What Makes a Hero?

My favorite hero for years was the character 'Rourke', featured in J.D. Robb novels. Powerful, mysterious, loads of stamina, *waggling eyebrows*, wrapped around a package laced with a hint of danger. I didn't think anyone could beat this powerful alpha male.

Until I read Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series.

I fell in love with all her male leads, one by one. Then she wrote a book about a male Fairy called Adam, who had cameo appearances in almost all her novels. He deserved his own book. A cast out Fae prince, with a touch of old world cynicism, mysterious accent, exuding sexuality and sensuality through every pore. Oh, and a hint of danger that makes our breath hitch and insides tremble with deep awareness.
Hands down, the most sexy alpha male lead I had ever read about. But what sealed the deal for me on Adam, was his unwavering I-don't-care-if-every-woman-in-the-world-throws-herself-at-me-I-love-only-one-woman attitude.

That's what made him the winner. It's what almost every woman wants. Someone to love her to distraction.

I know I do.

Imagine these lips nibbling that
sensitive spot behind your ear...

Cookie Dough and Writing

What does cookie dough and writing have in common? Well, you'd be surprised. First let me tell you a story of when I first got married.

I couldn't boil water. I'm not joking. Thank goodness for Better Homes and Gardens 'The New Cook Book' - you'll notice the break in the word cookbook. Because this was a book for new cooks. Page 191 showed me how to make scrambled eggs. I also found Jean Pare's Company's Coming cookbooks and my marriage was saved.

Confident in my burgeoning skills as a cook, I decided to make my favorite cookies with one of my mother's recipes. How hard could it be, right? I pulled out all the ingredients, measuring cups and spoons and began to fill the bowl.

When the mixture was complete, I knew it should stick together in a big gooey lump. Mine was dry and kind of crumbly. I went back over all the ingredients, and hadn't missed a thing, so I did what any good cook would do - I called my mom.

We went over the dry ingredients. 1 1/4 cups flour - check. 1/2 cup sugar - check. 1/2 cup baking soda.... 'How much baking soda?' My mother asked. '1/2 cup.' I replied, reading from the handwritten recipe.

Given the tone, I knew that had to be wrong. My mom retrieved her copy of the recipe and came back to the phone laughing. Hers also said 1/2 cup, but she'd made the cookies for so long, she knew it was 1/2 teaspoon.

How is this like writing?

First you have to have the right ingredients. Characters and Plot are your flour and sugar, the main ingredients. Goals and Motivation are baking soda, butter or shortening and egg. They hold the Characters and Plot together. Without them, your story would be dry and flaky, and fall apart - like my cookie dough.

Finally, the spice of the story. Here's your cinnamon, or nutmeg. The chocolate chips and raisins. Conflict. How bland your cookies would be without the spice, and how boring your story would be without Conflict. We have to give our characters conflict or there's no purpose for them to move forward. No one wants to read how everyday at 7:30 you leave for work, and at 4:30 everyday you leave for home. Dull, dull, dull.

Let's add some spice. On your way home, you see two men hustle a struggling man into a long dark limousine. You follow the limo, your heart racing, palms sweating. Down a dark alley you watch as they pull the man out of the car, shoot  him point blank, then toss his body aside like the garbage littering the alley. Horrified you can't move. Your hands grip the steering wheel so tight they begin to cramp. Then, one of the men turns and sees you.

Which story would you rather read?

Leave a comment, and tell me which cookie dough you like to eat before it even hits the oven.

See you in the writer's circle.

Work in Progress

This is the last installment to The Perfect Secretary series. We've read Troy and Sheila's story, followed by Jonah and Beth. Prepare yourself for Seth and Ava. Such a dark story, but where there is darkness, there is also light. 

This is a work in progress, but I thought I'd whet your appetite....

