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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Where Do My Heroines Come From?



I’ve talked about the way I choose my heroes and who my first real life heroes were in an earlier blog. I’ve never shared how I come up with my heroines…cue dramatic music…until now. Grab a glass of wine and sit a spell.





In The Eyes Die Last, book one of my Kennedy O’Brien series, my heroine is a homicide detective. She deals in death every day and is frequently chasing after killers who lack any morals. It’s her job.  In order to do her job, I had to give Kennedy a strong and independent persona. She has no fear or least hides it well…except when she rides in an elevator.
Kennedy has to be able to take down criminals, armed or not. A cop needs to have the strength to slap a pair of hand cuffs on her perpetrator. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. It’s part of the job. A duty she does well.
She has to have a brain. I prefer for Kennedy to actually unravel the mystery through clues and not stumble across the solutions. I couldn’t have a weak woman with no apparent gift for solving puzzles become Las Vegas Metro’s most successful homicide detectives of all time. Kennedy does have her oops moments. She has flaws. She breaks down occasionally. And God forbid, she needs help sometimes. But our heroine wouldn’t be human if she didn’t have a few issues or screw up every now and then. What reader wants a perfect female character shoved down her throat for three hundred pages? And how could the hero’s love help the heroine grow into a better person if she’s already picture-perfect?
Next, I threw in a traumatic past, her Irish cop roots, and a few of her quirks, and bingo, Homicide Detective, Kennedy Marie O’Brien was born and ready to take down the criminals of Las Vegas and tangle with a certain hunky businessman.

In Resolutions, my heroine is a DEA agent working with the International Drug Enforcement Agency (IDEA). In the book, she battles drug lords and terrorists in Colombia. She’s captured, tortured, and nearly dies. No wimpy, girly-girl type woman is going to pull off surviving the awful things that happens to my heroine in this storyline.
I made DEA agent, Eve Taylor, a kick-ass operative, and computer know-it-all. In order to make her crazy desire for action and danger believable, I gave her a past that included being raised by four alpha brothers after her parents died. She hated the control they held over her life. As soon as she graduated from college she moved away, joined the DEA, and started her new life. She’s enjoys her newfound independence until she falls in love with a man who turns out to be another alpha male. Enter Resolutions operative, Mac McKenna. He gives her an ultimatum, the job or him. She takes the job, gives him the boot, and is off to prove her bad-assness. Of course she’s captured and who else would show up to rescue her, but Mr. Alpha Male Boyfriend. Eve finds she needs another type of strength now. She has to resist her desire for Mac.
I had to throw in a bit of softness and vulnerability to Eve’s personality. She can’t be all hard nails and hammers. The key was to not make her too soft. After all, even when she’s little Miss Romance, she has to stay on her game.

In real life my heroines are not just cops or DEA agents. I’d say my sister who has battled breast cancer and kicked its ass, is one of my heroines. My mother who worked full time and still managed to be a great wife and mother is another.  She too battled breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. She didn’t win either battle, but she gave them one hell of good fight. 


Other true life heroines? I see women serving in the armed forces. There really are female cops, DEA and FBI agents fighting for our freedom every day. There are single moms out there who are doing a great job raising great kids, and making it look easy. We know better. Raising children is a tough job when two parents are involved. Women who walk away from abusive relationships are another group of women I admire. What strength it must take to leave.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of strong, female role models I can base  my heroines on. I love writing a strong woman protagonist. Best of all, I love to give them a happily ever after.

     ****If you have a strong female heroine you admire in real life, tell us about her in the comments below for a chance to win an e-book copy of The Eyes Die Last or Resolutions.****

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spotlight Author; Alexa Bourne

Please welcome fellow Decadent author, Alexa Bourne today.



BROKEN ROAD
By Alexa Bourne

Bio:
Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romance writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance and is thrilled to have the chance to share her stories with readers everywhere.
When she’s not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV, and thinking about exercising. Okay, she also spends way too much time interacting with readers and writers on social media sites. But don’t tell her editors! Find out more about her and her books on her website, www.alexabourne.com.

