Letting Go

Bessie is gone.  I’ve had old Bessie in my life since the Fall of 1998.  She was a class act.  All dark and dangerous and sporty with a growl that would make any aficionado’s heart do a happy dance. Teenage boys used to smile at her and give me a thumb’s up. Other men desired to own her.

Bessie was my 1999 Volvo S70 Turbo with a stick.  Yeah, I drove a stick.  And now, she’s gone.  The man who bought her appreciates all her good qualities — and low mileage for a car with a lot of years on her.  And Bessie is no longer a girl-car — she has transitioned to a boy-car,  the name Gray was mentioned in passing.

I’ll miss ole Bessie.  She was a good, dependable car with a lot of oomph.

2015-09-09 14.53.26But her replacement is gorgeous and loaded with a high-tech package (with three manuals to explain all the buzzers and bells which I may never ever even use) and Bang and Oluffsson sound system (that I’ll use).  She’s Monsoon Gray metallic with black leather interior and real ash wood trim. Sexy.

She purrs as she accelerates from 0-40 in less time than it takes to type this.

What is this new paragon of vehicular magnificence?

A 2016 Audi A4 2.0 T with 8-speed Tiptronic transmission (that means I can manually shift her  plus she also has a peppy and responsive Sports drive which sort of growls on the automatic side).

I’ve only had her a week or so — and am still pushing in the no-longer-there clutch and reaching for my standard stick, but I’ll adjust.  She is pretty and smells good — and needs a name.  I’m gonna have to think about it.  I’m still mourning Bessie.

This car is no Bessie.

 

The Book Is Done … What’s Next?

MM_SSI4_StormWarning_300x400My fourth Security Specialists International book is now LIVE and being sold at all your favorite on-line retailers.

And as with every book I’ve ever written and published since 1998, after all the nice reviews and compliments — and can I just say THANK YOU!!! I love my fans!!– the first question I always get is “What’s next?”

Answer to the question:  I plan to write Trey and Fee’s story, titled An Ill Wind.

Please note the crucial word in the above sentence is “plan.”

I don’t get sidetracked very often, but the times I have, have been noticeable. Cold Day in Hell, Risto’s story, wasn’t even a germ of an idea in my brain once I’d finished Eye of the Storm. I’d fully planned that after the novella Stormy Weather Baby, Vanko’s book was supposed to be the second book.

I’d even written a third of Vanko’s story when Risto hijacked my brain and insisted, in a very nice, but alpha-dominant sort of way, that his book had to be Book 2.  Of course, Cold Day in Hell then spawned Tessa and Earl’s book Storm Front before I could get back to Vanko.

Looking back, I was glad Risto was so insistent.

So, yes, I plan to write Trey and Fee next. There are important reasons why I should. First and most importantly, Trey has been waiting for Fee since Stormy Weather Baby; the man has been celibate and is due. Plus, Fee is lonely in the New Mexico/Mexico border town and is ready to start dating again. Finally, Sanctuary and the under-served medically area of Idaho County needs a doctor the caliber of Dr. Fiona Teague (not to mention, the men and women of SSI need a doctor close by).

Don’t feel too bad for Trey; it really hasn’t been that long since Fee left Sanctuary. In my SSI timeline, Trey’s only been waiting for Fee to agree to go on a date with him since around mid-June (when Riley Maddox was born).

An Ill Wind starts on March 1st, a little over 8 1/2 months later.  During all the other books and the passing of those months, Trey’s managed to visit Fee every month at least once.  He’s charmed and wooed Fey, using that stealth courting technique Tweeter used on DJ Poe.

At the beginning of An Ill Wind, Fee’s agreed to go out with Trey on his next visit (alluded to in Storm Warning).  In fact, she’s looking forward to it, but is still a little nervous. Then FUBAR happens and the date gets postponed for a bit.  And, no, I won’t say why since it would spoil the beginning of the next book for y’all.

See?  I know what will happen.  I know the set up.  I even know the dark moment near the end and how the book will end (HEA, of course).

BUT the middle is a MYSTERY!!  Why?  Because I am a semi-pantser.  I know things that have to happen in my books, BUT I let the characters talk me through all the intricacies of their story.

This is good — because it allows me to go with the flow of the action, to be creative, and discover the story as the characters reveal it to me. But it is also, bad.  Bad, in the way, that if my characters just shut the hell up in the middle of the book, some other character might come along and demand, as Risto did, that I write his or her story first. It’s happened before and I can’t promise it won’t happen again.