Always the lone wolf, Seth has no plans to follow his business partners down the matrimonial trail. Then his past walked through the door of Club Breathless. He’s never forgotten the battered girl he and his Black Op team rescued eight years ago. All his protective instincts jump into high gear, but she’s quite able to look after herself and doesn’t want him interfering. Closing in on the hunt, he scents her interest and begins chipping away at her protective armor.
After a kidnapping and brutal attack Ava Braxton has learned to be aware of her surroundings. Her defensive walls are insurmountable and she has no plans of living the white picket life with three point two kids and a dog, not if it means letting someone inside the inner circle. She’s content serving drinks at Club Breathless, so why does Seth Black, one of the Dungeon Masters, make her twitch in places she thought were dead?
My inspiration for Ava

     “Talk to me, Ava. What do you feel?”
      Nothing. Everything. She wanted him to stop. Stop making her feel. To go away and leave her in peace. The leather cuff pulled tight against her wrist as she twisted on the divan. Warmth flooded her lower region, her labia swelling in response. The scent of cinnamon filled her nose. Her back arched as the heat intensified.
       Turn it off. Find your center. Pain is only fear leaving the body.
      “Ava. What do you feel?” Seth’s firm tone broke through her concentration.
      “I… ahh…” She tried to close her legs, forgetting they were buckled to the divan. He placed his hand on her stomach and she settled. “I feel heat.”
      “No, my brave waya.”  His finger tapped her forehead. “What do you feel here?”
      Her eyes snapped open and she stared into Seth’s hazel ones, inches from her own. When she went to turn her head, he stayed her jerky movement with a firm hand. There was no escaping his dogged determination.
      “I feel uncomfortable.”
      For a moment his eyes hardened and Ava thought she might have seen regret. Regret for what? She didn’t know what he wanted. Why couldn’t he just get to the point and move on? Eager to please, she tried again.
      “I feel alone.”
      The merest hint of a smile softened his features.
      “How can you be alone when I am here with you?”
      Ava opened and closed her mouth. The words would not come out. How do you explain being alone in a crowd?

Daring Miss December

December 5

Madison:  It’s here–the day I both anticipated and dreaded–our last visit with Macy Beck, and the final sneak peek at a Hot Nights in St. Blaise book. Welcome back, Macy. Did you ever think we’d get through them all? 

Macy: Let me tell you, it was a lot easier to snap a few nudie pics. 

Madison:  I bet. So I hear Miss December is a little older than the others. 

Macy: Don’t let the platinum highlights fool you. Anne Silverstein is aging better than Christie Brinkley, and Christie looks pretty damn good for any age. 

Madison:  I agree. Her... ummmm...assets on the cover look pretty good. And Oliver? Is he more mature as well, or is Anne pulling a Sharon and snagging a younger man? 

Macy: Oh, Oliver is age-appropriate, but don’t worry. There’s plenty of fire.

Here’s the setup: 

     Straight-laced hospital administrator Oliver Watkins has the heart of a rebel.

     Coming of age in the free-wheeling seventies meant that Oliver’s rebellion manifested itself in always doing precisely what he was expected to do.

     With his wife gone and his daughter grown, the survival of St. Blaise Regional Medical Center has become his main focus in life. That is, until the results of a routine blood test give him the nudge he needs to indulge in forbidden fruit.

     Anne Silverstein has enjoyed a smorgasbord of experiences, but none shaped her life more dramatically than finding a lump in her breast at the ripe old age of twenty-six. In the years since she triumphed over death, Anne has learned to embrace life by taking each new day as it comes.

     When Ollie Watkins, stumbles into her office looking for more than a few tips on lowering his cholesterol, throwing caution to the wind is a no-brainer for the free-spirited dietician. But the home remedies Anne and Oliver cook up together leave them both ravenous for more.

     Suddenly one finds that one day at a time is not enough and the other fears it will be way too much.

