Sometimes I find it hard to believe we are this far into the 21st century. When I think back to Y2K and all the hype about the end of the world, it seems like just yesterday. So much has changed since then, and yet so many other things have stayed the same.
Virgo's Vice, published in 2015 is seeing some good sales and I've had some great feedback. The only thing readers seem to have a problem with is that there are too many characters all introduced at one time near the beginning. I knew that when I wrote it, but I felt that I had to give readers a little early information about each of the 12 contestants in the reality show.
All my stories highlight social problems, and this one addresses the terrible way childhood sexual molestation messes up a person's life.
Lexie King suffers from PTSD and has anxiety attacks, but she desperately wants to heal herself, which is the reason she goes completely out of her comfort zone by agreeing to work as one of the two camera operators for a new Survivor-style reality show in Africa. It probably would have worked out for her but for two things--the producer doesn't play fair, and one of the contestants is the monster who repeatedly raped Lexie when she was a child.
I got a lot of the information from a person I know who actually was molested and suffered the same way as Lexie.
I love animals and always include at least one in my stories. Jake is the producer's chocolate lab, and he and Lexie have a special bond.
Billy Murphy is a real life cowboy from Texas. He works on the family cattle ranch. Apart from being hot, with a small ass, broad shoulders and intense green eyes, with dark hair that hangs down to his collar, he's tough and resourceful. He's also kind and caring, which is exactly the sort of man Lexie needs. When I lived up in the mountains in Arizona I met some real cowboys whose lives revolved around riding the open range, herding cattle, and camping out in the wilderness. They wore spurs that jingled, chaps and cowboy hats and were all cute, a little shy, and respectful to women.
Lexie's Story is free for you to download in any format you need. Here's the link: Lexie's Story
Here's the link for Virgo's Vice
I joined Romance Writers of America in 2015, something I probably should have done long ago. It's an organization for romance writers who are serious about their writing careers, and they offer a wide array of useful resources. One suggestion they make is that writers should get a critique partner--someone they don't know, who will give an unbiased opinion of their work. I checked out the list of members actively seeking critique partners and picked Tami Lund because it appeared that she writes similar stories to mine. We clicked right away and I'm extremely thankful for Tami's wonderful help and advice. She's made some excellent suggestions and I've implemented most of them to improve my next novel, Scorpio's Sting. I hope I've helped her in the same way. Strangely, after we had already started critiquing one another's work we discovered we both have the same publisher--Soul Mate Publishing-- and we both write for the SMP blog on Wednesdays.
I plan to post the first three chapters of Scorpio's Sting on my website soon. In this story I address the drug and illegal immigration problems in the U.S. and in particular, the abuse of power and horrific crimes of the drug cartels. I hope to have this novel released later on this year.
I've just started work on the fourth book in the Redneck P.I. Mystery Series, and writing about characters you've already created in the past is so much fun, especially when they're all a little quirky. It's like visiting old friends you haven't seen for a while. This story is called "Fat Girls Rock" and I am still amazed at how the story simply unfolds in my head as I write it. It's a great feeling. Almost as good as wine and chocolate.
Obesity, and the way people treat overweight individuals, as you may have guessed, is one of the social issues I address in this story.
Aquarius Addiction was released in January 2015, and is now in print format for those of you who prefer paper to plastic. I'm hosting a Goodreads giveaway starting January 9th.
This story tackled ALS and was released at a time when people were enduring the ice water over the head idea to make a statement. It also touched on human trafficking, and there will be another book which will go into this in more detail in the future.
Happy 2016 to everyone reading this. I hope all your dreams will come true this year.