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So I’m 75% done with Always #2 first draft. The plot stalled a bit when I hit 50-75% mark because I was deciding what to reveal, what clue to add. There maybe some truth that exercise stimulates the neurons in the brain because my best plot twists crystallize when I’m running. It’s a win-win.
For the first book, “It’s Always Been You”, I finally got it on Barnes and Noble and Apple iBooks store.
Barnes and Noble
Where in the world do I come up with ideas?
It all starts with the news. I remember around two years ago a woman shot an intruder five times and he still managed to run away.
It turns out some stories like this are more common than you think because usually a perp is amped up on drugs and pumped so full of adrenalin, they’re unnaturally strong and don’t feel pain.
Anyway, this reminded me of the movie WANTED with Angelina Jolie. This movie was about assassins who could perform superhuman tasks because they could produce excessive adrenalin when stressed.
So I thought what if the adrenalin surge was drug induced instead of natural. Surely it’s not far-fetched with the CIA given its secretive programs. 😉
There’s also the case of military amphetamine. This drug is to battle fatigue, it is called the “go-pill” and is used to keep pilots alert and sharp-eyed.The side-effect is the inability to sleep so they’re issued a “no-go pill” afterward to help them sleep. Yes, it’s kind of whacked, which is why the practice is under fire because of an accident. But that’s a whole other story.
This was a stroke of luck. I’ve always had a fondness for Berserker legends. William Wallace (Braveheart) was a rumored berserker. I really wanted to use the name but wanted to make sure it was appropriate at least. This was what I found out.
Berserkers were Norse warriors who are primarily reported in the Old Norse literature to have fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury, a characteristic which later gave rise to the English word berserk. Berserkers are attested to in numerous Old Norse sources. Most historians believe that berserkers worked themselves into a rage before battle, but some think that they might have consumed drugged foods.
Some scholars believe certain examples of berserker rage to have been induced voluntarily by the consumption of drugs such as the hallucinogenic mushroom Amanita muscaria or massive amounts of alcohol.
I just love it when things fall into place. 😉
Eight chapters into Always #2. I still suck at writing everyday life and I don’t think I’ll ever get it. Those who’ve read my books since Fire and Ice know my love for multiple threats, multiple villains kind of deal. Blame my love on the series “24.” By the way, did you all watch “24:Live Another Day?” Do you think we’ve seen the last of Jack? I hope not.
Back to the book . . . with less explosions and terrorist encounters, I thought I could make this book an easy read. It’s turning out to be an espionage kind of thriller, and I’ve written myself into a twisty knot that in the past few days had me frustrated to resolve. But from experience, it’s in the end game that will unfurl this mess I’ve created. And I think I’ve sighted it and it’s what makes writing so rewarding and exciting. 😉
The recent headlines in the news are also making my fiction read more real. It’s scary.
Oh, here’s another one of my favorite badasses.
Just finished 5 chapters of rough draft of Always book#2. Gabe is a hot mess. 🙂
Now that “It’s Always Been You” has been out for a few weeks, I’ve been getting questions about Caitlin and her past. I’ll spoiler it below. If you have not read the book, you probably shouldn’t read past the spoiler lines.
It’s been brought up in passing in the book. Now that I’ve seen some questions, in hindsight, I probably should have written more to explain this part.
In the rolling car meeting between Porter and Travis, Porter said specter agents are recruited at a young age from foster homes. This is so they have no link to a past, no identity at all. They’re “ghosts.” I guess with this in mind, I’ve projected on Caitlin into acceptance that she was raised in the CIA to have no identity, no past, no real friends or family except fellow specter agents who also, do not, technically exist.
Her life with Travis was the only one that was real, yet was still a lie in itself. This was something Travis had to accept and is the main message of the book. Travis LOVED Caitlin unconditionally, he will ALWAYS love her no matter what.
Caitlin can’t dig into her past because everything to do with her past is classified even Porter said he couldn’t divulge much about the specter agent program. With no memory, what can she really do? Caitlin was pragmatic enough to move forward, get everyone who wants a piece of her (except Travis once she began to trust him) off her back and move forward with the man she loves.
