Archive | October 2013

Can This Relationship Be Saved?

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Before I started dating, I always thought that if a guy cheated on me, that was IT. I’d kick him to the curb without a second thought.

And when it did, eventually, happen to me, I did just that.

What surprised me, though, were the reactions of my friends. My guy friends cheered me on. My girl friends kept staying that, just maybe, I’d been a little harsh. Perhaps I should’ve talked to him about it (the only talking I did was to confirm that he did, indeed, cheat). How could I date a guy one day and kick him to the curb the next? I felt we had dated long enough that I knew I wasn’t in love with him (we were in college), and he obviously felt the same way: he just skipped the “breaking things off part.”

Well, in Covert Assignment, Elle is faced with a similar situation. She returns to her final year of college to find out her boyfriend of several years, Adam, has cheated on her with a classmate. For her, the seriousness of their relationship made it a tougher decision.

Adam looked like he was about to jump out of his seat or fidget his way out of it. “It wasn’t anything serious! She doesn’t mean anything to me. We have plans, a future. I still want that.”

They did have a plan. A good plan. Elle knew, however, that just like a mathematical model, plans were not infallible. Adam was no stranger to mathematical models, so she decided to approach things from that angle.

“Think of a mathematical model,” Elle said. Adam’s eyebrows raised, but he didn’t say anything, so she continued. “All models rest on certain assumptions, right?”

Adam nodded and swallowed more beer. He looked wary about where this conversation was headed.

“And when you find out the assumptions you based your model on are violated, then the whole model comes into question, right?”

Adam was beginning to look rather queasy as he nodded.

“And then there are the variables in the model.” Elle heard her voice become stronger, steadier. She was on terra firma now. “If you don’t have the right variables or you don’t have them weighted correctly, then the results are inaccurate. The model is flawed.”

Adam was still nodding as Elle looked at him expectantly. After some silence, he asked, “So where are you going with this?”

Elle wanted to reach across the table and slap him for being dense if nothing else. “I’m saying,” she began, pausing to drink some beer, “maybe our model… is flawed in some way.”

“No.” Adam shook his head with vigor for emphasis. “Our model is not flawed. This incident is just an outlier.”

“I had certain… assumptions,” Elle replied.

“Those assumptions are valid,” Adam insisted.

Elle raised an eyebrow. Oh, really? She continued, “Those assumptions were violated.”

***

“I have to earn your trust back; I get that.” Adam said. He reached out for her balled up fist on the table, but Elle snatched her hand back without thinking. After a pause, Adam went on. “I don’t want to be with Bella. I want to be with you. I don’t need a break to tell me that.”

“Then why did you let it happen in the first place?” Elle couldn’t hide a slight tremor in her voice, but she was able to keep her vision clear as she looked at him.

Adam slumped back in his chair. “I don’t know. If I’d been sober, this never would’ve happened.”

“Being drunk doesn’t make you just screw any random chick,” Elle persisted.

“It does when they’re half naked and crawl into your lap, pushing their t**s in your face!” Adam took a swig of beer. “I’m a guy, Elle.”

“You’re a guy.” Elle took a deep swallow of beer herself, focusing on the burn as it went down. If she were tipsy, she would be less likely to physically attack him, at any rate. She fixed him with a glare. “Give me a f***ing break. You wouldn’t accept it if I f***ed some guy just because he flashed his d**k in my face.”

Adam looked astonished. Elle couldn’t blame him; she didn’t typically talk like this at all. She was practically channeling Marni. When it became clear he wasn’t going to speak, Elle spoke again. “You’re attracted to her.”

“Come on, Elle: Bella has more t**s than brains,” Adam said.

It wasn’t quite the resounding “no” he’d been offering earlier. When Elle swallowed the last of her beer, the buzz was painful in her throat and chest. “Maybe that doesn’t matter to you as much as you say it does,” she said.

“Of course it matters-“ Adam began, but Elle interrupted.

“Alcohol loosens inhibitions. When your inhibition was loosened, you slept with her.” She looked him right in the eye. “Because you wanted to.

And therein lies the rub.

FYI: there aren’t any asterisks in the book ;).

Striking Out On Your Own

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When babies start to crawl, one thing they’ll do is crawl away from their mother and then crawl back, touch her foot, crawl a little further away, then crawl back and touch her foot again, before wandering out a little further, etc. This is a process called anchoring. The baby is making sure mom is still there before exploring further because mom is a secure base.

That’s what the new adult stage of life is like. On one hand, you’re on your own (whether you’re in college, working, etc). As much as you enjoy being on your own and not being told what to do, you know that secure base (your parents’ house) is there for you if you need it (not that you could ever imagine wanting it, especially when you’re a teenager).

