Monday Musings – Is He an Alpha or Just an Ass?


Book 1: Hoale Construction Mysteries

Romance readers love strong men. Arguably the most important aspect of a romance novel is hitting the right note with your hero. Readers want heroes who are alphas. Strength is sexy to most people, which is why soldiers, firemen, and cops are automatically elevated to hero status in romance stories.

So, are you susceptible to the alpha male?

Let’s do a little test. You are a contestant on a couple-matching game show. Through a series of questions, the field of bachelors has been whittled down to 2 men. Both are attractive. Both are clean and well-spoken. However, Bachelor #1 wants to be a house-husband. He promises to cook and clean house, and then rub his lover’s feet when he/she comes home after a long day of work. Bachelor #2, works hard all day conquering his little piece of the world and then comes home to sweep his lover off his/her feet and create mind-blowing sex. He cooks steaks on the grill but not much else, and his idea of cleaning is throwing his sexy, silk boxers into the laundry basket.

Now, I realize the idea of having somebody clean and cook for you is damn tempting. But is that really what you want in a man? I would choose Bachelor #2, because I like the alpha male. I think men were meant to be strong and conquering. And though I definitely believe women can and should be strong and independent, a strong woman deserves a strong man—one who can keep her on her toes (as well as curl those toes when the lights are turned down low #:0).

But when does strong become overbearing? It’s a fine line in romance fiction. One person’s alpha can be another person’s jerk. We want a man who is decisive and knows how to get things done. But we don’t want him telling us what to do or taking decisions away from us. He should be strong enough to know when to let his partner stand tall, while he stands behind him/her in support. He isn’t afraid to let his softer side show, or too politically correct to be strong when necessary. Walking that line can be tricky, both in fiction and in real life. But certain basics must always hold true. An alpha male doesn’t let anybody mess with his friends and loved ones and he’ll fight to the death to protect them. He might make mistakes, but in the end he always does the right thing, even when it’s hard to do. And he might not be rich or famous, but he rocks the bedroom, keeping his lover’s needs foremost in his mind.

An impossible standard for any man to reach? Maybe. Maybe not. But if you don’t have an ideal to shoot for, you might just end up with the ass!

Happy Reading everybody!


Hoaley Ill-Manored

Book 2: Hoale Construction Mysteries

Book 2: Hoale Construction Mysteries

A 200 year old manor house, a questionable death, and a cache of stolen jewelry. Who will kill to keep their secrets?

The gang flips a 200 year old manor house in the beautiful, rolling hills of Brown County, Indiana. Unfortunately the house is the site of a suicide, the result of a broken romance, and is rumored to be haunted. Adam and Maddy get caught up in the story of the young couple who were torn apart by family, local events, and something sinister that still seems to be stalking the house. It might not be a ghost, but whatever it is, it has the potential to be deadly.


“Are you sure you want to stay here tonight, honey?”

Adam dropped his sleeping bag over the camping cot he’d brought with him and nodded. “We’ve got the bathroom working and I have a refrigerator with beer in it…” he pointed to a small fridge he’d plugged into the wall, “…and Walter’s bed. What more could I need.”

Maddy swatted at a mosquito and grimaced, wiping the bloody results on her jeans. “I don’t know, mosquito netting, air conditioning, a four-poster bed with foam topping…”

“Don’t be a priss, Mads. If you had any hair on your chest at all you’d stay here with me.”

She snorted. “I’ll let you lay claim to the soft curlies on your chest. I’ll console myself with my comfy bed and fifty-two inch flat screen TV.”

Adam grimaced at that. “Hurt me. I have my entertainment too.” He held up his iPad.

Maddy kissed him on the cheek and started toward the door. “I’ll see you in the morning partner. Don’t let the air bugs bite.”


