned down a short pier. Only a few feet more and he would be at the mark. She cleared her mind and inhaled, holding her breath for the fraction of a second. She squeezed the trigger. The jogger’s body continued straight ahead, propelled by the bullet’s trajectory, and then he toppled off the edge of the pier and splashed into the water as his god-awful shoes tumbled across the boardwalk. Perfect shot. That was why they sent her.

Once she pressed a couple buttons on the gun’s microcomputer, she scooted away from the tripod and stretched with arms up, bending her back, getting the kinks out. Her back popped. After an hour in one position, it was no wonder her body protested, no matter how much she worked out. She shook her head when the image of the body landing in the water tried to resurface. Think of the good she carried out. Her job eliminated those who preyed on the weak. She performed as a tool for the greater good.

Yes. That was it. She was a tool.

Thinking of tools, she smirked at the gun. The usual brutal recoil dampened by the hydraulic system always surprised her. The rifle worked like it should with little firing signature, a thump of air and only a small amount of flash at the end of the barrel. The suppressor did its job. Unless someone stared directly at her open window and caught the small flare, nothing gave away her location.

Damn! If she’d been a man, she would have a hard-on now. She loved her gun. Objects she could control. People were a different factor.

Yeah, yeah, violence and sex. Sex and violence. That’s what you’re thinking, and congratulations, you’re right. It is an erotic romantic suspense and not about her going around killing people. She will and does, but it’s more about the relationship she develops with her kidnapper/opposing competition.

Okay. Now I’m going back to that list and figure out what movie I haven’t seen. Surely, there are a couple.

[This was originally posted May 10, 2014. I just wanted to share again.]

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Month Long Contest with Surprises

Coming Soon Arrow

Be sure to check back on May 1 for a month long contest with a big giveaway of a mini iPad. Plus I plan to have several more giveaways throughout the month from my author friends.

This is my fourth anniversary of receiving an offer for publication from HarperCollins. On May 4, 2011, I received an email from an editor at Avon offering me a two book deal that later turned into another contract for one more book. That’s how Circle of Desire, Circle of Danger, and Circle of Deception came about.

In the last year, I’ve released two novellas, Circle of Dishonor and Circle of Defiance. Be sure to check them all out.

During the month of May, Circle of Dishonor will be free at Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks, Kobo, and several other book sellers.  Hopefully, I can get Amazon to play along too.

(The mini iPad will be for U.S. participates only due to postage and restricted laws on electronic equipment being shipped overseas.)

Just Chillin’

MM900046560Well, I say I’m just chilling, but really I’m writing and writing. With a lot of staring off into space wishing my brain would work faster. You know it’s kind of funny, when I wrote CIRCLE OF DANGER for Avon, I expected to have anxiety problems like most debut authors have with their second book. But no. It was one of the most painless books I’ve written. For some reason, it fell together so easily. Though I’m sure in the middle of it I hated the book . . . I always hate a book midway in my writing. It’s natural.

That’s when you worry it will be boring. When I may even become bored with the whole storyline. When all the doubts of being a decent writer comes to head. Of course, it makes me work harder to ensure the reader doesn’t fall asleep.

That’s where I’m at, at this point. I’m in the middle of the first book of a new series for Loveswept. That’s when the evil doubt-demon picks at me saying, who are you kidding? Maybe your husband is right and all of this is a lovely pipe dream. Maybe I need to give it up. (He actually said that a few months before I was offered my first contract. And I bet he still thinks that when he hears me moan about my dwindling sales and my vanishing dreams of becoming a NYT best selling author.)

So many authors worry about the second book slump where the next book contracted (and often in a series) doesn’t do as well as the first. Strangely, I didn’t worry about that. Maybe I should’ve. It’s just that I loved the second book of my first series as much as the first and the same for the third book. Though all three books are in the same series, they are all different and can be read in any order.

The first had a kick-ass heroine, the second had a heroine wanting to be kick-ass but finding out that wasn’t her talent, and the third was a laid back kick-ass, not high maintenance like the first one. She worried more about her past and how she could move on. I admire all three of those women. Maybe if someone were to ask me which one was I most like, I would say the wanna-be, Marie, in the second book. Though I would’ve preferred to be like the other two.

Back to what I’m doing now.

The new series is a contemporary set up in the world of motorcycle clubs, the 1%ers. Should be a piece of cake, right? New series, new start. But even so, you still have to meet the players, immerse yourself into their lifestyle and see what problems they’re in the middle of and running into before they can solve them to our satisfaction. So then they can have that beautiful, happy ending.

Yes, folks, I write romance, and I’m proud of it.

So I guess I’m having my second series doubts. The SSDs. Does sound like a disease. The cure is to keep writing. It’ll wear off. One day.

Okay. Back to work . . .

What’s That In Your Pocket?

CircleofDesire mm cOver the years in romance and erotica, I’ve seen (or is that read) the size of a man’s penis go from average to King Kong in length and width (ouch!). I’ll never forget reading a historical romance where the guy’s cock was so big he had to wear a sheath around it whenever he rode out to battle the enemy. Funny but oddly sexy.

Anyway, I came across this interesting article called Does Size Really Matter? It’s worth a read and maybe the next time (if you’re a writer), you’ll think twice before giving your hero a huge “pleasure rod.”  If you want to know more about penises and sizes, click here and read what Wikipedia said about it.

This all makes me remember a scene in CIRCLE OF DESIRE.

