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.



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.





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. 😉



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