Plus, I now also have a name for a novella, Hot as Hell, which will feature a set of secondary characters and an important plot thread left hanging (on purpose) from Storm Warning.  And, no, I can’t tell you who or what since that would spoil it for those who haven’t read Storm Warning yet.  😉

Speaking of Storm Warning — here are some BUY Links.  🙂

Amazon http://amzn.to/1TNt46O
B&N http://bit.ly/1PvTs4N
KOBO http://bit.ly/1JdejbT
ITunes http://apple.co/1Wzu0A8

 

Convenient Amnesia: A Writer’s Best Friend

MM_SSI4_StormWarning_300x400The book is done. Hallelujah.

It’s been uploaded to Amazon for pre-order and to the distributor (who’d already placed it for pre-order elsewhere), and now I’m in a recuperative phase.

Recuperative phase, you ask?

For me, and I expect many other authors, writing is not a non-physical process. It takes its toll mentally, emotionally, and physically, especially in that last race to polish and tweak a book to meet deadlines.

Yes, writing is not an aerobic experience or physically challenging like running or wall-climbing. After all, I’m sitting on my butt in a chair and staring at a monitor and wiggling fingers over a keyboard, right?  But, in reality, it is physically taxing. And, as many authors will tell you, it takes a toll on a body.

Writing ain’t for sissies.

I am two weeks out now from the final polish-and-tweaking of the 118.5 K word manuscript (and that final editing phase took almost two weeks itself). No amount of sleep has quite eroded the exhaustion that last sprint to get the book done encompassed. My wrists and elbows and neck and lower back are still complaining.  No amount of Aleve (and when does Aleve get toxic? — my liver wants to know) or massage has managed to decrease and/or eliminate the pain.

And the physical side effects happen no matter what methods you use to avoid it.

Sleep?  Check, got at least seven hours every twenty-four. Wrist brace?  Check, been wearing one for years.  Proper desk height and good chair?  Check. Ergonomic mouse?  Check. Frequent breaks, get-up-and-walk-around time? Check — all the diet soda I drink takes care of that requirement — that and checking on laundry, fixing meals, and making sure hubby knows I know he exists (he gets soooo lonely, ya know?).

Since I have written more than one book, obviously, the physical side effects of writing — and the memory of them –fade away.

Sort of like childbirth. — You know it hurt, but you can’t quite remember exactly how it hurt and so you’re up for it again.  Convenient amnesia.

And that convenient amnesia is why I am already plotting away my next book in my head. [FYI:  It will be another SSI book.  Damon and Susa of the Prime Chronicles series ain’t talking to me, yet.]

Not sure if writing is a biological imperative like the need to procreate, but it is a mental and emotional one. I can’t not write.  As with giving birth, you pass on a part of yourself to the world, your little bit of immortality.  Granted, unlike my child, my book might not have the potential to change the world, but it does have the potential of taking people out of their every day lives and giving them a few hours of enjoyment. Not a bad thing at all in my mind.

So, let’s hear it for convenient amnesia. — Now, please, does anyone know how much Aleve is too much?  Because, I have more stories to tell.

******

Blurb:

Former helicopter pilot DJ Poe is a woman used to working in a man’s world and comfortable as SSI’s first female field operative. It’s her instant attraction to the company’s computer specialist that has her questioning her ability to overcome her past and develop an intimate relationship with a man.

Stuart “Tweeter” Walsh already admired DJ for saving his brother’s life in Afghanistan, but when the tall, leggy, blonde goddess joins SSI, he falls instantly in love. All he has to do is convince the man-shy beauty to take a chance on him.

Take one alpha-male geek, add in one skittish female warrioress—throw them into close proximity and you have the perfect conditions for storm warnings.

Pre-order Links: Publication Date is August 25th.

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

iBooks

Plot Bunnies Abound

creek9-750x500What a marvelous time in the news!  Plot bunnies just popping up all over.

Pluto, once a planet, now a dwarf planet, is getting its close up.  Yes, I am a former science geek and I love this stuff.  All sorts of ideas just pop into my head — and may be aimed at my Prime series. We’ll see.  I’ll be DVRing the Nova show, for sure.

Then there is El Chapo escaping from a maximum security prison in Mexico — for a second time (first time was from another supposedly secure prison).  Yes, his escape could trigger a really interesting plot situation for the Trey and Fee book in my SSI series.

Then there is the weather — floods moving houses into bridges.  Hundreds of miles long derecho turning day into night and blowing things down.  Yep, right up my story alley.

And the new season of The Weather Channel’s Fat Guys in the Woods — I get all sorts of ideas from Creek and his survival skills.  I also get all sorts of ideas about Creek (see picture above).

Of course, all of these plot bunnies have to be put on hold.  I am putting the final tweaks and polish on Storm Warning, SSI 4.  It is up for pre-order at B&N and Kobo.  Other pre-order links will follow over the next few weeks.