Walter started out the door with Maddy. “No you don’t, Walter. You have to stay with me.” The big dog whined, dropped to his butt on the dusty floor, and stared longingly after Maddy. “Sorry, buddy. We’re a team, you and me. You go where I go…never leave a man behind…all for one, one for all…that kind of thing.” Walter dropped to his belly with a groan and stared at Adam, accusation running deep in his big, brown eyes. “Don’t look at me like that. You’re a dog. You have your bed, your favorite rawhide, and the great outdoors to poop and pee in. You won’t even miss the fifty-two inch TV.” Adam’s gaze slid to the door Maddy had just gone through. “Or the bug free comfort of your bed. Or a big, fat, juicy steak…” Adam snapped his mouth shut and pushed the thought of food away before it weakened him. He would go into the nearby town of Ashville, Indiana for dinner later. But first, he and Walter would take a walk down to the lake. That is, if Mike and Sue would let them.

The Phantom of the Opera started playing behind him and Adam sucked in a breath, trying to decide if he wanted to answer it. It was Dirk. They were currently not speaking. Well, if Adam answered the phone they would in reality be speaking. But Adam determined he wouldn’t enjoy it.

Dirk was the biggest reason Adam was hiding out at the Bilsworth flip. He didn’t admit that to himself but deep down he knew it was true. They’d been doing so well for weeks, and then Dirk had returned to California to tape his latest film, Dance of the Copper Goddess, a fantasy about a king who pushed everyone away he cared for because he thought loving only one person would limit the potential of his life.

Adam thought Dirk might have immersed himself just a little too deeply into that role. With a sigh, he rummaged around until he found his cell under the pillow he’d carelessly thrown on top of the cot. “Hello.”

“Hey, Ads.”

Dirk’s familiar voice made Adam’s throat tighten with sudden need. He’d fought that need for weeks, trying to convince himself he didn’t need Dirk Williams to survive. Until that moment he’d actually believed he was making progress. “Hi.”

“It’s really good to hear your voice, babe. I’ve missed you.”

Adam dropped onto the cot, fighting to keep the angry tremor from his voice. “Really? I’m surprised.”

The short beat of silence told Adam Dirk hadn’t been expecting his anger. He really didn’t understand why, the last time they’d spoken they’d had a huge fight over the man Dirk had been spending way too much time with in Los Angeles.

Franklin Spence was a Hollywood producer. He was also openly gay. Dirk had been attending a lot of parties with the man and, if the news clips Adam had seen were accurate, weekends at Spence’s mountainside ranch and at a certain oceanside hideaway in the Cayman Islands.

“What does that mean? I always miss you.”

“Yeah. You told me that. Once. Is there something you need, Dirk?” As soon as the words left his mouth Adam cringed. He should never give his ex-lover an opening like that. Because Dirk would invariably come back with something that would wrench Adam’s heart right out of his chest.

“I need you, Ads.” And there it was.

“I wish I could believe that. Unfortunately I don’t. I told you I need a break from us, Dirk. I meant it. Please don’t call me again.”

“Where are you?”

“That’s not important.” Adam disconnected the call and threw his phone onto the cot, suddenly filled with nervous energy. He knew a quiet walk around the property was exactly what he didn’t need at that moment. More time to think was a bad thing. “Change in plans, Walter. Let’s go into town and see what kind of dinner we can scare up.”

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Other books in the series:

A Hoale Lot of Trouble

Hoaley Inexplicable



Monday Musings – Purging, Gack!

I just moved into a house that is much smaller than the one I had before. As a theory it seemed like a good idea…less house to care for, lower monthly bills, and the ability to spend more time writing as a result. Yep, on paper it was an exemplary plan. But in practice it’s been pure hell. I mean, I write about hell dimensions all the time, but I couldn’t in my wildest imagination come up with a hell quite as terrifying as the hell of trying to squeeze twenty cabinets of kitchen stuff into ten, or squishing a closet full of pills, lotions and toiletries into one, under-the-sink cabinet. Arghhhhhh! Not to mention squeezing 13 dogs into less than half the space!

I have to admit I’ve questioned my decision many…many….many times since the moving truck arrived at my cozy new abode. But things are slowly wedging into place and, as with all things, I decided to try to put the experience to good use. I’m crafting a lesson learned from it. (It was either that or fly screaming into full out, drooling madness!) And, imagine my surprise when I realized the lessons learned in my physical reality could be put to equal use in my creative universe. What could I possibly mean, you ask? Okay, let me try to put it in the simplest terms possible.

Basically, it’s a blog post versus a mini-series.

