In my “About Me” page on my website I mention that “In my romances, I focus on vulnerable, embraceable characters who don’t back down.” Doing that effectively is very important to me when I’m writing. I put my heart and soul into characterization that reaches deeply into the human experience. Humans are complex and I feel we only touch a bare edge of the complexity of life. I want my characters to suffer and suffer, until they can stay present in the suffering and from it, expand. This is a beautiful process to me.
I don’t always achieve that goal and that disappointments me, but I keep trying. My intention is not to “teach” readers anything, but I know I’ve learned so many things about myself and been able to expand through characters’ experiences in romance novels. Those kinds of stories are meaningful reads for me. And when I feel I’ve stretched my skills to write characters who struggle with everyday, ordinary things, as we all do, and dress it in a story about were-cats whose lives are complicated but out of the ordinary, I fall in love myself.
I’m in love right now with the stories of the were-cats in the Fierce Hearts series. In fact, I’m doing a final read-through for the next book due to release in June, Heartfelt, and I’m so happy to be reading about Asia Blue and Conrad Pike. Lifelong friends, they determined early in their relationship to remain friends, not friends with benefits. They’ve vowed not to become lovers, because they cherish their friendship and love and sex could ruin it, they believe.
While I check for typos and misplaced commas I’m right there with them as the colony they belong to faces more danger from The Nexus Group, and watching each step Asia and Conrad take in learning more about love.
I hope readers have been enjoying the evolving story of the were-cat colony in the Fierce Hearts series, even just a little bit as much as I do.
Here’s an excerpt from Heartfelt in which Conrad’s attraction for Asia surprises him.
Out in the gym he promptly spotted Asia across the room, already in a heated round with the punching bag.
The slightest lift of her nose clued him that she knew he had entered the gym, but her focus remained on the bag. In perfect form, she executed a jab, a cross, then drove up a punch, all in a smooth, flowing pattern, repeated over and over.
He stood there, across the room, and noticed things. He knew she stood about five feet, six inches, but had she always been so lithe and lean? He’d known her for so long, but had he ever really seen her? Did he hold an appreciation for her taut abs, highlighted just now by her cropped, racerback sports bra top? Or held in admiration her firm behind beneath her boy-cut shorts, or her shapely legs?
His gaze narrowed down to her face and he found it hard to swallow. Her face was a delicate mixture of high cheekbones, pert nose, and full lips. Her brown eyes sparkled with glints of green.
Thank God she doesn’t read the colony cats’ thoughts.
The moment of ogling Asia was innocent, as well as baffling, but he didn’t want her to know anything about it.
He blinked hard and deliberate three times, then strode across the room to Asia. “It looks like the bag is winning,” he teased her.
Oh, the visceral, earthy beauty of blooming romance. I love it!