Publication date is August 25th — God willing and the creek don’t rise.  I meant the water kind of creek.  Get your minds out of the gutter, people. 😉

 

Tootsies

Image from totally-pampered.co.uk

Image from totally-pampered.co.uk

It’s summer. That means sandal weather.  And if you are a slightly high maintenance female, as I am, then that means it’s also pedicure weather.

Now, I admit to getting a monthly pedicure all year round — from necessity. So, missing two months because of my manicurist’s schedule and my schedule never getting on the same page,  meant I had issues. Painful issues.

Thus, I needed an emergency pedicure appointment (yes, they do exist– in my world!). My manicurist who has taken good care of me and my digits for over 20 years did the best she could and alleviated the pain somewhat, but there are lines she will not cross. Those lines include anything that involves the words “scalpel”  and “excising and draining.”

So, today is my first visit ever to a foot-and-ankle surgeon to see what on earth is going on with my poor big toe. I am somewhat embarrassed since my big toe seems such a trivial thing to involve a very well-respected and busy orthopedic surgeon, but a scalpel and excising and draining are technically surgical terms.  Plus, I am married to a doctor, a pathologist who dealt with body parts, blood, and dead people, and he also threw in the term “sepsis.”

I do not mess with sepsis.

So, I’m going.  I expect it will be painful.  This means later I will need chocolate — lots of it — and maybe some Scotch, a double. And cuddling.

Moral of the lesson — don’t skip pedicures –ever.

Are you high maintenance? What beauty regimens or procedures can’t you live without?

 

Road Trip!!

postcard-4.5inx6.5in-h-frontYes, I am on the road tomorrow and heading for Lori Foster’s RAGT in Cincinnati.

Hubby and I will pack up the family truckster (in this case, a Lexus SUV Hybrid — Chevy Chase really needed one of these for his summer vacay) and depart shortly after lunch and two hours or so later, we’ll be there. So excited to have dinner the first evening with Paige Tyler and her hubby and Paige’s and my gal Friday, Janet Snell and her hubby at Paige’s fave restaurant, PF Chang’s.

While in Cincy, hubby and I will see our son who moved to the southeast side of Cincinnati way back in February. We’ve only seen him twice since he moved and I need a big hug.

Friday and Saturday at this con will be packed. Besides the usual parties, other boardroom activities, and the raffle baskets for charity — I and a bunch of other authors were invited by my author buddy KaLyn Cooper to participate in an author hunt involving a Brag Book.

So, if you are coming to RAGT, you’ll need to see me or one of the other participating authors to get your empty brag book and start collecting author cards.  Show the filled brag book to KaLyn in the Madison boardroom and you will be entered for a chance at some really great prizes (I’m giving a full set of SSI print books).

As part of the Liquid Silver Boardroom and in celebration of 15 years in the e-publishing business for LSB’s parent company, I and the other LSB authors (KaLyn Cooper, Kelli Evans, Wendi Zwaduk, Eve Langlais, Maddy Barone, and Lynn Rae) are doing a Be Charmed by an LSB Author hunt — the participants (limited to 200) will receive a basic bracelet and must find all seven authors and get a charm from them.  Once the bracelet is complete, the lucky person can enter to win even more prizes.

As you can see, Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get-Together is a fun convention and the attendees get a chance at lots of lovely loot. charm bracelet less beads

Even if you are not attending, the public can come on Friday night and then again Saturday, for the book signings.  Both are scheduled from 3-5 pm in the lobby of Cincinnati Marriott North at Union Centre. Barnes and Noble will be selling books as will some of the authors who have print on demand books.

So, if you live near Cincinnati, come see me on Saturday afternoon from 3-5 pm.  I will have print books for both my SSI and Prime Chronicles series (in limited supply).

I’ll return home on Sunday and go into deep revision cave mode on SSI book 4, Storm Warning.  Some lucky people will get to read a Chapter 1 excerpt.  I have a limited print supply to hand out at the book signing on Saturday. 🙂

 

It’s That Time of the Year … Convention Time!!

2015-05-16 09.27.02

My table at the book signing.

Just back from the Romantic Times Bookclub convention in Dallas.  Man, I had forgotten how crazy crowded and noisy that convention can get.  There were ravenous readers everywhere.  As a people watcher, it was fun to sit and take in all the different types of people who love romance novels.

Everything went fairly smoothly, although I think the help at the hotel really weren’t prepared for the huge crowds. The line at the Starbucks in the morning and at lunch time was like a 100 people long!!!  Glad I do not have a coffee habit.  🙂

What I really loved were all the posters featuring books and hunky cover models and more books.  They were everywhere — on the pillars, the elevator doors and the walls.