Well, if your parents aren’t that interested in providing a secure base because they’re doing their own things, then it makes the whole process of striking out on your own very different. That’s Elle’s situation in Covert Assignment. Here’s an excerpt of Elle calling her mother:

There was a long pause as Elle mentally fortified herself.

“Well, I’m interviewing for jobs,” she said.

Silence.

“They’re going well- the interviews,” she hastened to add. “I’m just not sure when something will actually come through.”

After another pause that almost became physically painful, her mother said, “You know Lindsay’s in your old room now.”

“Yeah, yeah- I remember.” Elle was quick to respond.

After another pause, her mother said, “Ellie, something will come up. You’re a great student coming from a well-regarded university. Something will come up.”

“I know,” Elle agreed. “It’s just when that’s the question.” Another pause. “Something had better come up, I guess.” She forced a brief laugh. Nothing about this conversation was a surprise, but somehow, that didn’t make it any easier. She knew from the time she was a kid that she was the leftovers.

“Listen, Steve was home sick from school today-” her mother started.

Elle allowed her the graceful exit. “Oh, no problem- hope he’s feeling better soon.” She hung up.

Maybe she should sell those damn graduation tickets.

Lucky for Elle, she’s up for the challenge of not having involved parents! She’s got it all planned out, until she learns that not everything goes according to plan…

Photo Courtesy of Free Digital Photos.net

Giveaway! Win A Free ARC Of Covert Assignment!

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Mia at Mia’s Point of View is celebrating her Facebook page getting 1,000 likes! She’s celebrating with a Giveaway of free books. Covert Assignment is just one of the books available: there are some great books available over there.

What better way is there to try a new book than to get one for free?

You can enter at Mia’s Giveway on her website or on her FB page, too. Why not give her a like while you’re there?

Reaching 1,000 likes is quite a milestone: congrats, Mia!

Photo Courtesy of Free Digital Photos.net

Covert Assignment Reviews

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The Covert books aren’t available for purchase yet, but some people have been kind enough to read and review ARCs (advanced reader copies) beforehand. They’ll be available in early Decemeber 2013, and I’ll make sure to post links here when that happens. Meanwhile, hear what some other people think about Covert Assignment, the first book.

There will be a lot more reviews coming in December. If you’re interested in reading and reviewing an ARC, please sign up for my Mailing List (I’ll be offering ARCs for review there) or you can leave me a message here in the comments section below.

Photo Courtesy of Free Digital Photos.Net

Introducing…The Covert Series!

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“Life is a journey, not a destination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As people read Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of Covert Assignment, I’m getting a lot of questions about what, exactly, the series is, so I thought I’d sneak out of my writing cave to explain a little more about the series.

When I first heard about the New Adult category, I can’t tell you how excited I was. New adulthood is that period of time (roughly ages 18-25) when you finally get that first taste of independence. If you go away to college, no one is telling you when you have to be home, when you can go out, when to eat, etc. Getting that first job after college (or right out of high school) let’s you know real quick you’re not a student anymore. That’s a time period of great transition, and I was eager to write about it. You can learn more about the New Adult category at the fantastic NA Alley.

So take the idea of writing about the new adult period in life, add in my love of the TV shows Alias and Covert Affairs, and I came up with the Covert Series. The Covert Series is about Elle and her experience making that transition from student life into adulthood.

  • The first book, Covert Assignment, is about Elle preparing to leave college, eager to become a “full-fledged” adult, with a plan for a fulfilling professional and personal life. That plan is destroyed when she arrives for her final semester of college, however.
  • The second book in the series, Covert Interview, is about Elle dealing with her first job (which, for her, happens to be the CIA) and dealing with the realities of “a fling” with hot agent Preston Raddick. She learns about making a commitment and manages to do so, but working for the CIA has a personal cost.
  • The third book in the series, tentatively titled Cover Cracked, is about Elle dealing with ramifications of being in the CIA and the toll it takes on her ability to have a meaningful personal relationship. She thinks she has it covered but learns otherwise. Luckily, she’s smart enough to figure out what’s wrong. Then she just needs to develop the courage to make it right.

Now I know the most popular genre in New Adult is romance. And there is romance in these books (it’s a key part of being an adult, right?). Elle does get her HEA- in the third book. That’s because, as I see it, the most challenging part of becoming an adult is learning to deal with all the unexpected things that come your way once you’re no longer at home or in the college “cocoon.” That’s why I also think of the Covert Series as a coming of age series.

Check back here: I’ll be talking more about the Covert Series as their publication date (early December 2013) draws near. If you want to hear about when they release, feel free to sign up for my Mailing List. I won’t share or sell this list with anyone, and I will only send an email out to announce a new release (I know we all get more than enough email as it is).

I hope you’ll like getting to know Elle!