This blog spot is right on time because Lucas—aka The Professional—is almost here. That book will hit the streets this month. I still can’t believe how what began as a one-part short story has grown into a novel. It definitely wasn’t my intent. My original idea was to do a piece about a man who was paid for pleasure—a gigolo who knew women well and therefore had a degree of power over them. In that story I wanted to reveal his one weakness, which led to a twist ending. I didn’t think women readers of that online story would like Lucas very much. I thought his profession and his ego would be off-putting. So I was surprised that female readers not only liked Lucas, but wanted to read more about him.
I wrote that first story in 2008. It’s taken me this long to write the book because I wanted to be absolutely certain that the end I had planned for him was what I really wanted to happen. The Professional will cover several decades in Lucas’ career, starting from his inexperienced beginnings and providing background on how he came to be who he is. Speaking of which, here’s where I get into shameless (but with a non-profit motivated reason) promotion:
In my writings I have a habit, which I blame on Stephen King. Back in the day I was reading one of King’s novels—I think it was Pet Semetary—and in that book a character mentioned or reflected on a neighbor’s dog going rabid and killing some people. King was referencing one of his previous novels: Cujo. I thought that was the coolest thing—that in King’s fictional world characters and incidents had overlap in other novels, even though the books weren’t part of a linear series. So I fell into a habit of doing that with my own work. Many of my books take place on or near the Jersey Shore, so some character’s worlds collide.
I mention this as an advisory. In The Professional readers are going to encounter some characters that will be familiar if they’ve read other books and novellas by me. In particular, in The Girl Next Door you’ll meet Lucas’ Aunt Alicia and her next door neighbor Cameron, who are mentioned in The Professional. You’ll also get to meet Lucas as a child in that one.
Olivia Bettencourt made her first appearance as a teenager in A Southern Belle: Forbidden. She also has a cameo appearance with Lucas in With Benefits
Robyn Hunter first appeared in The Group and then in Elle (Insatiable: Book One) by The Black. The Group is a stand-alone novella and also one of the stories featured in the compilation Love Won’t Let Me Wait.
Readers won’t have to read those works to understand what’s happening in The Professional, but they do provide a point of reference for those characters. Here’s the thing: As I’m working on The Professional I’ve caught myself recapping in that book other character’s histories, but then I think, “Wait, I already wrote this in_____,” and I stop myself because I feel like I’m doing readers who read the other books a disservice by repeating myself. So if you’re curious about the backgrounds of any of the aforementioned characters grab those books—and blame Stephen King!
Next year comes The Hitman Chronicles, more episodes of Nightwalkers, and many surprises.Up next is my last project for this year—the first episode of Nightwalkers. It’ll be my take on vampire mythology, mixing that fiction with Bible history and prophecy, the battle between good and evil and the need for love. The story will have settings from the beginning of mankind through American slavery and up through the present day.
I’m originally from the Jersey Shore. I served twenty-four years in the Air Force, and then was the Safety Director for a Navy contractor, then a specialist for a Fortune 500 technology company. Those experiences sometimes serve as fodder for the stuff I write. Now I’m fortunate enough to be able to write full-time.
On reflection, I’ve always been a writer, even before I could write. As a kid I was a wanna-be artist, and that was the medium I used to tell the stories born in my imagination. If there was a blank piece of paper anywhere near me I was going to draw on it. I remember being in the first grade and going to a PTA meeting with my mother. My teacher told my mother that my schoolwork was okay, but she said that every assignment I turned in had little pictures I’d drawn running around the border of the pages. I guess that was my six year-old version of cave drawings. Eventually I figured out that writing was a more efficient way of telling stories.
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