Archive for July, 2010

Interview with Ian Cabrera and Kieralyn Beckett

I tried to catch up to Ian and Kieralyn for an updated interview before hitting the road to RWA Nationals, but we couldn’t all connect, so I thought I’d post this earlier interview with them. Some of you may have already seen it on my website, but they’re still fun.

Their story releases in print next Tuesday, so we’ll be meeting to come up with something fun up with them then. 🙂

: Thank you guys for meeting with me today.
Kieralyn: It’s always fun to spend time with you.
Ian: Next time, trap me someplace public.
Kieralyn: If you weren’t so against people coming to the house I wouldn’t have had to trick you. You’re too much of a recluse.
Ian I’m not a recluse.
Kieralyn: You are when it comes to company coming over.
Ian: Just keep that in mind when you get it in your head to make friends.

And here I thought Ian was just protective of his lab. LOL I’m not fooled though. He’s no recluse. He wants to be with her. He hasn’t moved more than a foot from her side since I showed up–and not because he sees me as a threat.

Nikki: Ian, the first time that Kieralyn came into your lair–I mean lab– what was going through your mind?
Ian: Are you kidding? I was just pissed that she’d interrupted me. The woman needs to learn her boundaries. (Ian turns and shakes his head and Kieralyn, but he’s smiling.)
Kieralyn: I need to learn boundaries? Do you not remember your inability to recognize boundaries that night we went to the jazz club?
Ian: As if you minded my hands.
Kieralyn: Not the point, and then there were your innuendos.
Ian: Again, as if you minded. Do you recall where we ended up that night?
Kieralyn: Very well, thank you. But Nikki didn’t come to hear about that.

As if I need to hear about it. One look at Kieralyn’s face tells me they ended up in bed.

Nikki: Kieralyn, what were you thinking when you first met Ian?
Ian: She was too busy thinking about how hot I am to think. (Kierlyn slaps Ian and rolls her eyes.)
Kieralyn: You know, that meeting didn’t start out so well. I wasn’t in the most accomodating of moods.
Ian: HA! That’s putting it mildly. You were insulting.
Kieralyn: And you were an arrogant jerk. (Kierlyn turns back to me.) I was certain he wasn’t going to help, and I couldn’t get a read on him. He keeps it very dark in his lab.
Ian: It’s not like I need light.
Kieralyn: True. Besides you look very sexy and sort of eerie when the lights from your control panel hit your eyes and the shadows of your face.
Ian: See, I told you she noticed I’m hot.

And he is very hot and more sexy with his scars and shaved head. He’s rugged and a bit of a scoundrel, but he’s there’s a tender heart lurking. And watching these two together, ha, it’s like watching a dueling couple in a romantic comedy. Kieralyn has a Meg Ryan sort of spunk when Ian gets her wound up. I’d bet he sets out each day looking for ways to rile her up.

Nikki: Ian, I understand that you initially rejected Kieralyn’s plea for help. What made you change your mind?
Ian: Are you kidding? There was a passionate woman in my lab who’d managed to get past Dante–something that no one else has ever managed to do.
Kieralyn: Though he didn’t help graciously.
Ian: You followed me home and then to the club.
Kieralyn: You wouldn’t have been going to the club without my recording. I wouldn’t have followed you if you hadn’t held back what you knew.
Ian: Are we going to get into that again?
Kieralyn: No need. You know you were wrong. (She bumps her shoulder against his playfully.)
Ian: That’s all right.  I still got you.

He linked his fingers with hers on the table and she glows from his attention. She scoots her chair closer to his and leans against his side. I’m not sure they could be a better match.

