Behind the Book — Caution – Man At Work

Cole Bishop had appeared in her hour of need and she’d done it–hired him–a male housekeeper! Perhaps now, with her twin boys in his care, she could get back to her demanding career in advertising.

In no time her chaotic household was running smoothly. The boys were in heaven. But Kelly Connors hadn’t counted on Cole insinuating himself into her life so personally…so passionately. Nor was she prepared for her ex-husband’s intrusion on their newfound domestic bliss or his vicious threats to take the children from her. And when the boys suddenly vanished, Kelly was terrified, torn.

Had she asked too much, wanting her children, her career, her independence–and the man she loved? Could Cole–a journalist doing “undercover” research on house-husbanding–help her find both her boys and all the answers?

Back in late 1981 I wanted to write a couple books that I called role reversal. One idea was a bodyguard heroine who was former military wand I knew I wanted her to take a bullet for her boss, the hero. Back then it wasn’t done.

My other idea was writing a book with a male housekeeper. Who doesn’t have the dream of a good looking guy cleaning our houses? I didn’t want to make it easy for either heroine or hero, so I threw in mischievous twin boys and a rambunctious sheepdog. When I pitched the two ideas to my Silhouette editor I was told that just wasn’t done. But I wasn’t going to stop, so I urged my then agent to submit the synopses to Dell Candlelight Ecstasy. The books sold and I was let loose.

I always like to put at least one true event in a book. This one had two. A fantasy love scene was courtesy of a friend who told me about her experience with the perfect man and the boys were based on a little girl in my preschool church class. And I only used a fraction of what she did! Here was this adorable five year old girl who loved frilly dresses and looked like an angel but thought nothing of flushing her brothers’ action toys or dog kibble down the toilet.

Some books are more fun to write than others. Caution – Man At Work was one of the fun ones. I may not be a mom, but I have my share of kids to borrow for material and I’ve done just that. I had a woman with a demanding job and an attraction to the guy who was keeping her house in order. And I had a man who had no clue how to use a washing machine, but did it because he was a writer working undercover. And the ladies in the neighborhood really enjoyed watching shirtless Cole mowing the lawn!

One of the funniest things was sitting at the movies much later on and seeing a trailer for Mr. Mom. My friend stared at me and said “you already did that”.

I only hope everyone else will see Caution – Man At Work as a fun read too.

You can find it at Amazon and Smashwords and will soon be available at BN for Nook and iTunes.



Behind the Book — Voices in the Night

The young beautiful girl

His Voice Was Her Heartbeat

Malnutrition, cruelty and blazing heat were the unbearable realities of the South American prison. All that stood behind newscaster MJ Blake and the madness of despair was a stranger’s voice.

As the days turned into weeks, the unseen reporter in the adjoining cell gave MJ courage when she needed it, replaced her apathy with anger, and even made her laugh. They shared whispered memories, hopes, secrets and regrets …

Eighteen months after winning her freedom, MJ was pretending that her life, her work and her psyche weren’t ravaged by a season in the darkest corner of hell.

And then MJ heard the voice …

There are always so many sources for our ideas. Some we search for, others just appear when we least expect it.

That’s what happened to me late one night in 1989.

Since my husband traveled a lot and I’m a night owl to begin with, I enjoyed watching a lot of late night TV. One such night, I watched a documentary on PBS about post traumatic stress disorder also known as combat fatigue and shell shock. John Huston directed a documentary in 1946 titled Let There Be Light, but it was banned from public view for 30 years. It showed soldiers entering a hospital and the care they received for their care.

By the time it was finished I was crying and I knew I had the beginning of an idea. During that time I also saw a news story on military nurses who suffered PTSD after returning from war zones.

But how would I write it?

No. I thought if soldiers suffered this, why not others who entered combat zones. That’s when I thought of war correspondents. MJ Blake popped into my head and the story was born. She worked as a war correspondent and in the beginning of the book was shut up in a cell in a South American prison with her only human contact the prisoner in the next cell. Naturally a guy with a gorgeous Australian accent and even if she couldn’t see him, she had someone to talk to.

Except when MJ escapes the prison she leaves damaged. I knew that her boss would need to see something that would really hit home and one morning a sonic boom overhead gave me that idea. A sonic boom over MJ’s office that had her scrambling for cover.

And why MJ shows up at a retreat that’s set up to help those like her and yes, Jake Palmer is also there, because he was equally damaged.

While they’re seeking help, they also seek each other, because they feel no one else can understand them.

My Harlequin American Romance Voices in the Night was first released in 1991. It wasn’t an easy book to write, but I felt compelled and to this day I’m happy I’m did. I’m even happier that the book is now available as an ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.