Swag, you ask?  Oh hell yeah, lots and lots of swag.  Promo alley was filled with everything you could think of and some I had never thought of before – -Kennedy Layne had a unique hand sanitizer — it looked like a pen, but it was a spray instead of a gel.  The germaphobes among us grabbed those quickly.  The goody bags had books and pens and cute little notebooks (and I really need to find out where they got those, because I lurrve little notebooks). There was a dearth of candy this year – I sort of missed my candy fix.

But the best thing about RT was seeing my friends such as Becca Jameson, Terri Schaefer, Kay Sisk, Paige Tyler, Pauline Jones, Linnea Sinclair, and Janet Snell, my crit buddy Cherise Sinclair, and, of course, all my fans.

Now I am gearing up for Lori Foster’s RAGT June 4-7.  After that, I will be in the revising cave and working on Storm Warning, SSI Book 4.

Me and my crit buddy Cherise Sinclair

Me and my crit buddy Cherise Sinclair

It’s Convention Time!

rtbooklovers-150x82Yes, that is where I’ll be next week, May 12 -17, in Dallas, Texas.

I don’t go to the RT convention every year — mostly because it takes too much time away from life and my writing schedule.

It’s only a week, you say?  Well, nope, it’s not really. I have been preparing for this convention for most of this year — in between hubby’s open heart surgery, moving son to his new job, and trying to finish SSI 4.  This entails swag bags, promo items, coordinating with booksellers and panel assignments — and then, last but not least, the pre-con beautification rituals so I don’t look like a hag. It’s okay to look like a hag while sitting in front of the computer, but not when meeting the public.

Also, this year I am flying.  So, I am dealing with pre-flight jitters; they began a month ago. I’m leaving my broom at home and flying Southwest Airlines into Love Field on the 12th.  So, please pray for clear, non-tornadic, non-wind-sheer weather. I am not a good flyer.  I haven’t been on a plane since October of 2008.

I am on two panels this year. Oddly enough they are both on Wednesday afternoon. One is science fiction romance and the other is romsuspense.  I am also a table captain for Linnea Sinclair’s Intergalactic Bar and Grille on Friday afternoon.  Then I will be in the Giant Booksigning on Saturday and will make an appearance Saturday night at the FANtastic Day Party.

Here is my schedule:  Monette Michaels Events

After I return, I won’t be home for long since I will turn around and drive to Cincinnati for Lori Foster’s RAGT convention from June 4-7.  Driving is good.  🙂  I will be hostessing along with my fellow Liquid Silver Books authors – Eve Langlais, KaLyn Cooper, Wendi Zwaduk, Kelli Evans, Maddy Barone, and Lynne Rae.  We’ll have all sorts of fun and games in the room.  The biggest game will be the Charmed Author Hunt.  The first two hundred attendees who visit the LSB Board Room on Friday morning, June 5th, will receive a bangle bracelet and an instruction card  for hunting down all seven LSB Charming authors to complete a bracelet.  Once the bracelet is completed, the owner of the bracelet can then come to the room, show they have been “charmed,” and get an entry for a drawing.

charm bracelet less beadsThis is the picture of what the finished bracelet will look like.

So, if you are already registered for Lori’s RAGT– please remember to get to the LSB boardroom early to play the game.  Of course, this is not the only game, so be sure to check the print program.

I will be signing Friday, June 5th, 3-5 PM, at the Cincinnati Marriott, West Chester, Ohio.  This signing is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  So, if you live in the Cincy area, come see me. I will have all of my current SSI and Prime books there in print.  My current WIP, Storm Warning will not be completed in time for this convention. I apologize – life just got in the way.  So, it will be done sometime this summer.

After all this convention excitement is over, and I recuperate, I will then be concentrating on Storm Warning.  🙂 And if fate, karma, and all the gods are good, I will have a nice string of uninterrupted weeks to get the book done!!

Better Late Than Never

MM_SSI4_StormWarning_300x400Today, Thursday, April 23rd, is my blog day. You might be reading this tomorrow or even later, so I will  apologize to all who read my postings on this joint blog.

I’m sorry I’m late.

I have a good excuse and, no, the dog didn’t eat my blog.  🙂  I was up late last night, revising some end chapters on Storm Warning, SSI Book 4, in an attempt to shoot it to my crit buddies who are waiting to tear into it — in a constructive way, of course. 🙂 May I just say, I love my crit buddies. ❤

So, to apologize for being late, here is the blurb and a short, unedited, uncritiqued, and very rough taste of the beginning of Storm Warning.

Blurb:

Former helicopter pilot DJ Poe is a woman used to working in a man’s world. So, the opportunity to become SSI’s first female operative is in her comfort zone. She just didn’t expect to feel an instant attraction for her boss’s brother-in-law. Intimate relationships with men had never ranked high on her bucket list.