Thanks to everyone who has read my new book “It’s Always Been You.”
Thank you for the awesome reviews! Many times I almost wanted to leave a comment on the review because I was so thrilled how the review captured exactly how I wanted the book to be perceived. But as a reader myself, I feel a review is really for another reader to make an informed decision whether to read a book or not. So I controlled my twitchy fingers and decided to thank everyone in this blog post. 🙂
I know the book didn’t work for some; I know my writing style is not for everyone.
I’m so excited to start working on Gabe and Bee’s story. The plot is developing nicely and there’s nothing more exciting than to see connections snap into place.
I’m finding that Travis and Caitlin’s characters were easier to write than our next couple. I’m not sure if you all noticed in book #1, but Bee doesn’t fit the “self-sacrificing, goody-two-shoes” mold. I discussed this with my friend about how Bee’s character may not be entirely likable. She flat out told me: “You don’t have to make her likable.”
Which means I’m going to have fun with her character. It’s always a challenge to make the character stay true to who she is but still have that one redeemable quality that firmly puts her on the heroine column.
This reminds me of the time when I wrote my alpha of all alphas—Viktor Baran—his book is Smoke and Shadows. He is cold, calculating, ruthless. How the hell can I make that man say “I love you.” It took some work and some friends here on Goodreads saw my status updates when I was drowning myself in a bottle of wine because Viktor was being such a pain in the ass to write. But that man—he’s the guy I’m gonna stick to in a zombie apocalypse. He may be terrifying to contemplate having as a book boyfriend, but he’s such a badass; one reviewer said he has enough badass in him to go around the world twice! 🙂
Okay, back to Bee. I foresee some frustrated status updates here on Goodreads. Gabe, well, for those who’ve read the opening scene let me tell you, I’m cackling like a vindictive witch here. He’s got a lot of groveling to do—the alpha way of course.
My husband and I were laughing when my book made #2 on Amazon’s hot new releases for military thrillers. It’s so funny to see this sweet cover among all those testosterone-charged covers.
I’ll put the teaser a couple of spaces down from the blurb for those who do not want to read any spoilers.
Beatrice Porter swore she would never fall in love with a man like her father. For years she watched her mother self-destruct in bitterness, married to someone who only lived for his job. Gabriel Sullivan was such a man—a Navy SEAL, a man who put duty and country above all else. Yet falling in love with him was inevitable. She thought their relationship could work until he’d left her one night with a broken heart and her pride in tatters.
Three years later, he’s back and he wants a second chance.
Having committed atrocities for the greater good, Gabe has nothing left but darkness inside him. The only flicker of light is the memory of Beatrice—a woman embedded so deeply under his skin.
Winning her back won’t be easy for she has erected walls that only the toughest of SEALs can hope to scale.
When Beatrice finds herself at the center of a deadly game, Gabe discovers the eerie similarities of the killer’s MO to a former assassin.
A link to a past, a truth that may cost him the woman he loves, distancing himself may be the only option to save Beatrice, but he is done walking away.
Gabe just needs to convince her this time he is all in, and a future with her is the only redemption worth having.
A clap of thunder jolted Beatrice awake.
Disoriented, she took in her naked body under the cool satin sheets. She smiled like a cat who’d had her fill of cream. Pure feline satisfaction. A night of wild sex with Gabriel Sullivan would do that to you.
She frowned at the empty space beside her. Where is he?
Her brows furrowed deeper when a streak of lightning and the ensuing rumble followed too closely behind it. Damn spring storms. They better not delay their flight to Barbados in the morning.
Beatrice swung her legs to the floor, stood and slipped into a robe. Eyeing the open suitcase laid out on the floor, she remembered the whirlwind development of their relationship in recent weeks. She’d been seeing Gabe on and off for the past four months. It was only in the last three weeks that the dark-haired former Navy SEAL finally staked some sort of claim on her. Well. Really staked a claim. Beatrice was having drinks with a male friend when he rudely butted in and asked to speak to her.
