I grew up in first in the suburbs and then in the mountains, but in both I played the kind of outdoor games kids used to play. (And maybe still do in some places.) We took on the roles of characters from movies, played spies and cowboys, built forts and fought imaginary battles. Then, as now, I objected to being relegated to the ‘women’s roles’. And if you think that in this ‘year of the woman’ that there aren’t some people who want women to ‘assume the position’, then you haven’t been watching politics. Or you missed the meme with the girl with the gun walking into a rundown location with the caption – ‘she’d die if she went in there’. Would a man? What were they trying to say?
When I wrote Nike’s Wings I already knew that women were taking a more active role in the C.I.A. After all, Valerie Plame was plastered all over the headlines at the time. So it wasn’t that much of a stretch for me to imagine Nike. By then there was also Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft and Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, too, and we’ve been seeing other kick-ass women. The one thing I did object to was the emotional distance in many of those women – it seemed as if they were really just men in women’s clothing.
I wrote Nike for a number of reasons, but primarily because I wanted to illustrate that some of the dangers this country – and other countries around the world – face come from a new kind of enemy. An enemy that doesn’t have a country but an ideology – like Al Qaeda – or only greed – as in the Mexican cartels and other crime syndicates like it. It was born of something I’d read about how terrorists could enter the country via known drug routes. I wanted to illustrate that danger.
Oh, and of course, I also wanted to write a great and entertaining story…
Yes, there’s a certain amount of politics involved in it – that was inevitable. We live in times that are far more political than ideological, and in ways with which I wasn’t always comfortable.
It took the opening sequence to a James Bond movie – and I wanted Nike to be a little like Bond without the martinis and elegant clothes, but more grounded in reality – to give me Nike’s capabilities. That’s where I really noticed parkour for the first time. A little research was all that was needed, and I knew that at one time I might have been able to do some of those stunts.
From all of that Nike Tallent was born – a woman highly trained in parkour, martial arts and assassination. I also wanted her to be well-rounded and realistic, to watch her grow from the distance her circumstances and career had forced her to maintain.
I took a few hits from people – particularly and surprisingly from women ( a few men objected to the politics) – about Nike and her abilities. (Others – both women and men – cheered.)
So I was exceptionally pleased, and more than a little vindicated, to see Zero Dark Thirty hit the movie theaters to such acclaim, featuring a female CIA operative in a prominent role. Not to mention that the director of the movie was also female. It was great to see Jessica Chastain take the Golden Globe award for her role in the film.
Despite everything else, though, Nike’s Wings was a fun and challenging book to write, I hope more people get the chance to meet her.
Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005GHE94K
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Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005GHE94K
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/79960
I received a wonderful review on Director’s Cut from Jessie at Love on the Bookshelf ( http://loveonthebookshelf.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/review-director%E2%80%99s-cut/ ). She’s a theater geek like me and in the review she makes mention of my “knowledgeable descriptions of acting in a Community Theater production.”
That brought back memories, both good and bad. Yep, been there, done that – and I sometimes miss it. It was great fun at a time in my life when I hadn’t expected to be having fun.
I’d just gotten divorced and was struggling with that, with confidence. Whatever the reasons, however right they might be, a divorce is still an admission that you failed in some intrinsic way. Between one thing and another, I’d also lost some weight and (judging by the pictures) looked pretty good. I was oblivious, still trying to regain my confidence.
Then one day I walked past the old Sherman Theater – and saw an old announcement that they were doing auditions. Sometimes the right things happen at the right time. I’d missed the audition but they needed someone to play the part of the girlfriend in Witness for the Prosecution – the opening scene in Director’s Cut. Me, sexy? That little black-striped dress in the scene? I KILLED in it. *sigh, smiling*
Many of the events in Director’s Cut mirrored real life events, with a few changes. Of course the names of both the guilty and the innocent have been changed. The on-stage action? That reflected many of my own experiences treading the boards. I still have the reviews to show for it.
Most of the Millersburg Quartet series are based on real-life events. Not all.
But the memories are priceless.