Stuart “Tweeter” Walsh knew he’d like DJ because she had saved one of his brothers’ life in Afghanistan and had been unofficially adopted into the Walsh clan. But when he saw the tall, leggy, blonde goddess he fell instantly in love. Now, all he had to do is convince the man-shy beauty to take a chance on him.

Take one alpha-male geek add in one skittish female warrioress—throw them into close proximity and you have the perfect conditions for storm warnings ahead.

Excerpt (unedited, uncritiqued):

2 a.m., January 3rd, Williamson, West Virginia

DJ Poe sat in a Jeep Cherokee and focused on the four-story Williamson Memorial Hospital, the only acute-care facility in Mingo County.

Somewhere in that building, her mother could be dying. “Could be” being the operative term—because the whole situation smelled like an elaborate trap.

Her mother’s safety and health were the only reasons DJ would come back to one of the most morally corrupt places in the world—and DJ’s own personal hell on Earth. Since she’d served several tours in Afghanistan as an Army helicopter pilot, she recognized Hell when she saw it.

“She’s not here, DJ.” The husky baritone of Andy Walsh came clearly over the Motorola headset she wore under her wool watch cap.

DJ stiffened in her seat, then slumped. “Not totally surprised.” She let out a sigh of disgust. “Who did you find?”

“Sending image now.”

DJ looked at her smart phone. While the situation wasn’t funny, her lips twitched at the sight of Andy’s brother Devin turning a woman’s head toward the camera.

Donna Barstow—Red Bone’s resident slut.

Donna had done anything for money ten years ago, and it looked as if the skunk hadn’t changed her scent.

“What did the bitch tell you,” DJ asked, “before you gagged her.”

“She knows nothing.” Dev’s low growl was filled with distaste. “She was shocked—just shocked, mind you—that we thought Nancy Poe would be in this bed.” He huffed. “Of course, the medical chart just inside the door says ‘Nancy Poe,’ and the hospital computer system we hacked into gives Room 420 as Nancy Poe’s private room.”

“What do you want us to do, DJ?” Andy asked.

“Leave an appropriate eff-you-note. By the time they get it, we’ll be gone.” DJ pulled her Army issue M9A1 Beretta pistol and double-checked the magazine. The routine maneuver served to calm her nerves. The only better routine would be doing a pre-flight check on a Black Hawk, the airframe to which she’d been assigned after finishing flight school.

“We going to Red Bone?” Andy asked.

“Yeah. We’re going to get my momma out of that god-forsaken hell hole.”

Red Bone was where she’d been born, raised, and lived for the first eighteen years of her life. It was a mining town south of Williamson, on U.S. 52.  The godforsaken bump in the road had become a place to loathe as soon as she’d developed breasts. It had been her mother who’d helped DJ escape from her pa’s—and his boss Ed Varney’s—plans for her the night she graduated high school.

“Sounds like fun,” Dev said. “See you in a few.”

“Jeep’ll be running.”

DJ exited the rear passenger side and then hopped into the driver’s seat to start the vehicle. She turned the defrosters on high and got out of the Jeep to clear off the accumulated snow.

Andy and Dev Walsh had become closer to her than her blood kin—with the exception of her mother. She’d only known the two Marines for about six months. They’d met when Dev had asked a room full of Army helicopter pilots for a volunteer to fly a risky rescue mission to pick up a unit of Marine Special Forces led by his brother Andy. DJ had offered because she was the best pilot for the job. The risky mission had been a success.

That one small act, an act she would’ve done for anyone, had the Walsh family adopting her as one of their own. They’d even gotten her a job with the private security firm, Security Specialists International, owned by Ren Maddox, the husband of the Walshes only daughter, Keely. DJ would be SSI’s first female operative and helicopter pilot. With a job waiting for her, she left the Army after ten years. She’d arrived in the States and stayed with the Walshes at Camp Lejeune while she finalized her plans to get her mother away from her father, once and for all.

When the emergency text message stating her mother was dying had arrived from her Red Bone source of information, she’d been frantic.

Andy and Dev’s mother Molly had noticed DJ’s distress, pried the information out of DJ—and then called a family meeting.

DJ had given the Walshes the Cliff’s Notes version about her family situation. The only thing she hadn’t told them was exactly why she’d left ten years ago and had never gone back until now.

The Walsh twins, Loren and Paul, had had to leave on assignments for SSI, but Andy and Dev still had time remaining on their leave from their Special Forces’ teams. They’d insisted on coming. If DJ needed backup, they’d provide. Their unqualified support had filled a place in her heart that had been empty for far too long.