Blurb:
Catriona MacGregor leads a quiet life, working in the local school of Glenhalish, Scotland and spending time with close friends. She’s content to sit back and be an observer of the life around her. But all that changes when a recently deceased family friend leaves her a flat in Edinburgh and challenges her to spread her wings.

With his work as an international bodyguard, Ian MacKenzie has no time for a serious, committed relationship. Yet when he comes home to Glenhalish for a visit and to clear his mind, he is drawn to down-to-earth Cat. The more time they spend together, the more he wants her.
Though they agreed to a friends-with-benefits arrangement, Cat soon discovers exactly what she wants for herself and it involves all of Ian—body, mind and soul. Their connection ambushes Ian. He’s not ready for the intensity they share.


Can this Highland lassie steer her lad back onto the right path to a love that will last a lifetime?


Excerpt:
Cat sat at one of the foldaway tables and sipped her wine. A pleasant breeze rolled off the loch and made the candlelight shimmer. So much laughter and chatter whooshed round her, and again her heart hung heavy. Could she give up all she had here for a new life in Edinburgh? Did she have the courage to try? What if Fiona had been wrong in her will and given Cat more credit than she truly deserved?
Ian marched toward her, pulled her glass from her hand, and set it on the table. “Come.” With a firm but gentle grip, he tugged her out of the chair.
Where?”
“I need you to save me.” He whirled her round and pulled her close to his hard-muscled body. She pressed her palms to his chest. The heat under her fingers shot straight into her center. He wrapped his arms round her waist and eased them onto the dance floor in time to the slow rhythm of the music.
Cat laughed. “You, a big, braw lad, need me, a wee lass, to rescue you? I find that hard to believe.” But, she was ever so grateful for whatever sent him to her. They’d always been friendly with each other, sort of like her relationship with Ewan, except…not.
He spun her round so she could see the other side of the dance floor. “See those lasses flirting with the MacDougall brothers?”
Women with tight clothes and high-pitched laughs dangled over the makeshift bar. “What about them?”
“Two of them are trying to lay claim to me.”
“And?”
“I don’t do romantic relationships.”
“What?” Handsome, smart, strong. He had it all.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spotlight Author; Alexa Bourne!

Please welcome Alexa Bourne, fellow Decadent author, to my blog today!



Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romance writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance and is thrilled to have the chance to share her stories with readers everywhere.
When she’s not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV, and thinking about exercising. Okay, she also spends way too much time interacting with readers and writers on social media sites. But don’t tell her editors! Find out more about her and her books on her website, www.alexabourne.com.





Thank you to Teri for inviting me for a visit! Today I’m bringing with me some fascinating details of the heroine in my book, LIAR, LIAR. Here’s the blurb:
Unable to protect her mother from her father as a child, Devin McQueen has made it her mission as an adult to protect as many abused women and children as she can. The rare moments she’s not consumed with work as a victims’ advocate, she limits her involvements to safe, predictable men….until she meets bounty hunter Grady Cooper. He is big, bold, brash, and has no problem speaking his mind.
               Growing up in a broken home, Grady realized early on that good deeds had a price.  To survive, he learned to weigh every decision by what he could gain. Unfortunately, the successful, solitary life he’s worked so hard to create spins out of control when demons from his past shake his confidence. His boss has given him one last chance—bring in Devin’s latest client quickly, and quietly and maybe he’ll still have a job. It didn’t sound unreasonable until he met Devin.
 Suddenly, Grady must make a decision: save his career or follow his heart?

