London, 1845 It’s December, Alan “Aigee” Garmond’s favorite time of […]
No fighter jets in Agents Irish and Whiskey, but for every fighter pilot movie I watched growing up (and I watched them all), Top Gun is still my favorite. From that first scene on deck, with “Danger Zone” building in the background and planes taking off, to the very last dog fight, this movie is a non-stop adrenaline rush. And, despite my general loathing of Tom Cruise, the romance is pretty swoon worthy too.
Gone in 60 Seconds
I know the Italian Job and the Ocean’s movies are technically better heist flicks, but I have a serious soft spot for Gone in 60 Seconds. Maybe it’s the cars, maybe it’s “Low Rider” and the awesome soundtrack, maybe it’s the hodgepodge cast that somehow works, but if this movie is on, I can’t turn it off. Okay, let’s be honest, it’s 95% the cars, especially “Eleanor.”
Pro: It’s convenient
Let’s face it: having the one that sets off your drool reflex live next door is super convenient. You can hop on over anytime to hang out, make out, or veg out. Your next hug, smooch, or conversation is only two minutes away. Excellent! Lead me down the garden path!
Con: It can be suffocating
They can hop on over anytime, too, and want to hang out, make out, and just…well tire you out. If you’re anything like me, you need some head space every now and then. Having your boyfriend or girlfriend show up unannounced all the time can become suffocating after a while.
Pro: Space is only one letterbox away
On the other hand, if you’ve had a fight, or you just can’t handle his offer of pizza for dinner for the third night in a row, your place is only a short walk away. See ya!
Con: It can lead to stalkerish behavior
Where’s he going? Who’s that girl he’s with? Didn’t he say he had to study? If you’re on the suspicious or possessive side, it can be tempting to resort to stalkerish behavior, and most relationship experts will tell you that any kind of covert surveillance on your main squeeze is not exactly healthy for the relationship.
Unfortunately, holidays come and go faster than we can imagine, and before we know it we’re back at home, our jobs and commitments lurking around the corner. To beat the holiday blues I usually go for a sexy, summer read, preferably set on a beach somewhere in the world.
I’ve recently read and loved quite a few holiday books, so here are some of them:
- The God of Jazz: Fugue, Concord by Varian Krylov.
I adore Varian’s books. She’s such an incredibly talented writer! If you haven’t read anything by her yet, you’re missing out. The God of Jazz is not strictly a holiday beach read, but it’s set in Barcelona and there’re plenty of sexy, beachy scenes. Varian currently lives in Barcelona and she’s managed to capture the very essence of the beautiful city. Be careful though – once you read it you’d be tempted to book the first flight to Barcelona.
- Beyond the Sea by Keira Andrews.
Beyond the Sea is set on a desert island. The two MCs are the only survivors of a plane crash and are trying to stay alive with the limited supplies and survival abilities they have, hoping rescue is on the way. I loved this book and I can safely say I’m better equipped to survive on a desert island now that I’ve read it.
And I love those bad boys. But I wanted something a little softer, and a little more delicate. Bad Boys not all in caps.
So that’s the type of bad boy I write. I write the bad boys that aren’t bad to the bone. I write redeemable bad boys who are doing bad things for the right reason. Bad boys that are inspired by beauty and passion and love as much as they’re shaped by the darkness that surrounds them.
I wanted to write about stories of finding light, even in the middle of a moonless night. Stories of romance that perseveres, and love that changes the hero and the heroine for the better.
I fully believe in the power of love and romance, and I love seeing characters who hit rock bottom, and who desperately need that softness in their life.
My mother had an old Kenmore sewing machine that was horrible to sew on, so when I took home economics in junior high they had Singer sewing machines. Oh my gosh, what a world of difference they made! I had to sew two dresses, and had to wear one for a fashion show. I think I was the only one in class who didn’t have a mother who sewed, which meant I was strictly on my own, while the other girls took their projects home so their mothers could help them with them. Not me!
Years later, my folks had received tons of needlepoint I’d sent them. Quilts, hand-hooked rugs, and other embroidery projects. After a while, no one had any room for them! I began making cloth dolls and rabbits to sell at crafts fairs. My parents had started to create fancy doll carriages and other furniture for doll collectors, and they asked me to make an old-time teddy bear to display on their furniture.
That was the beginning. My first bears sold at the Dallas Trade Center to shops all over. They’ve been featured in magazines including: Texas Monthly, Texas Co-op Monthly, Teddy Bear Review Magazine, The MacNeill Galley, and newspapers. They were included in The International Teddy Bear Connection.
To keep them safe
Duel McClain has lost everything he’s ever loved: his wife, his son, his sense of self. But when a strange twist of fate—and a poker game he’ll never forget—leaves an innocent little girl in his care, Duel vows to defend his new family to his very last breath. If only he knew a single thing about taking care of babies…
Just as Duel swears his life can’t get any more complicated, a beautiful woman stumbles into the light of his campfire, desperate for help. Jessie Foltry is hungry, tired, and running for her life. She agrees to help Duel care for the child in exchange for his protection, even as she fights to guard her broken heart. But Duel will do whatever it takes to make Jessie see that the Texas plains have more than one kind of knight, and perhaps their salvation is closer than either of them could have dreamed…
Panic set in when Duel returned to camp less than an hour later to find the bedroll empty. Blood pounded in his temples as he scanned the area for Jessie and Marley Rose. Then he heard the faint sound of a child’s happy gurgle.
