Cassie knows. She sees the suitcase and she knows. I’m leaving. The size of the suitcase – and the amount of food I cook and pack – seem to dictate the level of concern.
The YMCA duffel bag is a good bag. It means we’re headed to Doggy Paradise. You see, at our house, there are rules. Dogs do not get on the furniture. Period. Ever tried to share a couch with a Doberman? Share is not in their vocabulary. Lounge over every possible square inch of free space plus half your lap and most of your keyboard? Definitely. Share, not so much.
Cats can get on the couch, may sleep on the bed until I want to go to bed, and they never get on the counters or table. Right. So there are rules for Cassie, and there are suggestions for the cats. The cats ignore the suggestions unless they involve a locked door. The dog plays by the rules because she’s a dog.
An unspoken rule is that if I am baking copious amounts of goodies, am packing wine in the same bag as some dog food, and have the YMCA duffel bag, we’re going to Regan Black’s house.
And the rules are different there. In Doggy Paradise, there are toys with squeakies in them. And we may squeak them all day long. We may play fetch in the house. We are still not allowed to chase or tenderize the cats in any way, but that’s okay, because… dogs are allowed on the furniture. All the furniture. Any time they want.
People will select places to sit so they don’t disturb the dogs. Also, dogs get marshmallows there. Like I said, paradise.
A real suitcase is bad. That means I’m going somewhere without her. Unless it’s Thanksgiving and that’s Paradise on Steroids because it’s four days with Aunt Regan and turkey. And a bunch of teenagers who love dogs and want to spoil them past the point of rotten. What’s not to love?
Lucky for Cassie, just back from a girls’ weekend, the duffel bag is staying out for a repeat visit next month. She sees it, and she knows. Just don’t tell her about the college visits planned in July.
There are times when you need to call on a friend. Saturday, when I slipped and banged into both a wall and the refrigerator (hey, if you’re going to do it, do it right), and messed up my hand and shoulder, I called my best friend and a favorite author, Regan Black.
The timing, it turned out was perfect. I was lamenting not being able to type for a few days, and she was looking for guest blogging opportunities. Because I can lose a weekend to her storytelling, it seemed perfect. We could chat (with her doing all the heavy lifting, er typing), and you’d all get a chance to meet a fantastic writer of romantic suspense with paranormal elements.
So, grab a cup of coffee (illegal in one of her futuristic series), and join us!
Tell us about your newest book.
Bulletproof is the result of a perfect storm – a brainstorm that is – between a highly accomplished romantic suspense author and a paranormal romance author searching for some overdue direction.
From the back cover: A soldier is nothing without his honor.
To avoid a dishonorable end to his decorated military career, John Noble made a deal with the devil. He gave up his name, endured harrowing training, and accepted every mission thrown at him for one purpose: redemption.
When he accepts his latest orders, providing personal security for a reporter in trouble, he bargains hard to guarantee it will be his last job for the shadow agency he knows only Unknown Identities.
An ambitious reporter, Amelia Bennett, is about to break the story of her career, if she lives long enough to tell it. Caving to her boss’s demand, she hires a bodyguard and soon it is obvious John Noble is the only obstacle standing between her and certain death.
Just when John believes he has found someone he can trust and love, who loves him unconditionally for who and what he has become, his orders are amended: Amelia Bennett is to be terminated.
Introducing Unknown Identities: an alternative for elite soldiers and spies facing criminal charges… if they can survive the program.
I’d like to say Bulletproof was something in my idea file that I knew I would write someday, but the truth is far more fun. This book, the entire new series, sprouted over the course of several ‘what if’ phone calls covering everything from plot, to character, to career with my mentor and friend, Debra Webb.
Debra: “What if… you try writing romantic suspense?”
Me: “What if… I miss the paranormal, supernatural stuff?”
Debra: “What if… you weave that in too?”
Me: “Hmm…” And then I’d run off to write.
A master storyteller, and brilliantly quick with an idea, Debra and I had a fabulous time dreaming up increasingly dire consequences for John and Amelia as Bulletproof came together. I learned so much in the process of this book and the experience of working so closely with someone as accomplished as Debra was exactly what I needed.
It’s my hope readers will feel that passion and excitement as they read Bulletproof, Double Vision, and the stories that will soon follow in the Unknown Identities series.