In a blog post, you know you have to keep to a certain number of words because, let’s face it, today’s online reader is a busy, impatient creature. If your post is longer than, say, 500 words, you’re gonna start losing readers. At 700 words they’re dropping like flies, and at 900 your readership looks like the aftermath of a nuclear accident. There’s nobody left standing. #:0) So you need to write in succinct, clear sentences. Every word must carry its own weight, each paragraph has a distinct task. There are no extra cabinets to stuff excessive words into and not a spare closet in sight to fill with extraneous detail. After you have a draft you must purge and purge and purge again until your place in the sun or bit of prose is tighter than prissy Aunt Fanny’s ass at a porn convention. And then you might have something worth reading.

Of course, if you’re writing that mini-series you can stretch your creative legs a little. You have cabinets and closets galore. But most of us aren’t that lucky. And to tell you the truth, cozy is good. Cozy is…well cozy. #:0) In fact, I’d venture to say that cozy is the new blockbuster.

Happy reading slash writing everybody!

New Release – SIZZLED! Coming August 8th!



Intergalactic intrigue, sizzling sexual tension, and a giant snake shifter to be vanquished. Things are never dull.

Enjoying much-deserved R&R on the black sand beaches of the ruling Authority’s planet Enitrus, Cliff Blood is not happy when his brother Matt and his lover Rum show up to spoil his vacay with bad news. It seems Brand Lotus, evil snake-villain with a plan to take over Earth by force, has been discovered heading back to Earth and he’s targeting the Bloods’ favorite cops.

Problem is, the Blood boys aren’t going to make it back to Earth before Lotus gets there, so Littlejohn and Petra have to fend for themselves, while negotiating a new development in their relationship that already has them slightly off-balance.


The air smelled like flowers, and the place where she rested was cool and quiet. Her limbs felt unnaturally heavy and her eyes seemed stuck closed. Petra lay there for a long moment, afraid she was dead. On some level she realized the thought should be terrifying, but she appeared unable to work up any fear. A curious calm had settled over her.

After a moment she became aware of a strange whirring sound that accompanied each burst of flower-scented air. Her mind cast around for something familiar to tie the sound to. Nothing surfaced.

“She’s awake.”

Petra jumped slightly, her eyelids quivering at the unfamiliar voice. It was tinny, like it came from a long way away. A cool breeze slipped across her cheeks and something soft touched her skin.

“Come on, beauty. Open those pretty eyes.”

Petra reached up and rubbed her face where the touch had tickled it. She managed to crank her eyes open enough to see that she was in some kind of garden, surrounded by green plants and flowers. The sunlight stung and her lids snapped shut again.

“Lower the light, Blossom.”

Petra frowned. How did one lower the sunlight? Filled with curiosity about the voice, she fought to open her lids again. A large bug buzzed by her nose and she lifted a hand toward it.

“Hey! Watch out, beauty. You almost clipped my wing there.”

Petra’s eyes opened wide and focused on the tiny man hovering before her on the air, dragon-fly-like wings beating wildly. He was dressed all in green, with a mop of red hair that fell into his eyes. His tiny face was handsome despite the glare, and his arms were crossed over his chest in annoyance. “I’m…” Her voice croaked and she coughed. Her throat felt like it was filled with sand. “I’m sorry. I thought you were a bug.”

The glare deepened and a leather-clad toe tapped the air. “And that’s supposed to make me feel better.”

Petra suddenly realized what she was seeing before her eyes. “You’re a fairy.”

Tiny red eyebrows lifted, disappearing beneath the mop of red. “Beauty and brains. I’m impressed.”

Petra licked her dry lips. “I’m smart enough to know sarcasm when I hear it.”

The fairy’s glare finally disappeared, replaced by a wide smile. The smile looked very natural there. “Okay, I’ll forgive you. I’m sure you’re disoriented from your healing.” He surged forward, going horizontal and hovering inches from her face so he could look into her eyes. “Just watch those hands while you’re down here. Not everybody’s thrilled to have giants in our midst.”