The heroine in my book LIAR, LIAR is a great role model for women… to some degree. She suffered mentally and physically as a child at the hands of her father, but she doesn’t let that keep her down. She’s chosen to overcome the fear and learn to take care of herself. She’s never taken pity from anyone and she never tried to hide her past. Devin and her mom believe the past is what makes you who you are and we decide which way our futures will go.
As Devin grew up and grew stronger, she decided to be the link to a new, safe life many other women need. With the help of some friends, she opened a business called Soul Survivors, which legally assists victims. (Okay, occasionally she has one toe on each side of the line of legality, but she’ll never apologize for that.) In her mind and heart, everyone deserves to feel safe.
In the opening scene of LIAR, LIAR, we (and the hero, Grady) walk into some disturbance in Soul Survivors. Grady thinks he might have to come to her rescue, but Devin quickly proves she can handle trouble herself.
But Devin also has some less than stellar qualities. She has difficulty trusting people, especially men, and needs to be in control. Sometimes she balks at plans if she’s not the one in charge. Wherever she is, she thinks about an exit strategy and scans her surroundings for anything to use as a weapon. She absolutely hates showing any fear or vulnerability. Although she’ll tell people she’s over the past, the only one she’s fooling is herself. So of course, throughout LIAR, LIAR she must again face her own demons and somehow put them to rest. Luckily, she doesn’t have to do it alone. Even if she’s not sure she wants him around, Grady stays by her side.
What about you? Do you believe your past makes you who you are and you shape your own future? I think I’m right there with Devin and her mom. But…can I have a Grady of my very own to help me through the rough times? J

 Today is DAY 3 of my LIAR, LIAR Blog Tour! Come follow me on this path, tweet about the tour and share the details on Facebook. For each comment you make (or tweet or Facebook post) along the way, you’ll move closer to winning one of three great prizes!



Excerpt:
If Grady Cooper had any hope of salvaging his professional reputation, he needed to charm Devin McQueen into giving him what she’d never given any other man.
He tucked his keys into his cargo shorts, stared up at the five-story office building and cursed the humidity.
And his dilemma.
Needing anyone was bad enough. Being forced to rely on a complete stranger to help prove he wasn’t a menace to society was as appealing as the Red Sox using his head for batting practice. If she refused to help him, he’d lose his job for sure.
“That’s not going to happen,” he whispered. He’d do whatever he had to, promise her the world even, to get himself out of this mess and restore his reputation. By the time she realized he had no intention of honoring his pledge, he’d be a free man and he could get back to chasing the bad guys instead of being labeled one.
Whatever it took.
He pushed the glass door open and flew up the stairs two at a time to the third floor. As he walked down the hallway, he glanced at the business names on the doors: law offices, non-profit offices, save the bleeding heart offices. Rooms of people he’d probably chased a bail jumper for at one time or another.
Loud thumps filtered into the hallway from somewhere up ahead.
The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Trade rule number one: Always expect the worst. Still, the noises could have been any number of things: a fallen chair, a muffled voicemail message, boxes of printer paper being dropped. It could have been nothing connected to this woman.
As he got closer to the door with Soul Survivors carved on it, the name of McQueen’s business, the noises got louder. Glass shattered. A series of thumps passed from behind the door. A woman’s voice flew through the walls like a high-pitched war cry.
What if someone wanted Devin McQueen even more than Grady did?
Too bad. He had to put his own needs first.
Adrenaline pushed him. He turned the doorknob.
Damn it. Locked.
He shoved his shoulder against the wooden door. It budged. Barely. Inside, more glass broke. A male voice growled through a string of swear words.
Whoever stood on the other side of this door could not have her.
Grady gritted his teeth and jammed his shoulder against the door again. This time, it flew open and hurled him into the office.
Silence reigned across the room. With his shoulder throbbing, he scanned the scene. One upended chair, one thug cradling his nuts, the other, older one, bleeding from his nose and one wild-eyed woman in the center of it all. The bleeding man had his arms wrapped around the woman’s chest, crushing her…assets under his forearms.
Grady bit back a grin. If this was Devin McQueen, then some of the rumors were true. She could hold her own. But now she didn’t need to. “What’s the matter, guys? Couldn’t find anyone your own size to pick on?”