A low whistle floated on the wind, alerting her to the brothers’ approach. She whistled back, then hopped into the driver’s seat and unlocked all the doors. The two men piled in, and she pulled smoothly away as they shut the doors and buckled up.

The guys weren’t chatty, and most days that was just fine with her, but she needed to know what else had happened inside the hospital.

She looked sideways at Dev, the elder of the two. “Donna sure looked scared. What did y’all say to her?”

Before Dev could open his mouth, Andy laughed. “Ole Dev told her that if she made a single peep before morning that he knew where she lived, and he’d come back and personally give her a face lift with a dull knife.”

“Face lift?” DJ didn’t look away from the road. The mountain road was tricky on dry days, but on snowy days, it was downright treacherous. One wrong move and they’d slide off the icy pavement into the Tug River.

Dev snorted. “That’s what she said she was in the hospital for.”

“Nothing’s changed with that bitch,” she spat out.

The two men hummed in a way she’d quickly come to recognize meant they wanted her to share—but only if she wanted to. Their patient silence filled the confines of the Jeep until she couldn’t stand it any longer.

DJ grimaced. “Donna was—and probably still is—the town slut of Red Bone. She spread her legs for most of Red Bone’s and the surrounding area’s male population over the age of sixteen including my pa and my two brothers. She’s quite the femme fatale.”

DJ could still remember the time her mother had put her foot down about pa “visiting” Donna. Her pa had beat her mother, beat DJ when she tried to stop him, and then still went to see the fat-assed bitch. His regular nights had been Tuesday and Saturday. On Saturdays, he’d shared Donna with his boss Ed Varney in a threesome.

Everyone in Red Bone knew about her pa’s philandering. Her mother had tried to shelter DJ from the salacious knowledge, but there were always people who liked to gossip.  Bless their hearts.

“Not seeing that. Not my type.” Dev looked over the seat at his brother. “Yours, Andy?”

“Only if I was blind, deaf, dumb, criminally stupid—and so crippled I couldn’t run the other way.”

DJ’s lips twisted upwards. “Thanks, guys. I needed a good laugh. I always thought she looked too … too…”

“Tarted up? Cheap? Skanky?” Dev suggested.

“Rode hard and put away wet,” Andy muttered. “She smelled like it, too.”

“Eeuw, thanks for putting that image in my brain.” DJ shook her head as the brothers chuckled. “I bet Donna had sex in the hospital bed. She told me once … well, never mind. I’d never take sex advice from the likes of her. My momma raised me better.”

Worry for her mother had her choking up on the steering wheel until her fingers cramped. She realized what she was doing and deliberately loosened her grip. Now was not the time to have an accident because she was distracted.

But she couldn’t shake loose the worries from her mind as easily. Was her mother okay? Had pa hidden her somewhere DJ and the guys wouldn’t be able to find her? Who had discovered DJ’s plan to get her mother out of Red Bone?

The plan had been in place since the day DJ had left Red Bone. Several times during her stint in the Army, she’d sent money so her mother could leave Red Bone and travel to Ft. Rucker in Alabama where her unit was based. But her pa had always tracked his wife down en route and taken her back home.

DJ had then shifted to an alternate plan which entailed keeping an eye on her mother and sending her money through an intermediary—Mrs. Binkley, DJ’s high school English teacher. Her pa was afraid of Mrs. Binkley. Hell, half of Mingo County was afraid of the old woman.

Once DJ had received her official discharge, “Operation: Rescue Nancy Poe” became DJ’s top priority. She’d just finalized her plan to sneak her mother out of Red Bone when she received the alarming text from Mrs. Binkley that had made this emergency trip necessary.

Had Mrs. Binkley sold them out? Or, had her mother let something slip to someone who owed her pa and Ed Varney a favor? Either way, the whole situation was now officially a goat rope.

“Stop fretting,” Dev said. “We’ll get your momma out. You’ll take her to Idaho. End of story. No one will get to either of you there.”

“Yeah, Sanctuary is so far off the beaten path,” Andy added. “Even most Idahoans don’t know it exists.”

“Thanks, guys. I’m so glad you’re here. I…”

“Jesus H. Christ, DJ! Where in the fuck all would we be?” Dev asked. “You’re family now.”

Andy slapped the back of her head rest. “Get over the gratitude crap. There’s nothing we wouldn’t do for you.”

DJ blinked the wetness from her eyes. Someone must’ve been looking out for her the day Dev needed a pilot to rescue his brother’s unit.

“DJ…” Dev’s tone of voice was now all business. “There were three armed men waiting to take you. One of them had a badge—a sheriff’s badge. It’s time you tell us the whole story about why you left home ten years ago.” He paused, then added, “It was more than your father being an abusive son of a bitch, right?”