Nikki: Ian, the NSA spent a ot of money building you that lab. Why? What makes you so good at your job?
Ian: I’m the best.
Kieralyn: And so humble about it. Tell her what makes you the best.
Ian: Fine. You’ve heard of people with photographic memories?
Nikki: Sure.
Ian: Well, I have an audiographic memory. I hear a sound and I remember it. Each place had a distinct soundtrack if you will based on the setup, decorations, and acoustics of the place. And just like each person has a distinct voice pattern they also have a distinct sound to their heartbeat.
Nikki: Are you telling me that you can identify a person by the beat of their heart?
Ian: Yeah, but I can also tell you a little about that person’s personality.
Nikki: Then I have to ask. What does my heartbeat tell you about me? (He cocks his head to the side and concentrates for a minute.)
Ian: You’re a risk taker, and though you’re sometimes impulsive, you think a lot about your actions and what you want. You’re logical and organized. You work from your feelings which likely contributes to your creativity.
Nikki: Okay, that’s eerily accurate.
Ian: I’ve had years of practice.
I can imagine how good that makes you and your job. I think it also explains how you were able to walk through the crowds of Miami without hesitation or slamming into people.
Ian: Kieralyn told you that story.
Kieralyn: And how you circled around on me.

Anyone watching them would know that even in the beginning Kieralyn admired and respected Ian’s ability to do things for himself without help. He’d been lugging in boxes and moving with no hesitation when I arrived. It’s awe-inspiring to watch him. It was inspiring now to watch him sit with his fiance wrapped in his arms with love softening his face and desire darkening those captivating eyes of his.

Nikki: Okay, so Kieralyn, has Ian changed since you met him?
Kieralyn: No. He’s still as cocky as he was that first day.
Ian: And you’re still a pain in the ass.
Kieralyn: But you love me.
Ian: Good thing for you.
Kieralyn: As if you’re doing me a favor. You’re lucky I was willing to take you on.
Ian: Please. Any woman would kill to be with me.
Kieralyn: Which explains why you were still single when I met you. You see what I mean, Nikki, about the cockiness?
Nikki: Um, I think I’ll stay out of this one, but I do have another question for you guys.

Assuming they can focus their mushy I’m-in-love-faces on me. Things are starting to heat up in the kitchen, and it has nothing to do with an argument if you know what I mean.

Ian: Ask fast.
His hand is traveling under the table now and her cheeks are turning pink. Good lord. This man has no problem with people. He just doesn’t want anyone intruding on his time with her.
Nikki: When did you know that you loved each other?
Ian: I started falling the first time I heard her heartbeat, though it took me a little longer to realize it. She’s dedicated. Passionate.
Okay. There was a heavy emphasis on that passionate mention. I’m not sure I want–or need–more details.
Kieralyn: I knew when I woke up in the hospital and saw a bouquet of balloons and cookies instead of flowers. He’d pulled me from a burning building, facing his greatest fear. It’s hard not to love a man willing to do that for you.

Kieralyn trails off and turns to Ian. I think I’ll leave it to the imagination what happens next, because I’m hightailing it out of here. These two create flames.


Marlow Smith Campbell: Learning to Think For Yourself

Today, we have a blog from the heroine of my first ever contracted book, The Hired Hand: Marlow Smith Campbell. Be sure to check out my blog from yesterday where we talk about dares and if you would take one. Free book up for grabs.

So, I guess since Melissa decided to goof off in Maine for a week, she has me writing this blog, lol. I am only joking. I recognize a hard working woman as I am one myself. For years I was my father’s right hand at our grocery store chain in Texas. You would have not known it by my father’s behavior. Don’t get me wrong, I love my father. When I was a child, I spent hours with him at the store, and I looked up to him. He was a self-made man, one that started with nothing. He built his grocery chain with a lot of hard work, but he is also a man from another era. He never saw me as someone who could take over the chain when he retired. He’s not a man who doesn’t believe women deserve the same pay as men. In fact, he had female managers for some of his stores long before other chains. But, when it came to me, he just could not see me taking over the chain. And part of it was my fault.

For so many years, I didn’t think for myself. I did all the school activities my parents picked out for me, went to the university they wanted me to, and even married a man they picked. I think my marriage falling apart was the first big ripple and the first time I thought for myself. I know. Sad, isn’t it. I was in my twenties and I made my first really big life decision. Then, when Joey left me in Dallas with nothing but a dress that was too short and barely anything else, I came face to face with my second big life decision. Truthfully, I didn’t know it at the time. I mean, what person would say going to fire a giggolo was a life decision? Only a whakadoodle, I’m sure. But, if I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have met Liam. While Liam wasn’t the giggolo, I did spend the night with him. It wasn’t until he showed up in Abilene in his real job as a business consultant that I really started making those decisions for myself.