B&N Nook – (special price for the Nook)
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When I started to write the Millersburg Quartet series, I wanted to write about the girls who had been geeks in high school, the nerds, the outcasts, the ones who were different, who never quite fit in. You know. Us.
We hung together, some of us, against the cliques and groups and some of us stayed friends for a long time after high school and college.
Ali was the smart one, taking college courses while still in high school. A meteoric rise though led to an equally meteoric fall. To add insult to injury she discovered that her boyfriend had gotten engaged. To someone else. With her life and career in shambles, she goes in search of her mother’s roots in Ireland. When she offers Aidan O’Connell a lift from his broken down car, she gains a handsome tour guide. But there’s a lot she doesn’t know about Aidan. Is he only looking for a brief Irish Fling?
Cam Kenyon has come home a different woman than the one that left. Always the sensible one, she’s now a respected psychologist. If only she could apply that new-found confidence to Noah Denton, her old high school crush and the candidate for District Attorney. Some things haven’t changed. But when she learns Noah’s opponent is resorting to Dirty Politics, she can’t stand aside.
Molly was the theater geek but now she’s a teacher and her only forays in the theater are with the local community theater group. Then bad boy director Jack Tyler shows up, trying to wrestle his demons while rediscover his love of the craft. Getting involved with Jack is a risk. Is it one Molly’s willing to take? Will she make the Director’s Cut?
The wild child of the four, sculptor and welder Jesse Chamberlain has always been impulsive. For Mitch Donovan, whose world has been turned upside down, she’s just the thing to shake him out of the tailspin he’s been in. Suddenly he’s riding Two Up and the writer’s block that’s plagued him has vanished. The announcement of a new M. J. Donovan novel, though, brings a fan out of hiding. What he doesn’t count on is Jesse.
Here’s a bit of trivia for fans. Almost all of these stories were inspired by real life, some by real people and/or real places. Like the solo trip to Ireland from Irish Fling and the grotto in the woods with its homemade hot tub in Two Up. The rest I’ll leave you all to guess. I hope you all enjoy them.
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Writing The Last Resort was such a strange and wonderful experience. It’s very loosely based on real events and some real people (names changed to protect the guilty). A part of me is curious if readers will be able to tell which is which, some of the characters definitely felt as real to me as their living counterparts.
It’s also the only one of my books written in the first person and of all my characters, Carrie is the closest to me as a person. And, strangely, it’s been a bridge between the past and the present – the description of the character of Drew, based on a real person I never met, closely resembles my husband in a lot of ways. Who I didn’t meet until after I wrote it.
A mix of thriller, mystery and romance, despite that at its core it has a lighter heart than many of my other books. A missing coed, a group of people dedicated to helping people escape domestic violence, and a budding romance between two people who haven’t have much luck at love. All that’s about to change.
The Last Resort
When Jack Spencer, the Head of Security for Fairview Mountain Resort calls to ask her to find a missing coed, computer tech and sometimes troubleshooter Carrie Anderson answers. The last thing the resort needs is bad publicity. Jack knows that on the side, Carrie is part of a team that help domestic violence victims escape their homes and abusers. Complicating things is the handsome new attorney that just joined the team.
What she finds though will test all her skills at making people disappear and put all their lives in danger.
(My name is Carrie Anderson and this was a helluva first rescue for Drew…)
There was banging on the doors above us.
“Can you hear him?” I asked the 911 operator.
“Yes, ma’am. I heard that. Officers are on their way.” “How long?”
In rural areas like ours, it could be as short as twenty minutes – too long – or even longer, before help arrived.
She hesitated. “They’re coming as quickly as they can.”
In other words, too long. Okay. Back to Plan A.
I peeked out the window. He was standing out there pacing in agitation, pulling on his hair. He kicked the door, pulled something big, shiny, and metallic out of his pocket, and pointed it at the door. He thought about it. Now I could clearly see it. Definitely a gun. Abruptly, he turned and started across the parking lot. I hit mute.
“Everyone up the stairs,” I said.
I led the way. “I go first. If I yell ‘back’, get back inside the door, lock it, and go back downstairs into the bathroom. Okay? Don’t argue, don’t stop, just go. Got it?”
