My Travel Bucket List

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As I’m working on my current WIP, Pure Dumb Luck, I’m thinking a lot about travel. Growing up, we travelled a lot. I’ve lived in five countries and visited well over twenty. But, I still have a bucket list of places I’d loved to visit–or revisit in some cases.

  1. Australia
  2. New Zealand
  3. United Kingdom
  4. France
  5. Norway, to visit my cousin.
  6. Alaska
  7. Singapore, even though I lived there for ten years. I’d love to visit again.
  8. Spain
  9. Canada (Vancouver and Prince Edward Island, especially)
  10. Japan

What’s on your travel bucket list?

Book Review: One Last Heist

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“Dude. This was one of the funniest books I have ever read. I think this is the first I’ve read of this author. Honestly, I can’t be 100% because I read so much lol. Yikes. But this book was so good. The relationship and chemistry between the two MCs is just the best. Even with being married. It’s funny, snarky yet loving, and definitely off the charts hot. I laughed so hard every time Toshiro would snark or comment at Mack in another language. Oh man, it’s so funny. It’s so good, too, because it’s a mystery. A good whodunnit and why? Betrayals, murder, and so much more, while working heists and not getting caught.”

5 Stars from Becca at Love Bytes

Book Excerpt: One Last Heist

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Excerpt:

“Would you just admit you can’t see in the dark?” Toshiro snapped in pure frustration. “Mack. Are you listening to me?”

“I’m fine. My ears work perfectly.”

Fine.

He’s fine.

Right.

Fine, my arse.

Well, my arse is fine.

“You walked into the table.” Toshiro watched in the darkened room through the night vision on his camera while his stubborn husband stumbled around. “And into the sofa—oh, and the wall. Classic. You’re supposed to crack the safe, not take a header into it.”

“Toshi,” Mack whispered his nickname sharply. “Couldn’t you yell at me in Cantonese or Japanese or any one of the hundred languages you speak? It would still be distracting, but I wouldn’t understand a word of it.”

“I speak thirty languages—not a hundred.” Toshiro grinned even though Mack couldn’t see it. “I suppose the point of a timed run-through of cracking the safe might require your full attention. Oh, look, you tripped over the carpet again.”

Toshiro Ueda-Easton.

Gregor Tempest Mackay Ueda-Easton. Fine, fine. I’ll be quiet. Continue walking into the wall, but I’m not explaining your concussion to the others.” Toshiro continued to ramble about the idiotic stubbornness of his husband in Portuguese, one of the many languages he’d picked up over the years. “Idiota.

“I understood that one.” Mack tossed one of the drill bits of his safe-drilling rig in his husband’s general direction—missing him completely. “Keep cussing me out in Spanish.”

“Portuguese.”


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Book Excerpt: The Wanderer

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Weddings.
Weddings were a pain more excruciating than a broken nose, or tooth, or both—an event to be avoided when at all possible. Only the blissfully ignorant would voluntarily submit themselves to the farce of “marital bliss,” never mind the noise, whimpering women, and a priest who would undoubtedly drone on and on unless someone whacked him upside the head.
Why did I agree to this shit? If this bint sobs into my sleeve one more sodding time, I’ll shove her into the aisle, manners be damned. I should’ve claimed a sudden bout of dengue fever in Macau and been done with it.
Graham Hodson had returned home early from yet another adventure to attend the wedding of his best mate, Francis, and his soon-to-be husband, former rugby star Caddock Stanford. He’d contemplated doing a runner. His twin brother, Rupert, had threatened to drag him in by the ear, pointing out that they couldn’t disappoint their childhood friend, could they?
Even if he were tempted to do so, Joanne, Rupert’s wife, had promised untold pain if he did anything to ruin Francis’s day. The spoilsport also vetoed all of his ideas to improve the day for the two grooms. He didn’t see why they wouldn’t enjoy having massive cod strung up to their escape vehicle.
Graham glanced across the room, and his mood brightened when he spotted an old mate, Jack Sasaki. They’d spent summers playing on Cornwall beaches together as kids, along with Rupert. They often flirted with the same boys, though one date with each other had been enough to realise they made far better friends.
The half-Japanese and half-Cornish man made his living as a barber a few villages over, in Fowey. Graham hadn’t seen him in a while and would have to find time while home to have a beer and chat with him. He hoped Jack was having better luck romantically than he currently was.
Wanderlust didn’t come with the perks of being romantically available. His passport might’ve been filled with stamps, but his nights had been filled with loneliness—aside from occasional casual sex. His adventures brought joy to his life.
I don’t sodding need anyone to be happy.
 