He suddenly developed four left feet in his haste to find the missing pair. A mesquite branch grabbed his shirt, tearing a long gash. It didn’t matter. Nothing did except finding his baby girl and making sure nothing happened to her. Only one thing stopped him dead in his tracks-—the metallic click of a cocked hammer and a cold warning.
“Stop where you are or you’re a dead man, mister.”
I’m pretty particular when it comes to my ships. Just because a couple makes eyes at each other and shares a few scorchers doesn’t make them OTP. I’m going to share a few must-haves for my fave fictional couples today. What are yours? Let us know in the comment section!
- Give me all the complicated characters – Have a character with their life together? Perfect job? Awesome relationship? Loyal BFF? Not my jam. I want issues. I want complicated. The more the better because, in my eyes, it makes them interesting. It makes them real. Give me flaws and I’ll give you every last bit of my attention. Complicated characters in a complicated relationship = WIN.
- Let me see them fight – If there’s no fire, I’m not getting on that ship. And I’m not talking smooches. Their physical attraction could set the universe on fire and I wouldn’t care. In order for a couple to get my attention, they have to have clash—at least a little. Give me snarky banter and passionate disagreements. Then, of course, give me those cosmos blazing smooches 😉
- Give that road some bumps – It might sound mean, but I don’t want to see them get their happily ever after. At least not right away. I want to see them struggle for it. The more obstacles they have to overcome, the more hoops to jump through, the better. The harder it is for them to be together, the harder I’m going to fall. Uh, hello Olicity anyone?
- Set that ship on fire – Obviously in addition to all of the above, in order for a ship to sail in my eyes, it’s gotta have heat you can feel. If the characters are telling us that they’re in love but it’s not coming across in their interaction, then it’sgonna fall flat. Give me intense looks and oodles of tension. Give me dialog that sets the air on fire. This is the icing on the ship-cake (Shh—that’s a thing!) so it’s gotta be sweet. 😉
JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.
About Omega (The Infinity Division, #2):
One mistake can change everything. Ashlyn Calvert finds that out the hard way when a bad decision leads to the death of her best friend, Noah Anderson.
Only Noah isn’t really gone. Thanks to his parents’ company, the Infinity Division, there is a version of him skipping from one dimension to another, set on revenge for the death of his sister, Kori. When a chance encounter brings him face-to-face with Ash, he’s determined to resist the magnetic pull he’s felt for her time and time again. Because falling for Ash puts his mission—and their lives—in danger.
And she’s aiming to break them all
Rodeo producer Cole Jacobs has his hands full running Jacobs Livestock. He can’t afford to lose a single cowboy, so when Cousin Violet offers to send along a more-than-capable replacement, he’s got no choice but to accept. He expects a grizzled Texas good ol’ boy.
He gets Shawnee Pickett.
Wild and outspoken, ruthlessly self-reliant, Shawnee’s not looking for anything but a good time. It doesn’t matter how quickly the tall, dark and intense cowboy gets under her skin—Cole deserves something real, and Shawnee can’t promise him forever. Life’s got a way of kicking her in the teeth, and she’s got her bags packed before tragedy can knock her down. Too bad Cole’s not the type to give up when the going gets tough…
The parking Nazis attacked before Shawnee turned off her pickup. Red-faced and dripping sweat under their neon-yellow plastic vests, they waved their orange-painted sticks so frantically you’d think she’d landed a 747 in the contestant lot.
She rolled down her window. “Is there a problem?”
“You can’t park here,” the taller one declared, jamming his thumbs in his pockets and thrusting his beer gut at her.
Shawnee ran a deliberate glance around the clipped grass field, dotted with live oaks like the one she’d parked beneath. Four hours before the first rodeo performance, only seven other rigs had arrived, all lined up with military precision along the back fence. “Looks like there’s plenty of room.”
“There is now.” Beer Gut attempted to radiate pompous authority in a dime-store cowboy hat. “But it’ll get crowded once the rest of the contestants arrive. We have to keep it organized so no one gets blocked in.”
Because of my viewing/reading choices, it bleeds over into my writing. Even though I write romantic suspense, I add as much humor into my novels as I possibly can. And then I crank it up another notch.
I tossed a bunch of humor into my newest release, IN WALKED TROUBLE. The plot tackles a serious topic: drugs and gangs in schools, but I think I’ve managed to lighten the tone a bunch with flashes of comedy throughout.
Suspense and humor go really well together. Humor is the best way to break up the action and show the readers a glimpse of who the character really is. When your life is on the line and the proverbial shit hits the fan, how are you going to react? Well, the characters below didn’t wet their pants like I might have done if faced with their same situation. Instead, they handled it with grace and a ton of humor.
Peach Morales (Lost in Deception). Seducing a stubborn man isn’t hard but it does require technique. I found fishing works 8 out of 10 times. First, you need to know your man enough to pick the right bait. For mine, the classic little black dress and 3” heels is a sure thing. Next, dangle the bait just out of reach and every time he lunges forward, you pull it away. Not literally (where’s the fun in that), but metaphorically. Use what you have to keep him on the edge between hungry and aroused. Now a tame man will quickly give up but a stubborn man will keep coming and coming and (if you are really lucky) coming.
Carolina Walker (Lost in Shadows). Hey y’all. I don’t have much experience with men in general but my man definitely qualifies as stubborn. He had this great big hole in his heart and didn’t even know it. Stubborn men really do need to be handled with kid gloves. Oh, they think they’re all rough and tough but that’s nothing but a façade. Find the man beneath that thick skin and love him for who he is. The rest will fall into place. Good luck.