She avoided Dev’s question and asked, “What did you do to them? Will they come after you?”

“They’re alive, but not real happy. And they don’t dare come after us. What they were doing was illegal. We’ll talk about your welcome home committee later,” Andy said. “I even have pictures to show you—and to turn over to the Feds when we report the attempted kidnapping. But first, tell us what happened all those years ago. We need the whole story if we’re to help you and your mom.”

If she’d faced her fears, come home, and taken care of business, her father and the Varneys would be serving time for all their crimes—and her mother wouldn’t be in danger now.

“Okay…” She took two gasping breaths and the snowy road blurred.

Crying? God, Dahlia Jane, man up, the Army taught you better than this.

Copyright, 2015, Monette Michaels.

****

Hope you liked the small taste of Storm Warning.  I’m working really hard to get this out to all my SSI fans as soon as possible, but I will only release once I am 100% happy with the final result.  Tweeter and DJ’s love story and adventures deserve to be told right.

Hugs– Monette, 4/23/2015

Spring Has Sprung And Out Come … The Critters

Yes, it is Spring, and aren’t we all glad, BUT — and there’s always a but, isn’t there? — with Spring comes PESTS.  Bet ya thought only showers and flowers came with Spring … um, no.

Usually in our household, Spring is when the pest control people get to come and re-bait all the traps in the crawl space and garage.  A job I do not envy them.  Crawl spaces have creepy crawly things in them — and most likely dead mice bodies from last year. EEUW.

But this year we have critters  in between the walls and above the ceiling in our master bedroom.  What kinds of critters?  I don’t know, and I don’t care–I want them gone.  We first heard them last night skittering and scratching and thumping and bumping as they played tag or procreated or whatever they were doing.  They seem to be nocturnal since the noise was gone during the day.

My pest control people don’t do unspecified critters — just insects and mice and maybe rats as long as they don’t meet critter-size criteria (whatever that is).  So they sent me to Tim.  And Tim is gonna be my man if he can get the little beasties out of my wall.

Being an author, I, of course, imagined the uninvited critter invaders eating their way to freedom through the drywall into our bedroom while we were asleep. (The outside of the house is all brick.)

Never happen, you say?  Well, it has happened and I know of someone that it has happened to. These very nice people  ended up with a momma and poppa  and baby raccoon in bed with them at 3 am in the morning.  Craziness then ensued.  I do not want to be that person who is chasing raccoons around my house with a broom in the middle of the night, trying to get them outside.

So, yeah, Tim is my go-to guy.

Now, I just have to wait for him to call me back after he did his walk-around my house.  I guess Tim has a lot of experience at this job (or my pest control people wouldn’t send him their good customers) and he can tell by looking where some creature got in. I sure hope so since my hubby went up in the attic and found nada signs of invaders.

Sight unseen, Tim has surmised birds — starlings to be exact.  Hmm, if they’re starlings, then there was a whole flock of them because they made quite a racket — all night long.

Me?  I’m thinking hungry, angry raccoons.  Tonight, I’ll have my broom handy, just in case.

“I’ll take Potpourri for $100, Alex”

If you love Jeopardy as much as I do, you know the category – the answers could be anything. So, I felt it was appropriate to use as the title of this blog, because I am addressing a little bit of everything. 🙂

MM_SSI4_StormWarning_300x400First, I’d like to announce the names I chose for the secondary characters in Storm Warning, SSI Book 4, and my current WIP.  If y’all recall, I asked for help a while back and I finally got around to choosing the final names after mulling them over and letting my Muse pick the ones that struck her fancy.

There could be spoilers for anyone who has not read Weather the Storm, so you might want to skip these.  🙂

1. Dept. of Defense Capt. Syd MacLean escapes in the early part of Weather the Storm. He escapes to Rio where he undergoes plastic surgery and then takes on the identity of a reclusive Brazilian import-export businessman that he had set up many years ago.  Of course, his business is a front for illegal trafficking of all kinds. His alternative identity is feared in Central and South America, mainly because of the men who enforce his dictates.

Name:  Sergio Manuel Lazaro aka “Oraio” (storm or lightning) — suggested by Valy Samouillan.

2.  The man who is the front man for Oraio’s Brazilian business is a red-haired Irish-looking male.  He is the man who puts together the hack-a-thon that Tweeter and DJ infiltrate in Belize to gather intelligence for NSA about the reclusive Brazilian businessman who is no longer so reclusive and who is making power moves in the Southern hemisphere. He is glib and personable, but underneath he is a shark.

Name:  Declan O’Riley — suggested by Heather Hand.