He laid it out. He wanted their relationship to be exclusive.
This four-day trip to Barbados was a way of cementing the definition of said relationship: Gabe and Beatrice were a couple.
Shaking her head at how easily he had changed her rules about dating someone who was currently serving or had served in the military, she went to look for her man.
She descended the stairs of her two-story colonial home and found him in the study, standing by the French windows with the phone to his ear. His voice was low and gruff. He heard her come into the room; lightning illuminated his grim face, a tight mouth.
Something was horribly wrong.
“I need to go,” Gabe spoke into the phone, his whiskey-eyes were black in the darkened room, but she could feel them drinking her in. “I’ll see you in a few.”
“Is everything okay?” Beatrice asked anxiously as he ended the call.
Gabe lowered his gaze. Striding past her, he exited the study, crossed the living room, and mounted the steps leading to their bedroom.
A familiar knot of abandonment tightened her gut, freezing her where Gabe had left her. Taking deep breaths to calm down, she followed him upstairs.
The sight that met her in their room unleashed her worst fears. Gabe was pulling out his stuff from the meticulously-packed suitcase and was shoving them into his black duffel.
“What are you doing?” Beatrice asked hoarsely. “Our flight leaves in six hours. Are we canceling?”
Gabe paused, the muscle tic in his jaw pulsed a few times before he finally looked at her. “I made a mistake.”
Beatrice forced herself to smile, sure she had misheard him. “What do you mean? You don’t like Barbados? We don’t have to go if that’s not your thing.”
“Us, Beatrice.” His tone was calm. “We’re not going to work.”
His statement doused her denial of what was clearly unfolding before her. He was ending it.
“Explain, Gabriel,” Beatrice said coldly. “Three weeks ago, you practically bulldozed me into a committed relationship. And now you’re wimping out? Uh-uh, a simple we’re not going to work IS NOT cutting it.”
Gabe flinched, but didn’t respond. He pulled the zipper on his duffel and tried to get past her. She was having none of that and stood smack in front of him.
“I deserve an answer.”
Gabe’s eyes blazed at her. Wait, he was angry at her?
“You want the truth?” Gabe rasped. “I have a job to do.”
“You’re done with the SEALs or did you lie?”
“No. This is something else.”
“You’re working for Dad,” Beatrice whispered. The disapproval of her father regarding their relationship dawned on her.
He looked straight into her eyes. “No. Someone else. I need to leave.”
“No. That’s not a frigging explanation,” Beatrice fired back.
“You deserve more—”
“Don’t feed me that bullshit!” Beatrice screamed. Tremors shook her body. This wasn’t happening. Why was this happening?
“Okay, you want the fucking truth?” Gabe replied tersely. “I’ll always care for my job more than I’ll ever care about you. I realize that now.”
She inhaled sharply at his blunt if not cruel declaration. Heat burned behind her eyes. She wasn’t going to cry. Oh no, she wasn’t. She wasn’t becoming her mother.
A tear slid down her cheek.
Gabriel cursed. “You asked for the fucking truth. You got it.”
He made to move past her again, but she couldn’t let him go.
Against her better judgment, she raised a palm against his chest.
“Jesus, Bee,” Gabe growled. “You’re an Admiral’s daughter. Have some fucking pride. Don’t beg a man to stay if he doesn’t want you.”
The final stake was driven into her heart. She dropped her hand and swallowed hard. She stepped aside. Gabriel didn’t even hesitate and walked briskly away from her.
And yet what hope was left inside her made her walk to the window. The rain had slowed to a trickle, and there were still rumblings of thunder in the distance. The scene outside was pretty much what she felt inside—pure desolation. She watched the headlights of Gabe’s car flash as he bleeped the locks. Seconds later, his tall silhouette emerged from the sidewalk fronting her house.
Look up, look up. Don’t leave, Gabe.
He never looked up.