Sunday, March 22, 2015

Crafting a Romantic Suspense Series: Omega: CoRD Book 1

I was able to announce last week that I signed a new 6-book contract with Harlequin Intrigue.

For those not overly familiar with Harlequin Intrigue, they release six romantic suspense books every month, of the shorter kind (about 210-225 pages). They're called category romances.  You can find them in bookstores like B&N and Books-A-Million, as well as other shops such Walmart, Target, and drug stores.

Writing for Harlequin is great, a lot of my author-heroes started with them, including Linda Howard, Elizabeth Lowell, and Nora Roberts. Because they publish so many books each month, it allows for many newbie romance authors (like me!) to get their start. But the books are only around on shelves for a month. After that they have to be ordered online.

My first book (PRIMAL INSTINCT) was published by Intrigue in April 2014. I then signed a 4-book contract with them for the Omega Sector (Covert Undercover) Series. Those books released in 2015.
 The new series I'm writing is a spin-off of the Omega Sector Series, called Omega Sector: Critical Response Division, or Omega: CoRD. CoRD is not a covert section of Omega (unlike the original Omega Sector books); everyone involved works out in the open. The six books are based on six different occupations within CoRD, and that is what is each book is tentatively titled right now.

Every couple of weeks I'll be talking about details for one of the books.

Release date: January or February 2016
Derek was raised on a horse ranch in Wyoming, before spending time in the Army Special Forces, including tours in Afghanistan. He's a warrior at heart, and keeps to himself. His past is a dark place, and the thought of tainting sweet Molly Humphries with that darkness haunts him.

Molly is a forensic pathologist and head of the lab at Omega: CoRD. She is brilliant, focused and logical, except for when it comes to Derek Waterman.

PLOT (back cover blurb):

I'm HUGELY excited about this book (I've already finished writing it, since it's due to my editor on April 1). Derek and Molly's story came very easily for me and watching them fall in love --despite some pretty hefty danger thrown their way-- was exciting and touching.

A lot of my inspiration for this story stemmed out of this video:

A brainy scientist in love with an alpha hero. She thinks she's irrelevant to him, but couldn't be more wrong. It was the perfect premise for a romantic suspense story. (And of course, if you haven't watched BBC's Sherlock, do so immediately.)

My love for Benedict Cumberbatch is well known, but he wasn't the muse for Derek in the book (I needed someone with guns and fighting skills), but Lousie Brealey's Molly definitely was the muse for my Molly.

And the rest of my inspiration? This picture, guys. This. Picture.:
I love everything about this picture so much. It captures a perfect moment I envisioned between Molly and Derek.

We've got some exciting settings too, in this book. Omega: CoRD headquarters found its home in Colorado Springs, CO and the story makes it way down to the thick rainforests of Columbia. Lots of action happening in both locations: explosions, kidnappings, gunfights in the jungle, fires, breaking and entering... There's definitely enough excitement to move the story along.
 There's an entire Pinterest  board dedicated to the book here. Hope you'll check it out. Looking at it makes me wish the book was coming out before early 2016!  But I think it's going to be a great start to the series. 2016 can't get here fast enough.

More details about Book 2 in the series (THE FORENSIC ARTIST) soon!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Stranger in a Deutschland - The Plight of the Garbage Disposal

I realize an official update has been a long time in coming... that is because of some SUPER- AWESOME good news in my writing career that I will be announcing soon. (Just suffice to say I've had other places to be spending my writing hours).

But hey, we're still in Germany!!

We have now officially been here two full months. Let's just cut to the chase: I miss ChickFilA and Target and all my friends and family (probably in that order, sorry Mom).

But what I miss most of all?
My garbage disposal

Seriously, there are no garbage disposals here. You would be amazed at how that has changed my whole life, especially since I'm dealing with a family a six and the trash pick up is once every two weeks.

I won't go into too much detail, but it has changed what I cook, how I cook it, the portion sizes I serve and a number of other things.