She [Olivia] leaned back in the chair, looking at him [Collin] with half-closed eyes. “Listen I hate men. No, I’m not sexually interested in women. I already have a pussy. Why would I  want another one? I put up with men for one reason only. Their cocks. Big throbbing ones. A real live hot, hard cock is ten times better than any synthetic one at satisfying my needs. I like playing with them and then leaving before they want more. Was that what you wanted to hear?

The burning sensation in her stomach said it all. She hated this discussion. She hated that he couldn’t bring himself to care enough to protect her. Why she expected any man to protect her when she’d done it for herself all this time, she didn’t know. She just did.

Love that woman!

All Paths Lead to Books

Businessman Wearing CapeI usually avoid talking about the day job except for the occasional remarks about working overtime and it kicking my butt. But today I’m in the mood to talk in general about it.

A few years ago, I started the current job after an old one sold out and moved away. Freaking stressful. See, I’ve realized over the years, I’m a slow starter. At first I don’t know for sure what questions to ask. I mainly soak in as much information as my brain can handle. Then I work through the areas I need improvement. Along the way, I either make bad choices or good ones. Then I work out the kinks.

I’m not much for tooting my own horn, though you may say differently if you read my blog regularly. But really, this is my place to make all kinds of noise.

Anyway, the point I’m getting to is even though I’m slow, I catch on and it sticks. My job reviews are always great. And I feel my books are that way.

Thankfully my critique partner and my beta readers say my books get better and better. That is so satisfying. I know I love each book I write, but the last one is always my favorite. LOL! Maybe one day will come that I have an old favorite. We’ll see.

So I hope everyone will give each of my books a try. Remember they’re along the lines of James Bond or Nikita, but way hot! They’re a little out there in adventure, but they are written for pure entertainment.

Wait until I finish Jack’s story (Rex’s brother in CIRCLE OF DECEPTION). He has a few surprises. At times, he can be an asshole, but can’t we all? Katerina (CIRCLE OF DANGER) will certainly straighten out his butt. I hope to have this story completed and published by August.

In June, I’m planning to release a novella (short story) with Ice Takahashi (CIRCLE OF DANGER) as the hero. The heroine wasn’t in the previous books, but you will find out some truths about Ice’s past and his real name.Young model

“Ice” Takahashi’s final job for The Circle has an unexpected hitch in it; he’s fallen for an innocent civilian. When his mission goes haywire, he’s determined to protect her and still come out of it alive. Maybe he can be an honorable man who’s worthy of her love.

Lena Matthews feels like she’s playing with fire by dating the mysterious Master J. He’s exotic, dangerous, and exactly what she needs in her boring life. With the bad guys bearing down on them, she discovers a whole new world of sensuality that binds her heart to his forever.

Hero Angst of The Circle Books

Beware – some spoilers mixed in.

Who doesn’t love a hero with a problem?  It could be the trouble-making heroine he’s fallen in love with or it could be the garbage he brought to the story from years before. Sherrilyn Kenyon is great at making the hero suffer as a kid and young adult. I’m sure there are other authors who do the same. Personally, I believe I pick on the heroine more than the hero, but I thought I would go over the angst that came out of my stories for the men.

CircleofDesire mm cCIRCLE OF DESIRE

In his twenties, Collin Ryker was the lead operative of the internal group of deadly mercenaries called the OS (Onyx Scepter), the heart of The Circle. When he realized his guardian, Theo, the head of the organization his father built, was insane, he convinced most of the operatives in the OS to follow him and split off from The Circle. The decision had been a hard one as when his parents had died in a car bomb, Theo had been there for him.

He’d lost his whole family when that car exploded and had to deal with survivor’s guilt. He worked at being like the father he admired by being emotionless and cold in his decision making. To him, that was a sign of a great leader. But when it came to Olivia, he loved fighting with her. They argue and actually try to kick each other’s butts, not abusively, as they love testing each other. The end results brought about some great love scenes.

I have to say he’s the only hero of The Circle series who has the least angst.

CIRCLE OF DANGERDanger cover2

Arthur Ryker is the leader of The Circle, and mercy, he has some big time angst. Let’s start with the scar on the side of face and body, and the blind eye. They are reminders from when his life fell apart. He’d been near the car that exploded with his mother and father inside. He’d tried to save them.

Then there is the psycho old leader, Theo. He blackmailed a teenager Ryker, promising to not rape a young girl if he obeyed him in all things, including a despicable act that Ryker had thought to never experience again. He has to live with his decisions.


Final Hi-Res CoverCIRCLE OF DECEPTION

Finally, Rex Drago’s angst has nothing to do with Theo. His is actually tied in with his height. You say, height? Yeah. His dad had the short man syndrome and resented a son who was taller than him by the time he reached high school. Even in elementary, he was taller than the other kids and adults treated him as if he was mentally handicapped. A child of that height should be older and smarter they thought.

He feels he’s not smart enough to be the second in command of The Circle.

Oh, and then there is the relationship between him and his bad ass brother, Jack. He tries to love his older brother, but with too much “water under the bridge,” it may be too late.

Side note about the series:

If you noticed in The Circle series, there is a thin string of the King Arthur legend references. The heaviest are in the first book. Psycho Theo dresses up like a knight, and he believes a sword proves he deserves to be a leader (feeling guilty much?). Of course, The Circle is in reference to the table that all the knights sat around. Last, but not least, Ryker’s first name in CIRCLE OF DANGER. Arthur.

There’s another reference to King Arthur’s legend in the books?  Do you know what it is? I’ll give you a hint. It’s a name.