And here is a snapshot: 

     “Come in,” she coaxed. “I won’t bite. Unless you’re into that,” she added with a waggle of dark brows.
     Heat rose inside of him. Desire bubbled like molten lava. He wouldn’t mind a little biting, but he wanted to be the one to do it. He’d nibble that sweet, plump lower lip and leave his mark on alabaster skin if she’d let him.
     But he didn’t do either of those things. Instead, he stood there in the open doorway hugging a couple bottles of wine and staring at her like a boy peeking into the girls’ locker room for the first time. For a moment, he reveled in it, enjoying the novelty of feeling young and carefree for a change.
     She placed the pan on a back burner, then nudged the handle, centering the bubbling pot on the glowing red coil. Cocking her head, she regarded him with a gentle smile. “You brought wine?”
     “Oh!” Startled from his trance he nodded. “I hope you like red.” Caught in the tractor beam of her soft smile, he surged forward. “I have a full-bodied Cabernet, but if you want something lighter, this is a nice Beaujolais.” He frowned at the label on the second bottle. “Not as young as it should be—”
     “None of us are,” she quipped.
     “But still…” He trailed off, a smile quirking his lips as her words sank in. “No, I suppose we’re not.”
     Anne plucked the Beaujolais from his grasp and whirled, setting the fringed scarf aflutter. He wanted to sink his teeth into the taut, firm flesh of her bare shoulder. He might have made a lunge for it if she hadn’t pulled a corkscrew from a drawer and waved it at him.
     “Let’s start with this over-the-hill Beaujolais.” He set the Cabernet aside when she thrust the bottle and opener at him, but instead of retreating to the stove once more, she closed in on him. He blinked slowly, praying he hadn’t imagined the gossamer brush of her lips against his ear. Hot breath sent a shiver racing over his skin. “We can be full-bodied later.”
     Before he could respond, she danced from his reach. Drawing a steadying breath, Oliver applied himself to peeling away the protective seal on the cork. Somehow, somewhere between telling her he wanted her and the Cheez Whiz admonishments, he’d lost control of the situation. While he was a man who admired a strong and independent woman, he was not accustomed to taking someone else’s orders. He wanted his edge back, and damn it, he was going to take it.
     He pulled the cork from the bottle and held it up to the light, eying the contents critically. “Glasses?”
     “Oh.” Spinning on her heel, she scanned the detritus scattered along the countertop. “They’re here somewhere.” Even white teeth sank into her lower lip. A bolt of envy-laced lust shot straight to his groin. “A-ha!” she cried as she collected a battered and smeared set of reading glasses from the counter and offered them to him. “Here, you can use mine.”
     His huff of laughter surprised them both. Lowering the bottle, Oliver shook his head. “No, I meant wine glasses.”
     “Oh.” She looked down at the readers in her hand and shook her head in dismay. “Of course.”
     A full-blown laugh burst from him when she pitched the glasses over her shoulder without a moment of hesitation. They landed amidst a pile of abandoned garlic cloves, but Anne didn’t seem to care. She was too busy poking through cabinets as if their contents were unfamiliar. The urge to tease her rose inside him. It tasted warm and sweet on his tongue. His heart beat a playful pitter-pat. He was about to ask her if she actually lived in the cluttered flat when she stood on the tips of her toes and stretched.
     The sweater rose up; the scarf slipped down. In a heartbeat he stood behind her, thunking the bottle on the counter and reaching for the hand-painted goblets on the top shelf.
     Anne froze the second he grasped her hip. The glasses clinked as he laced his fingers through the stems. She slumped against him when he rocked back onto his heels, placing the glasses on the counter in front of her. His breath stirred her hair. The notch of her hipbone fit his palm to perfection. He braced his other hand on the counter, surrounding her willowy body with his.
     “I did that on purpose,” she confessed in a whisper.
     “I’d hoped so.” 

Madison:  Love it! I love how blunt she is. 

Macy: Anne isn’t one to beat around the bush, and Oliver is a man who gets what he wants. Together…well, let’s just say they made the holidays a lot hotter. 

Madison:  Macy, I’ve really enjoyed our time together, but I have one last question. 

Macy: Shoot. 

Madison:  What about you? When do we get to hear about your love life? 

Macy: Oh! Look at the time. Gotta run. Christmas program tonight. Lots of angels to wrangle and shepherds to herd. See ya! 

Madison:  *sighs*  Daring Miss December by Maggie Wells is available now in all ebook formats at the Turquoise Morning Press bookstore or your favorite online retailer. For more information on the Hot Nights in St. Blaise series, readers can visit www.maggie-wells.com . 

Thank you all so much! *blows kisses* ~ Maggie