I don't know exactly how garbage disposals work, but I'm pretty sure there is magic and fairies involved because in the United States you put your unused food items in your sink you run some water, turn on a light switch and Voila! the food disappears. Dispose-All

Yeah, that doesn't happen here. 

Now if my kids don't quite finish everything on their plates then it has to be raked into the garbage can. Which is fine until the next day when the little pieces of food from last night start to smell. Which is fine because we can take it outside.  EXCEPT outside we get one small Oscar-the-Grouch size trash can to hold everything for two weeks. That's usually full by day 3.

So... lots of Lysol. And smaller serving sizes so everyone finishes everything on our plates.

But honestly, despite the what's-that-smell factor in our house, things have really taken a turn for the better. 

The Broken Foot
Kids really seem to be adjusting, fitting in. Nobody is crawling into my bed crying. Nobody is asking if we can move back "home". Everyone has made friends; sports and activities have started, things seem to be working their way back to normal.

We have had some problems... Captain Awesome tripped on some stairs (at an indoor amusement park) and broke his foot. True story. They thought he would need surgery but fortunately didn't. He's been wearing a boot for a month, but should hopefully be out of that soon.

I almost flooded our entire apartment because I forgot to dump the water reservoir of the clothes dryer.  Evidently the same fairies who don't magically take the food away when we put it down the sink don't take the water away from the dryer and it has to be emptied manually after every couple of laundry loads.

PS -- I knew this, but forgot. Hand me the mop, I won't forget again.

Oh yeah, and there was the time I gave my kids wine coolers thinking it was lemonade, since evidently alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are just randomly interspersed on the German grocery shelves. Probably would've been a better day for everyone if I'd have just let them drink it. 

But despite all any of this, the good has by far out-weighed the bad. 

For example, went to Paris for a three-day weekend:
Hey, Kiddo #4 kind of looks like Mona Lisa
Notre Dame and Venus de Milo at the Louvre
In case anyone wonders: Kid #3 has worn shorts EVERYDAY since we've been here, no matter what weather
It was a great trip full of laughter, EuroDisney and lots of eating. My boys even wore "European swimming trunks" in order to be able to use the indoor water park at our hotel. But they wouldn't let me take pictures. :)  They went ice-skating on the Eiffel Tower.

These are things I know they will remember for the rest of their lives. It was a wonderful trip, exactly what our family needed.

We bought a second car to use while we're here! 
Um yeah, that is not it, much to Capt Awesome's dismay.

We bought a Mazda 3 hatchback.  But more than just getting a car, it was an important moment for us because we managed to buy it from a German man who spoke about as much English as we did German. There was a lot of Google Translate use going on. It was a big stretch out of our comfort zone, but because the Euro is struggling so much (thanks, Greece!) we were able to get a much better deal than if we tried to buy from an American and pay dollars for a vehicle.

So far the car has been wonderful. And super-great on gas.

In February, Capt Awesome and I won free concert tickets for my birthday and met Lionel Richie! 
Yeah, we partied All Night Long.

But most importantly, we FOUND A PERMANENT HOUSE! 

It was a matter of being at the right place at the right time (or, God looking out for us). This house was listed as available right when I happened to be looking at the housing site and I scheduled us the first appointment. Within a couple of hours there were twenty people on the waiting list for it.

It has five bedrooms, two bonus rooms (one is GIANT that the boys have decided to share) and, wait for it... 3 full bathrooms.

By the time we got to the third bathroom when we were touring it, I was in tears I was so happy. It was far and beyond, bigger and better and more open than anything we'd seen. Plus, it's near the base (so there are a ton of kids around), little shops and cafes, and the train.

Most importantly, it's in the town of Boeblingen... pronounced Boob-lingen, so my boys think that is hi-larious. We move in on March 23.

So all-in-all, we're settling in well. I definitely post more updates on Facebook, so hang with me there if you're looking for more up-to-date stuff (friend me here or like my author page here). But I'll be sure to update here when we're in the new house and after our trip to Amsterdam in April to see the tulips. :) #adventuresinGermany