3.  The negotiator for Oraio’s business.  This is the guy who is GQ handsome in a South American sort of Latin lover way.  He negotiates from a position of strength and power and usually meets little opposition, but when he does he sends in the business’s enforcer.

Name:  Alejandro Salazar – suggested by Erin Bentley.

4.  The enforcer for Oraio’s business.  He is also Latin American, but he looks like he would eat babies for breakfast.  He is scarred from torture in a Colombian prison. He is ruthless.

Name:  Alberto Rossi aka “the Albatross” – suggested by Heather Hand.

5.  And I needed a name for Tweeter’s alter ego on the Dark Net which he uses to get invited to the hack-a-thon.  I needed both his Dark Net handle and false identity name that he and Keely created with the DIA’s help so he could troll the shadow net for terrorists, drug runners, gun traffickers and the like.  His reputation on the Dark Net makes him the man to beat out for the job being offered at the end of the hack-a-thon.

Dark Net handle:  Phantom/Alternate identity name: Erik Slade– suggested by Valy Samouillan.

THANK YOU  for all the fabulous suggestions.  The winning names will be acknowledged in the front of Storm Warning.

And don’t be surprised if some of the other names y’all suggested appear in a future SSI book.  I am keeping all of them with the person’s name who suggested them and will acknowledge if and when I use them.

11650_mlt_fiber_optic_hair_clip_modelv2_600Second, my Swag bag dilemma. I want to thank everyone who made suggestions, but I decided to stick with the gallon-size Zip-lock bag. I pulled the barrette out of its plastic sleeve and folded the cardboard backer so I could put the barrette into the bag and then added the other goodies.  That worked the best since it would also make it easier for the stuffers to stuff the goody bags and it kept all my swag together.  I am happy to say all the swag is bagged and now boxed and just waiting for April 6th to arrive so my shipment doesn’t get to Texas too early.

If you’re coming to RT in Dallas, you’ll definitely want to attend the Intergalactic Bar and Grille on Friday evening (May 15) for multitudinous swag, munchies and wine, and lots of games in which you can win great loot.  I’ll be there as one of Linnea Sinclair’s crew.

charm bracelet less beadsThird, after all the fun at RT in Dallas, I will be coming home and then almost immediately leaving for Lori Foster’s Reader-Author Get Together in Cincinnati in early June.  I along with six other authors will be manning the Liquid Silver boardroom.  This is LSB’s parent company’s 15th anniversary year, so we are going to have lots of games and prizes.

If you are quick enough off the mark on the first full day (Friday, June 5th), you’ll hit the LSB boardroom early to get a chance to be Charmed by An LSB Author. The number of participants will be limited. The early birds will get a bangle bracelet loaded with a silver drop and some beads. Then the fun begins.

This is an “author hunt” game — you will hunt down the seven LSB authors to collect charms for the bracelet. Once the bracelet is completed, i.e., you collect all seven author charms, you will get a chance to win another prize (TBA). Easy and fun!!

Now, I might be prejudiced, but the bracelet itself is worth playing for.  Dontcha think? Again, numbers will be limited.  So, if you are attending RAGT, plan on being outside the LSB boardroom when it opens that Friday morning.

The participating authors besides myself?  KaLyn Cooper (my LL&L buddy!!), Eve Langlais, Wendi Zwaduk/Megan Slayer, Kelli Evans, Maddy Barone, and Lynn Rae/ J.J. Lore. These ladies are fabulous and fun people.

And, last but not least, just wanted to let my fans know that because of my husband’s quintuple bypass surgery in early February, I am way off schedule in writing Storm Warning. As Rosanna and Lynn both so eloquently blogged here at LL&L, sometimes life just gets in the way.

So, I am promising you–I do plan to finish Tweeter and DJ’s story, but I can’t promise when it will be published.  I have to get back into the rhythm of writing. I have not written a single new word since the day my husband was told he needed surgery and that was February 4th.  I have done some hard copy edits and am now transferring those to the computer manuscript as a means of getting back into the story.  And I have, as detailed above, with the help of my fans and friends, named the characters who’d only previously been labeled “bad guy 1”, “bad guy 2”, and so on.  🙂

Good news is — I am dreaming the story again, which means my Muse is ready to get back to to work. I am cautiously optimistic that I can finish the story soon.  Then the revising and rewriting begins.  But every step forward is that much closer to typing “the End.”

Thanks to all of you for your support and good wishes while my husband and I dealt with this very life-altering event — and trust me, it is life-altering.  While he is recovering nicely, he will always have the wires in his sternum (hubby being a pathologist can detail all the potential issues with such) and have to deal with changes in his lifestyle.

I’m just blessed that my soul mate and love of my life for 45 years is still here to, as he always says with a naughty grin, “to make your life wonderful.”  xoxoxo– Monette