Liam wasn’t a man I would normally date. He was…is a flirt. He probably lost count of the number if women he’s been to bed with. No…knowing Liam, he probably kept some kind of record, lol. But, seriously, he was a bit of a manwhore. He liked women. No. He loved women, still does. But, it was when he came back into my life and we fell in love, that I really started to realize I wasn’t thinking for myself. I would have never dated a man like Liam if it had not been for Joey’s birthday gift. Not because I didn’t find him attractive. I did, right off the bat. No, this was because I knew what my parents would think. Well, and the fact that my one real relationship was with a man who couldn’t stand to be in bed with  me. Well, it was mostly mutual as we were best friends who grew up together…but that is another story for another day.

So, you have one repressed woman who always does what her folks expect of her and one flirt who will not take no for an answer and what do you get? Love. Fall head over your heels into a vat of lust kind of love. And it was because of that, I started thinking for myself. I realized that I could never do what my father wanted and I needed a new start. And that started me on the wonderful like I have now with Liam and Heath and Joey running our new company. It would have never happened if I hadn’t finally gotten the nerve to think for myself.

Adaptation from Ian Cabrera’s POV

Nikki blogged yesterday about a new fave show of hers. I have to say, I too love the show.

Yes, I watch TV, though more accurately I listen to TV. This is a smartly written show. It’s fun. And like Nikki mentioned, I have a few things in common with a character.

I also enjoy how it breaks the stereotypical mindset that blind people, or other people with a handicap, are somehow “less”.  It’s like I tole Kieralyn when we first met. A disability doesn’t have to slow a person down. Think about it. People get along every day with broken legs or broken arms or eye injuries requiring an eye patch. Why would a loss of any one be any different? We learn to adapt.

Even my Kieralyn is adapting. Since being around me, her hearing and her sense of smell is sharper. She picks up on changes in a room much faster than before. Of course, I can only be grateful for that because it’s unsettling to kiss my fiancee good-bye every morning and worry about what she’ll face during her day. I don’t allow myself to dwell on the worry, but it’s there. It’s something else I’ve learned to adapt to.

Living with voices in your head

Hey, everyone! My name is Shana Adams Carlyle and I am from the future. Ha! I have always wanted to say that. Melissa wanted me to come on by and tell you how it feels to have voices in my head. She claims she goes through the same thing, but with characters. Not sure I believe her.  Anyway, I am telepathic. I can hear what people are thinking. Until recently, I did not use the abilities, so I am still a little rusty. I guess you need a little back story to understand.

Years ago, some crazy man tried to take over the world by using anyone with paranormal abilities. He wanted to create a perfect state where he was in control. Crazy bastard. Because of that, so many of our kind were hauled in and put into detention. They wanted to be sure we couldn’t use our abilities in nefarious ways. David, my brother, and I were sheilded by my folks. They taught us how NOT to listen to our sixth sense. Anyone with our abilities was rounded up and taken to detention. People were never seen after that. So, we learned to adapt, not use our abilities, until…both of us fell in love.

For me, I had no idea. Granted, hearing my live-by-the-rule-book boss fantasize about you in a meeting, is not the most pleasant way to find out my abilities had surfaced again. First, being a room filled with men and hearing those thoughts while I was giving a presentation was a bit disconcerting. I didn’t know who was thinking about me that way and well…some of the guys were just a bit creepy. I mean, one or two of them were old enough to be my grandfather. Years of making sure I never let anyone outside the family know about my abilities was the only thing that saved me. But, then, when I started to hear his voice when we were alone, so I knew it was him.