Petra frowned. Giants? But the little fairy buzzed away, quick as a blink, and Petra was left with a hundred questions on the tip of her tongue and nobody to ask. First things first, she decided. She needed to figure out where she was. Petra pushed herself into a sitting position and looked around. She’d been lying in the center of a circular patch of dark green grass. Lush and blemish-free, the grassy area was surrounded by bushes of the deepest green, which were densely covered in flowers as big as her hand. The blossoms represented all the colors of the rainbow.

She realized she wasn’t lying under the sun as she’d first assumed. The walls around her were covered in vines with wide, triangular leaves, whose veins were a deep red color, like blood. She tilted her head and looked up, up, up to a circle of glass that was heavily etched with some kind of hieroglyphic symbols.

“A ward to keep evil and humans out. I’m told.”

Petra jumped at the sound of Littlejohn’s voice, right behind her. She slapped a hand over her chest and twisted around to glare at him. “You scared the shit out of me. Where did you come from, anyway?”

Littlejohn’s handsome face was pinched, and dark circles stained the area beneath his eyes. “I went to get these.” He handed her a small, white plate covered in something that looked like pink crackers. “Fairy bread. It doesn’t look like much but it packs quite a punch.” His smile was weary.

She took one of the dishes from him, looking around. “Where are we?”

“The fairy mound.”

“Seriously?” Petra laughed. “I can’t believe you lowered yourself –”

“Shhh! For God’s sake. Don’t piss them off. They appear to be highly sensitive, and when you make them mad those wings buzz so loud it takes an hour for your eardrums to return to normal.”

Petra smiled. “You’re afraid of a bunch of fairies?”

He arched an eyebrow. “You’ve met Rum, right? Think thousands of Rums.”

She blinked and then nodded, lowering her voice. “I see your point.”

Book page with additional excerpt!

My Sexy Saturday – SIZZLED!

SizzledCoverFinalIntergalactic intrigue, sizzling sexual tension, and a giant snake shifter to be vanquished. Things are never dull.

Enjoying much-deserved R&R on the black sand beaches of the ruling Authority’s planet Enitrus, Cliff Blood is not happy when his brother Matt and his lover Rum show up to spoil his vacay with bad news. It seems Brand Lotus, evil snake-villain with a plan to take over Earth by force, has been discovered heading back to Earth and he’s targeting the Bloods’ favorite cops.

Problem is, the Blood boys aren’t going to make it back to Earth before Lotus gets there, so Littlejohn and Petra have to fend for themselves, while negotiating a new development in their relationship that already has them slightly off-balance.


A low growl was all the warning she got.

He grabbed her wrist and yanked her around, pulling her against his long, hard body with a firm but gentle tug. She gasped as her breasts smacked up against his chest and looked up, feeling the first thin ribbon of fear as his growl deepened, finally turning to words. “You know damn well that was a hell of a lot more than a simple kiss, Pet.”

She swallowed, licking her suddenly dry lips. “What was it then? Tell me, Littlejohn.”

His gaze devoured her face, his hips arching to press a monumental hard-on into her belly. He lifted a hand to skim super-heated fingers over her bottom lip, tugging it down as his gaze locked on, his chest still rumbling under a growl. “It was life-changing. It was…” he lowered his head until his breath fanned her face with sweet heat. “It was terrifying and addictive.” His lips touched hers, lightly, oh-so-lightly, but the impact of that feathery touch slammed through her, turning her muscles to jelly.

Littlejohn tightened his arm around her waist when her knees gave out, holding her against his delicious length. “And I never wanted it to stop.” He lowered his lips to hers and groaned as she lifted her arms, twining them around his neck and giving herself over completely to the kiss.

Awareness blasted through her. His taste, his scent, the feel of his smooth, iron muscles under her splayed fingers, it all combined to overwhelm her senses and send her spiraling into ravenous need. Her sexual core tightened, pulsing hungrily, and her mind shut down as his hand slipped from her waist to encompass her ass, pulling her even more tightly against the long, thick ridge of flesh beneath the flimsy boxers.

Petra thought she might combust. Heat flared through her, firing her skin and making her pussy throb from the rush of blood. She wrapped her legs around his waist and let him hold her off the ground as she tilted her head and deepened the kiss, her tongue sliding hungrily against his and her hands painting his skin in bold strokes.

Available August 8th, here!


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