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.



The Evolution of a Writer

Any author will tell you that writing is a journey. Sometimes there are smooth roads, other times there are hills. Then let’s talk about those Alps for writers.

My first book was published thirty-two years ago this December. This was a year after my agent called me with the news that a brand spanking new publisher called Silhouette Books wanted to buy my first two books.

The best part was I wouldn’t be a one book writer and it was time to see if I could write more books. Plus, I was fired for selling those books, so I said sink or swim time.

What a journey it’s been

Just like the transition from childhood to adult, it’s an evolution of a writer.

Back in the late 1970s authors were expected to write books with only the heroine’s point-of-view, craft alpha heroes who were usually quite a bit older than the tender-hearted virgin heroines and we won’t even go into the bitchy ‘other woman’ that tended to make the sensitive heroine believe there was no way the brooding hero could love her. And love scenes were behind closed doors. Yawn!

Romance writers were the red-haired stepchildren. Wild to say since I’m a redhead. Story had it romance writers always wore pink, smiled constantly, ate bonbons, and chirped instead of talked. So not me at all. I avoided pink like the plague, smiled but not as if I was in a beauty pageant, preferred See’s Bordeaux, and was shy so talking in groups wasn’t always easy.

Even back then I knew I wanted to write ‘more’ and I pushed the envelope any way I could. So many of us felt the same. It meant coming up more with more innovative storylines, and strong characters that stood out. I tried to break a rule with each book.

I wrote the hero’s point of view in Dancer in the Shadows, my first book. I couldn’t understand why it had to be deleted, but I was determined it would happen in a later book. After all, that third and fourth book were simmering in my imagination

I got to do that and more as I wrote hero oriented plots, role reversal stories such as my male housekeeper book, Caution Man at Work and Guardian Angel that featured a female bodyguard, and other books with a variety of stories. I know this author/avid reader wanted more so why shouldn’t other readers.

Yes, it meant a lot more work, but it was worth it, because it allowed me to grow as a writer and even as a person. It hasn’t always been easy and there were times I wondered whether I should continue writing, but every writer will tell you it’s not something you can easily quit. Your imagination won’t allow it.

We never remain stagnant. I mean, how boring would that be? No way I want to be the same person I was 34 years ago when I started my first book. I wanted to move forward, change my hairstyle a few million times, the way I dress and how I think.

I always knew I couldn’t write what I wrote in the beginning because I’ve progressed so far. And I’d like to think it’s all for the better. That my evolution knew what to do with me.

Even now, I wonder what my next evolution will bring me.

What about you? Do you feel you’ve evolved over the years? That even if there have been bumps in the road, you’ve kept going?