When you aren’t used to hearing the voices, it is a bit disconcerting. Thankfully, Marcus didn’t know I could hear him at first. He definitely would have turned me in. Not that he’s a bad guy, but Marcus plays by the rules…at least until we got together. But, I am digressing. I had not heard voices in my head since I was a child, so being almost thirty, it threw me for a loop. Conversation is going on on around you, but there is that inner conversation everyone is thinking. It is as if there were several conversations going on, and it almost drove me crazy. But now that I have the ability back, I don’t want to give it up. Marcus worked hard to allow our kind to be able to work with the government to help thwart some evil dudes, but we are still not accepted. So, for the most part, I use my abilities to work. I don’t let others know. And well…that allows me to hear their thoughts without them knowing, ha! I am kind of devious like that.  And just for my nosey neighbor…yes, we really DO make that much noise when making love. Get a life.

I have come to appreciate my abilities because they allow me to help my husband at work. We both work in security for the government and being able to hear what people are thinking is a huge advantage. I’m just glad I am not like my brother David who FEELS eveything. UGH, that would be horrible IMHO.

Off to work right now. Marcus is standing next to my computer and giving me dirty looks as he glances at his watch. The man is never late for anything!

You can read all about Shana, David and Letty in the anthology Telepathic Cravings from WCP TORRID.

What makes a hero? Are they real?

You may remember Kieralyn’s best friend Lana from SOUNDS TO DIE BY, where she got herself kidnapped, or from A KILLING CUPID, where she became the bait to catch a serial killer. She’s bold and daring and an award winning reporter. She’s also a teeny bit cynical, so brace yourself for whatever she’s come up with.

Thanks for inviting me here, Nikki. First off, let me clarify something. I’m not cynical. I’m a realist. Especially when it comes to men.


Mel’s Mila talked a few weeks ago about her theme song. She even included a few videos and one got me to thinking. You guessed it. The one with women dancing around and singing about looking for a hero. I mean, what is a hero? Is there such a thing? And why do women think they need to be saved by a man? Men are what they are. And they’re complicated, secretive, emotionally unavailable creatures who are only interested in sex.

Fine, so Kieralyn would argue Ian isn’t that way. Kami would argue Breck isn’t that way most days. And they aren’t. With Kieralyn and Kami. So why can’t they behave the same way with everyone else? It’s not only me who thinks men act different with a woman they’re committed to than with a woman they are dating or sleeping with. And they again act different with their buddies and coworkers. Where is the consistency?

Don’t get me wrong. I like men, but I don’t understand women who act like they need to be saved. That only sets us up for disappointment. It feeds already oversized egos. Take Aidan.  Second in command of his FBI unit, he’s got skills. He would have to. He’s good looking if you like the Irish type. He’s also got several personalities. The “I’m with the guys” one. The “She’s a good friend” one. The “I want to see her panties” one. And then the “How can I make your life a confused mess with my bi-polar treatment” one.

See, from the first moment we met, Aidan has done nothing but give me grief. He treated me kindly until he knew I would survive my injuries from the kidnapping and then he turned into a domineering ass. He stuck with the domineering act all the way through the sting to catch a serial killer last Valentine’s Day. When that was over, he kissed me like a starved man. But I tasted fear and worry. He poured on the sweet “I want to see her panties” persona and when he’d gotten what he wanted… You guessed it. He didn’t call again. And if we were in the same room, thanks to shared friends, he would make damn sure he stayed on the other side of the room. Shoves his hands in his pockets, glares holes into me, and stays far away. I don’t get it. It’s not like I played the “Oh, you’re so strong and I can’t live without you” card.

Come on. This is a man who is viewed by women as a hero. Sure, he saves lives through his job, but how is that heroic? And how does his treatment of women make him any different from the masses of men who behave this way?

I wonder what his Irish mother would say if she knew about his behavior. Mine would be appalled.

I didn’t ask for his on again off again interest, and I will not fall for it again, but he does make me wonder if there are real heroes. Heroes who are strong, but willing to be a stable man and accept the love of a woman. Heroes who are smart, but willing to be with a woman equally as smart. Heroes who are tender, but willing to show that sweet side outside the bedroom.

Is that really so much to ask for? What do you think?