Now, repeat the mantra until the wedding stops making you act stupidly moody.
It might be the wedding of a close friend, but boredom continued to make his mind drift. Did anyone other than the couple care about the cute dog with a bow tie or the adorable child in the tuxedo? No. The answer would always be no. People went to ceremonies for the food and drink that followed after, and no one would ever be able to convince him otherwise.
A sniffle from the woman beside him was a reminder that maybe some people did care. With a less cynical view, Graham could admit the tuxedos had been well chosen. Tastefully done bouquets of white roses were adorned with pale blue ribbons that had antiqued copper rugby charms dangling from them.
Adorable.
Graham could also admit, however painfully, that the blissful happiness on Francis’s face made him slightly envious. “Sodding weddings.”
A gasp from the weepy twit reminded him not to mutter out loud. He summoned a smile when Francis glanced his way. The things one did for friends.
Oh, hello.
 
Who the bloody hell are you?
 
Never mind who you are. Can I see you naked?
An absolutely gorgeous bloke sitting on Caddock’s side of the church had caught his attention. Tall, with a closely shaved head and black beard, he had a strong jaw—sharp lines all over really, from what Graham could see. He wore a suit that bordered on obscene for the way it clung to his muscled form.
Suddenly this event looks far more interesting than it did a minute ago. Now how do I get myself an introduction? Should be easy. It’s a wedding; single people come to hook up at them, right?
 
Right.
Their eyes met. Almost identical grins of acknowledgement followed, which intrigued Graham. People didn’t always read him so well. Mr Tall, Bald, and Gorgeous smirked as if he knew exactly what Graham had been thinking.
They’d definitely made a connection.
Interesting.
If the wedding ceremony hadn’t been in full swing, Graham would’ve immediately wandered over to introduce himself. They settled for not so subtle flirtatious smirks. His impatience grew more palpable waiting for it to be over.
Their eyes continually drifted towards one another. An electric shock hit him each time. It sounded dramatic even in his head—but he did feel a mysterious sense of adventure just from contemplating a brief encounter with the mystery man.

Book Review: The Wanderer

3bd01-the2bwanderer_frontcover“BC and Graham grabbed my heart from the beginning. I love how their relationship progresses and the instant attraction for one another. This book definitely has it’s ups and downs so if you’re looking for something strictly fun this is not it. Real characters, real life problems, and very real emotions. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!” ~ 5 Stars Amazon Customer

How One Line Becomes Fifty Thousand Words

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I can’t speak for others, but my ideas come from a variety of places and almost always surprise me. At War with a Broken Heart was no different. It started with a song.

In my typical autistic way, I listened to Be Still by The Fray about a hundred times. I became obsessed. It even lulled me to sleep for months.

And then, from the vibe of the song, came a single line: “You broke me. You lost the right to put me back together.”

I had that line rolling around in my head for days.

It didn’t fit anything I planned to work on, so I jotted it down in an empty A5 Muji notebook (I use them for my book bibles.)

One line became a conversation.

“You broke me. You lost the right to put me back together.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Well, I hope it made you feel better to finally say the words. I still feel like shit.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You sent me to war with a broken heart.”

The characters hadn’t even been named yet. I didn’t know who said which part. Or if this would turn into a second chance romance.

It didn’t.

And then, Fie Morogh Russell came first. Beardy bear of a man who makes pottery. The painful, heart-breaking words were his. His character clung to my muse.

Very distract and annoying since I was working on a different novel.

Some characters make me work for it. I tug their secrets out like a dentist with a wisdom tooth. Fie flooded my brain with more information than I could handle.

I knew he’d gone to war with a broken heart and returned a shattered soul. He’d lost friends—and himself in many ways.

He hid away with his dog, his music, and his pottery.

But those words wouldn’t leave me.

And At War with a Broken Heart finally came to live with Fie, Davet, and Sid.

It’s amazing how one line of dialogue can spawn a fifty-something word novel.

Book Excerpt: Dead in the Shop

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“If you put naked gnomes in your garden….” Reggie trailed off, seeming completely at a loss for how to finish his sentence. “Can you not antagonise the woman?”

“I could.” Valor had no intentions of stopping their gnome wars. He thought it a perfectly passive-aggressive punishment for their nosy and bigoted neighbour. She disliked them because of their relationship and Bishan’s ethnicity. “But I won’t. Not going to apologise either.”

“Fine.” Reggie shook his head and chuckled. “I’ve already spoken to her about it. I did point out the gnomes are in your garden.”

Valor reached down to grab a stray frog, tossing it over the fence. “Unlike her amphibians.”

“What are you doing?”

“Making it rain?” Valor snickered with the detective. “Sorry.”

“Don’t lie to the police.” Reggie laughed. “She’ll send another complaint, and I have better things to do than write reports about flying frogs.”

“Really?” Valor wondered if he could get a copy of one of those reports to frame and put on the wall. “Could I—”

“No, I’m not making copies for you.” Reggie glared at him, proving how well he’d gotten to know them. “Why don’t we have tea inside? Prevent Mrs Harris from pelting you with frogs.”

“Will rivers of blood be next?” Valor wandered into the cottage with Staccato and Reggie following close behind. “Bish?”

“Made tea.” Bishan waved at Reggie and plucked Staccato off the floor. “Did you chuck another frog over the fence?”

“Who, me?”

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Nook: http://bit.ly/2LUULhw