They nodded. Sandy looked very shaky.
“Don’t fall apart on me now,” I cautioned. “Remember the children.”
Her eyes widened, but she seemed to steady.
No window in the door. Take a chance, unlock it, and look? I had to.
Easing back the lock, I pulled open the door a crack and peeked out.
He was standing at the edge of the parking lot by the road, irresolutely. He glanced back and I prayed he couldn’t tell the door was ajar. I held up a hand to the others. Wait.
Turning, he looked both ways and trotted down the road with determination. It made sense. If no one was here, the most likely place the Pastor would have taken them would have been the parsonage. His home. I wanted Miller on the porch. The parsonage was an old forties style two-story, with a wide porch that wrapped around one side. Two windows overlooked the porch and the door into the house was along the side. For thirty seconds or so we’d be out of view. Please.
The wait seemed interminable. I kept praying for sirens, but I didn’t hear them yet. Come on, come on. Down the road, Miller was trotting now, in a hurry. If he heard sirens, he’d turn around, make a run for his car. In his state of mind, he’d be almost sure they were coming for him. I wasn’t sure which to root for. Go, just please go.
He was up on the porch. Please let the Pastor’s wife be gone, or let him be on good behavior. Then he was around the corner.
“Now.” I sprinted out the door and hit the remote lock release on my car. “Drew, front seat. Pastor and Sandy, back. Dog and kids on the floor.”
Doors flew open as I rammed the key into the ignition and started the car. Doors slammed.
“Seatbelts,” I shouted, ramming mine into place before throwing the car in gear. My eyes were glued to the rearview mirror.
The slamming doors on a quiet Thursday afternoon had gotten his attention. I could see his tiny figure come flying off the porch at a dead run.
I hit the gas and shot the car toward the dirt road. Dust plumed behind us. I heard a noise, a bang, something. Please let it be too far away. Drew had a hand braced on the dashboard of the car, the other cradling a child’s head against his knee to keep it from bouncing off the bottom of the dash. Good man. The child looked up at me with wide, frightened eyes.
The Last Resort – available through Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/62262,
Barnes & Noble http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Last-Resort/Valerie-Douglas/e/2940012614605
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I had two great reviews for Cooking Class this week, from opposite ends of the erotica readers spectrum – someone who has never read one and someone who loves them – both gave it five stars.
wistfulskimmie on Jun. 15, 2011 :
This was my first introduction into reviewing an erotic book. Boy what an introduction it was! It was sort of Hell’s Kitchen meets Kitchen Nightmares with a whole load of sauce added.
That being said, all the steamy scenes (and wow were they steamy!) were very tastefully done. I never felt they were gratuitous and they fitted in with the story.
I would be interested to read more from this author as I feel she writes from a woman’s point of view…for women. A classy novel that I very much enjoyed.
5.0 out of 5 stars ;0), June 16, 2011
Lady Raven “Raven Rave” I’m speechless, I had to give myself a minute before I reviewed. When I first picked up the book I thought it was something else completely, as much as I love hardcore erotica I never really got into the menage romances, I felt it was too much for me with 3 different emotions. This was my first and I have to admit WOW what a read, by the third chapter alone ok what they did and what they did with the sauce *blushing* might have to look at sauces differently for awhile. It did remind me of the tv show Hell’s Kitchen that I am a fan of with Evan’s temper that people seem to be afraid of, Dylan very sexy and Lily I’m jealous of her lol.
This book literally had steam coming from it Double your Pleasure Double your Fun with this book, it has the sexy guys, and lovable female and sex, sex, sex and more hot sex. So be warn ahead of time if all these things are not on your checklist of things you like in a book then I don’t know what to tell you but I surely enjoy the read.
Cooking Class –
Lily Cavanaugh did it the hard way. She’d apprenticed under Master Chef Evan Taylor until he threw one temper tantrum too many. She was madly in love with him but so was every other woman who worked for him. So she walked away and built her own restaurant. Then Evan and the director of his new TV show, Dylan Bryant, walk into her restaurant to offer her an intriguing proposition…
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