Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bringing the Heat

Bringing the Heat

During a recent discussion with my writer’s group, someone asked me what methods you use to choose the genre. I pointed out that sometimes the author doesn’t choose, the genre chooses him. Confusion was evident, so I gave this explanation.

I write mysteries. I never started out to write romance, but if I could work a little of it into the story as a subplot or minor diversion, that was a bonus. Then I wrote “Devious” the first book in the Jamie Richmond series. A friend read it and recommended Secret Cravings, a publisher she had worked with. I argued that it wasn’t a romance novel, it was a mystery. She argued that it was both. So on a chance, I submitted a query. A request for the manuscript followed. To my surprise, they accepted the book.  And they asked if I had plans for another story with the main characters. I could have left Jamie and Malone at this point, but felt there was more to their tale to tell. So I wrote “Vanishing Act” and sent that along for consideration. Secret Cravings grabbed that one as well.

While I continued to work on other stories, Jamie and her antics kept coming to mind. So I decided to take a shot at a third novel. “Fleeing Beauty” was the result and it brought a couple more characters to life and added more of Jamie’s backstory. I added a few more twists and turns and expanded on her relationship with Malone, which is still a work in progress. That story was released in October.

As I said, I never started out to write romance stories. And what happened along the way must have been the result of my subconscious mind. Because I never planned to get so heavy with the romantic activity.  So I’m going to blame this on Joanna. She’s a great friend who for reasons that escape me enjoys reading the early drafts of my work. On occasion she’s commented “I want to see more action in the bedroom” and “they’re crazy! They do it every day!” which seems to be what she’s hoping for. And that’s where I end up bringing the heat.

The publisher takes the story and determines what they refer to as the “heat level”.  I was unaware of this at the time I wrote any of these stories.  The rankings are right there on the website, along with an explanation.  For example, 2 flames includes some adult language, 3 flames is erotic with sensual and mild sex scenes and 4 flames is explicit with more adult language. There’s also a level 5, which is more hard core.

What surprised me (and it’s because of Joanna) is that the Jamie stories keep going up a notch. “Devious” is a level 2, “Vanishing Act” is a level 3 and “Fleeing Beauty” is a level 4. If I write a fourth book in the series and continue the trend, it will need a flame retardant cover!

But I’ll let you decide.  Here’s glimpse of the interaction between Jamie and Malone from “Devious”.  Next time, I’ll share a bit from “Vanishing Act”.

The first time on the sofa was wild. There was no chance for foreplay. We both wanted it too much for that. Clothes were flung so far that I didn't find my red bra until two days later.  It must have bounced off the wall and slid behind the planter. After the initial rush, Malone introduced me to the romantic aspects of each room in my apartment.  At one point after a warm bath together, I was on my stomach in bed and he proceeded to drive me crazy by slowly making patterns down my spine with one solitary fingertip. 

Each time after the first started out slow and tender. A kiss here, fingers stroking there. Malone was toying with me, bringing me to the edge of excitement now, his lips following his finger.  My whole body felt alive, energized with the reactions to his touch.

He kissed his way up my body, taking his time. A nuzzle here, another tantalizing kiss there.  My skin was singing. My face was flushed, probably as red as my hair.  At about the time I could actually feel my body starting to recover, he zeroed in on my breasts.

Now I can’t say this is true for all women. I can only speak for me. Maybe it’s because of the infrequency of romantic interludes. Or maybe it’s my age. Or maybe the moon was rising.
My breasts are small. I hinted at that before. There are fourteen-year old girls out there with bigger breasts than mine. To clarify the situation, all my bras are padded and yes, the cup size is A. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it’s what I’ve got and I’d never consider surgery to pump them up.  All I know is that when Malone starting stroking and kissing my breasts, it’s like there was a direct connection down below. I was immediately wet with anticipation yet again.

“What am I going to do with you,” I whispered my voice little more than a feathery gasp.

 “Whatever you would like, I’m open to suggestions.”

Monday, April 20, 2015

Now on Sale!

I'm a mystery nut. While other genres may occasionally distract me, it's mysteries that get my attention right off the bat.  There are some authors, like John Sandford, Lee Child and John Lescroart who spin a great tale and keep you guessing. I have rein myself in once in awhile or I'll race through the stories and miss a clue.

The local library has a big sale every other month where you can pick up used books for very reasonable prices. I tried to hit this each time, because it's a great opportunity to discover a new author. I'll check out the back cover, read a page or two of the story and see if they can hook me. That's how I've found some great authors like James Rollins and Carl Hiaasen. The former writes those fantastic Sigma Force novels and the latter...well, Hiaasen mixes in some extremely wacky characters with the Florida wildlife and the forces of Mother Nature. I stumbled upon his latest work, "Bad Monkey" and really enjoyed it.  Very entertaining.

Sometimes, I'll stumble upon an older book by Sandford or Child. These older works are just as good as the current ones. So that got me thinking about a couple of my own older novels.
"Fade Away" is part mystery, part thriller. It's about a recently retired soldier who gets injured in an industrial accident at a chemical plant. Although he recovers from his injuries, he ends up with some unusual side effects. A cross country chase ensues as he tries to track down the people responsible in the hopes of finding an antidote.

"Desperate Measures" is a mystery about a struggling author. He's a ghost writer for a young adult series who dreams of having his own books published. Following the latest rejection, he decides to write a book no one can put down. So he comes up with a "How to Kill Your Wife and Get Away With It" story.  Three days after he submits it to his publisher, his wife disappears.  Would a guy really go that far to get his book published?

Both "Fade Away" and "Desperate Measures" are available on Amazon for only $ 2.99.  Check out the links below.

Happy reading.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Author Interview and Coincidences

I'm not a big fan of coincidences. When I'm writing, I might sneak one in occasionally if it fits the moment and my mood. But there's something about a coincidence that often makes me sit back and ask 'Really?' or some other words to that effect.

In my youth many decades ago, I got hooked on the mysteries of John D. MacDonald, particularly his Travis McGee series. These began in the late 60s and ran until the mid 80s. There were over 20 books in all.  McGee was not your typical cop or detective. He worked only when he needed to make some cash or to help out a good friend. McGee enjoyed life in Florida, the great outdoors, the company of beautiful women and a few close friends. He was a 'salvage consultant', so if you were conned out of your fortune and McGee helped you recover it, you split the proceeds right down the middle.  Once the caper was over, he'd resume his early retirement way of life.  I enjoyed his adventures and this character so much that I named my first son Travis.

This morning in my email, Travis sent me a link to a newspaper article, about the efforts to make a movie out of  "The Deep Blue Good-by" the first McGee book, which will star Christian Bale. That's not exactly how I always pictured McGee, but that's Hollywood.  The photo is taken from one of the book covers.

Now, you're probably asking 'what does this have to do with coincidence?'  I knew you would.  Well, turns out this morning my interview on Elise Abram's blog went live. I'd responded to her questions a while ago and forgot about my responses to early influences, which includes MacDonald.  Coincidence?  Or a psychic connection.   Do you believe in coincidences?

You can see the interview on the link below.

Image result for travis mcgee covers