The New Kid’s Determination

Hi. I’m Ava. I’m the newest member of the Specialized Crimes Unit led by Breck Lawson. I’ve been asked how it came to be that I jumped from one agency to another and what it’s like being the newest member of a well-oiled machine – it’s tough at times.

The jumping was easy, given that I was only a consultant for HSA. And though I never thought I’d enjoy working for the FBI, the new team is great. Actually, shifting into their routines was surprisingly simple. It helps that they have a willingness to indulge some of my habits – like following a case until I close it even if it means toeing the lines of procedure. I only toe the line though. Well, since joining Breck’s team. I’ll admit when I went under on the case that led me to them erasing the line worked better for me. But hey, it helped bring down the first layer of bad guys. Sure, some got away and I still haven’t found Lori yet, but she’s on my radar. I’m closing in and she will be recovered.

I’ve hit that point, the precipice, where one more piece of information will have all the pieces falling into place. I have the information, but a connection is missing. I know it’s there, though. I’ve likely seen it and discounted it, which means I pulled it out to look at again only to find nothing. I need to find something. Soon. Every day that I leave for home with no more answers is another night spent worrying that Breck will call a halt to my search the next morning when I walk into the office. I won’t face that. I can’t let him stop looking for Lori.

Of course, I think one reason he’s allowing me to look so ling is because of Trevor. Breck may be our team leader, but he’s loyal to the end and wants to see his best friend’s love recovered. More, he wants to see her safely recovered. Though we haven’t discussed the possibility that she’ll have been changed by whatever has happened to her, if she’s even alive. Still, answers are needed and we need them. I wonder if it’s too soon to follow up with Ian again. Maybe he’s found something. I’m ready to move this search to the next level.

Character Interview: Ren Morello

Today I wanted to feature the hero from my first ever released book Grace Under Pressure. Ren is the local sheriff of a small Texas town with a wicked sense of humor and a bone deep goodness that makes a girl all gooey, especially our heroine Grace. He meets me in Cannon’s busiest restaurant, the Wagon Wheel. He is wearing snug fitting jeans and a blue denim shirt. He’s a tall man, most of it leg, with chocolate brown eyes and short, military cut black hair.

Mel: Thanks for taking time off today. I know being a small town sheriff keeps you hopping.

REN: smiles Yeah, I thought it would be easy to step into the job, easy work. But, when you are the head cop in a small town, everyone knows your name. And, unfortunately, your phone number.

Mel: It must have been a big change after working with big city crime.

REN: Yeah. I pretty much know everyone’s name here, so not much happens I don’t know about. Of course, that is a pro and con all wrapped up into one thing.

Mel: How so?

REN: The pro is that I recognize a stranger, someone out of place. When I lived in the city, everyone was a stranger. But then, that can be good in certain areas. Here, they know where I live, know my cell, and I know entirely too much about their personal lives.

Mel: Personal lives?

REN: You cannot be the sherriff and not know who is doing whom, if you get my drift.

Mel: I laugh Believe me, I understand that completely. So, what has been going on with you and Grace since you got married.

REN: Not much. Grace’s book about the whole situation that brought us together was a USA Today best seller for nonfiction. And, we are expecting our first kiddo, due in August.

Mel: August?

REN: nodding Yeah, I got read the riot act on that one. August, hot and right when school starts. But, I don’t think she really cares. She is a fat and happy pregnant woman.

Mel: Oh, you just called her fat.

REN: She’s pregnant.

Mel: I cross my arms and smirk You think she will care.

REN: Damn. I bet you’re right. I’ll just make sure she doesn’t read this.

Mel: Really, you think you can keep her from getting online?

REN: Smiles and winks at me. I have my ways of distracting her, believe me.

Mel: I laugh Well, I will let you get back to work, I can imagine you have a lot to do.

REN: Nods Yep, and soon Mrs Janey will be calling I’m sure.

Mel: Thanks for meeting with me.

REN: Anytime darling.

You can read all about Ren and Grace in Grace Under Pressure, from Samhain Publishing.