What motivates you to write?
The notion of two children in college is a pretty good motivator for any smart businesswoman. But well beyond the profit and loss stats, I want my children to see how consistent effort, perseverance, and dedication to a goal pays off.
What’s your next project?
Along with Bulletproof, Double Vision, and Sandman will debut at the end of October so readers can enjoy a few adventures in the Unknown Identities and really get a full escape into that world.
As readers enjoy those three UI stories, I will be working on expanding the series with a short story adventure which will be included in an anthology entitled My Evil Valentine which is set to release in February 2014.
And I’ll let you in on a secret, the fourth novel in the UI series stars an assassin referred to as End Game. His adventure will be a tough one, but I can’t wait to see where he leads me.
Will you share an excerpt of Bulletproof?
Sure! This is the first time Amelia and John are face to face:
Reclaiming her usual confidence under fire, she looked him dead in those exotic green eyes and issued a reprimand. “You’re late, Mr. Noble. Nine o’clock, that was our agreed upon meeting time.”
“I’m here now.”
Flustered that he blew off the infraction without even an apology, she placed her hand in his. His grasp was firm, his palms rougher, more calloused than she’d expected. Frankly, nothing about him was what she’d expected. He was extraordinarily good looking in a dangerous sort of way and made her uncomfortable on too many levels to analyze just now.
She gestured up the block. “I’m running behind. We’ll take my car.” She hit the clicker to unlock the car and reached for her door, but he beat her to the handle. Water slipping down his beard-shadowed jaw, he opened the door and waited as if he had all the time in the world.
Definitely odd. “Thanks.”
He gave her another of those negligible nods.
That instinct she trusted above all else railed at her to snap out of it. “Just a minute.”
She hesitated before getting into the driver’s seat and dug around in her purse. Didn’t matter that it rained steadily on them both. She pulled out her cell and snapped a photo of John Noble.
She flashed a perfunctory smile and dropped behind the steering wheel.
While he closed her door and then walked around to the opposite side, she sent the photo to her boss with a text explaining that this was the bodyguard, John Noble.
She shoved the key into the ignition and started the engine while Noble settled into the front passenger seat.
“Why did you take a picture of me?”
Amelia fastened her seatbelt and checked the street before shifting into Drive. “The truth?” Might as well see if he could take her straightforward approach.
“If I disappear and they find my body,” she eased out of the parking slot, “the authorities will have a description of you to go on.”
His attention remained fixed on the street ahead of them for endless seconds before he responded. “If I made you disappear,” he said, his tone dark and ominous, “your body would never be found.”
Thanks, Regan for stopping by. Because I like you all, and want you to ignore your families for a day like I’m ignoring mine, here are the links for Bulletproof. Amazon Barnes & Noble Apple iTunes
So, I got a day job, and I had a schedule going. Get up, write a book, work out, go to work, come home, fall into a coma. Working from home you forget how tiring work actually is. At home, I could take a nap in the middle of the day and claim I was on a conference call when I blew off email for a few hours, but once you go into an office, that’s over.
Funny thing. I thought I had the schedule all worked out and things were trucking along. The kids were getting fed, the animals were pissed (but in a house full of three cats, when are the animals not pissed), all was normal. Except… you know what I forgot about scheduling?
Blogs. Reading them. Writing them. All of it. Oops. You guys and my Lynda.com classes fell off the list entirely. And do not even remind me of the Italian I was trying to learn. Dios mio!
And then there were those infamous words, “Do NOT download Triple Town. It will suck your days away.” Anyone want to guess what three out of four people in my house now do with expendable time? Thank you, Regan Black.
And while we’re on the subject of losing track of time and Regan Black, have you read her stuff? Have you? I’m telling you, she’s the best undiscovered paranormal writer out there right now. No, I do not make a profit if you go look her up on Amazon, and yes, you should still go do it. Like elves and stuff? Think Kresley Cole only lighter. Yeah, she does that. Want darker futuristic? No problem, she does that too. She’s why I don’t write paranormal, so if you’re looking for something to read this weekend, and are going to be stuck inside because Tropical Storm Amanda/Amelia/Something with an A is coming, go pick up her books.
They’re way better than Triple Town and those damn evil Pandas!