When did you start the adventure of writing? – I’ve been writing off and on since I was in grammar school. I used to fill up notebooks with stories.
Have you always loved romance writing? – I came to romance writing relatively late. Tried my hand at sci-fi/fantasy for several years, and didn’t sell a thing. That’s when I realized my forte lay in writing relationship stories, so I switched to romance. Wrote my first book (The Arrangement) and sold it within a couple of months.
Where do you find your inspiration? – Oh, inspiration’s everywhere, if you just open your eyes and look.
When you're not writing, what do you do for fun? – Eat. Sleep. Watch movies & TV. Research my next project.
A quick quiz: Answer as fast as you can.
Favorite Hero: Mal Reynolds from “Firefly”
Favorite Dessert: Crème brulee
Favorite Villain: He’s more of an anti-hero than a villain, but… Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto as played by Michael Fassbender in X-Men First Class
Favorite Song: “Vow” by Garbage
Have you ever written to music? – I can only write to music that doesn’t have words, like symphonic music. If somebody’s singing, it distracts me.
What music? – I love Mahler symphonies to write to. Or violin concerti. I listened to the Brahms & Tchaikovsky concertos non-stop while I was writing Allegro Vivace and Sonata Appassionata.
Do you have a writing tip to share with our viewers? – Write every day. If you want to make a career from writing, you need to look at it like a job. Report for work every day whether you feel like it or not.
Here's an excerpt from my newest release, Once a Marine:
The second he walked into the diner, I nearly dropped the stack of plates I was carrying. Six foot three at least, with long, long legs encased in jeans worn almost white across the front of his well-muscled thighs. Dripping wet from the freezing November downpour, he unzipped his rain jacket and pushed back the hood. Oh, holy Christ. Lush lips, strong chin, cheekbones that could slice through a rare steak. Nordic-god blond hair in a military buzz cut that instantly made the crotch of my jeans tight. Good thing I had my apron on. I pushed my glasses up the bridge of my nose and kept staring.
I wasn’t the only one. Terry’s hand froze momentarily over the cash register as our new arrival gave her a quick nod, grabbed the sports section from the front counter, and headed for the nearest empty table. He didn’t seem to notice us both gaping at him, or maybe he just didn’t care. Drop-dead gorgeous guys like him were probably used to it.
“That’s what I call a tall, cool drink of water.” Terry handed her customer his change and shut the register with a bump of her ample hip. “And lucky you—he just sat down in your section. Unless you want to take your break now?” She flashed me a toothy grin.
“Nice try,” I fired back with a wink. I put my armload of dirty dishes in a tub under the counter and grabbed a mug and a pot of coffee before making a beeline back to Mr. Tall-and-Hunky’s table. The shitty weather had scared away most of the usual Sunday morning crowd, so for once I didn’t get waylaid refilling cups.
Tall-and-Hunky glanced up as I approached. He looked about thirty, with nice eyes—pale blue, but not the least bit icy. Smiling, I
gestured toward him with the mug. “Hi, I’m Marc. Would you like some coffee?” He nodded. “Did you want some juice this morning as well, or maybe some water?”
“Coffee’s fine, thanks.” For a second I could’ve sworn I detected the soft lilt of a southern accent. And now I definitely recognized the haircut—shaved nearly bare on the back and sides, flat on top. The traditional “high and tight” cut worn by most Marines. Sweet, seedy memories of falling to my knees in the back room of an adult bookstore in Oceanside raced through my brain as I watched him stir raw sugar into his coffee and take his first tentative sip.
Then those big blue eyes locked on mine, jolting me back to the present. “Um, do you need a couple more minutes to make up your mind?”
He snagged a menu and gave it a quick once-over, the side with “Blue Windmill Café” printed on it flipped toward me. “I’ll have two eggs over easy with hash browns and a side of bacon.”
There it was, and no doubt this time—that unmistakable slow-as-honey Carolina drawl. Just like Rob, I realized with a pang, tugging my pad and pen from my apron to scribble down his order. “What kind of toast?”
“You got biscuits?” he asked shyly, one corner of his mouth quirking up.
“Afraid not. How about an English muffin?”
“That’ll do. Thanks.” He took another sip of his coffee and turned his attention back to the sports section.
“Looked like you were having a nice conversation,” Terry commented archly as I came back around the counter and stuck my order in the queue for Fernando. The smell of burnt toast and bacon grease floated forth from the kitchen, punctuated by the clatter of Fernando’s teenage son Pedro none-too-gently loading dirty dishes into the washer. “Did you notice him checking out your butt?”
“Yeah, right.” Six months ago, she might’ve had me going. Terry loved yanking my chain. Good-natured yanking, but still.
“For once I’m not kidding. He looked right at those cute little buns of yours when you turned around.”
I tossed a nonchalant glance in Military Guy’s direction. He had
his phone out now, and was punching at its tiny keyboard with mad double-thumb action. It looked like a toy nestled in his huge, long-fingered hands. Oh, dear God. If there was one thing I went crazy for, it was a guy with nice hands.
“Just my luck.” Terry shook her head, brunette ponytail swinging to and fro. “All the hot ones play for your team.”
“I think the jury’s still out on that.”
“Why don’t we put it to the test?” She snapped up a coffee pot from a burner. “Let’s see if he needs a warm-up.”
Of course, crotchety old Mr. Faber had to choose that moment to hobble up to the register to pay his bill. I rang him up while trying to peer over his shoulder to see what Terry was doing.
She could flirt with the best of them, I’d give her that. Hand resting seductively on her cocked hip, she gave Military Guy a big smile and batted her lashes. He smiled back, his gaze lingering on her impressive bust line. Didn’t mean anything one way or the other—hell, I stared at Terry’s tits too, mostly because they seemed to defy gravity. They exchanged words, but I couldn’t hear what either of them said. Finally, she topped off his mug and sashayed back to the counter.
“His mama raised him right,” she announced with a rapturous sigh. “Such lovely manners. He actually called me ma’am!”
I snickered. “Probably because you remind him of his mom.”
“Watch it, buster. I’m only thirty-five.”
According to Fernando, Terry’d just celebrated the sixth anniversary of her thirty-fifth birthday. But since I didn’t want to get kicked in the shin, I figured I’d better not mention it. Besides, my order was up.
I stacked both plates along my left arm like a seasoned greasy-spoon pro, grabbed a bottle of ketchup, and motored back to Military Guy’s table. He folded his paper and sat back, giving me room to set everything down. The plate with the bacon and eggs nearly slipped from my hand when he shrugged out of his slicker. He was wearing a plain black t-shirt underneath. A really tight plain black t-shirt stretched over every hard, smooth muscle in his chest and shoulders, showing off a spectacular set of guns. It was all I could do to keep
“A-anything else I can get you?” Coffee? Tea? Me?
“This’ll do for now, thanks.” His right sleeve hiked up when he reached for his fork, revealing a small tattoo of a bulldog with “USMC” emblazoned under it. Growing up in San Diego, I’d seen my fair share of Marine Corps tats. Most of them looked garish and trashy, but this one was actually kind of cute. So was this guy a real Marine, or just a wannabe?
One way to find out. “We don’t get too many devil dogs in this neighborhood. You here to protect Berkeley from the scourge of all us bleeding-heart liberals?”
His smile immediately faded. “I think I’m a little late for that. Besides, I’m not on active duty.”
Ouch. Now I wished I’d kept my mouth shut. “Well, let me know if you need anything else, okay?”
You can purchase Once a Marine by clicking the title.
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