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How do writers come up with our ideas?

Hello reader peeps!

Blowback, the first book in my spy romance series, the Black Cipher Files is FREE at all retailers right now. I loved writing this book. (Think Jason Bourne if Jason was a woman and enjoyed sexy times) Jamie Hunt is an agent for a fictional branch of the National Security Agency and she kicks a$$.

I thought I’d take today to highlight one of my research books for this series. Body of Secrets by James Bamford is a book about the history of the NSA. It’s a fascinating look at the agency’s evolution. There was a small section about a joint task force between the US and Britain in World War Two. TICOMM was searching for German codebreakers, trying to beat the Russians because we knew that the Germans had broken Russian and allied codes. We wanted to protect the information the Germans had compiled about our codes AND see what they had on the Russians (who were our allies but we didn’t trust them).  But what caught my attention was the fact that (as of 2012…I’m honestly not sure if this has changed) to this day the details of the task force are still classified. Seventy odd years later, and only privileged eyes can read the case files. How crazy is that? So, of course, that got my thoughts buzzing with every writer’s plot question…WHAT IF?

If you are interested in reading more about the NSA, click here.

Body of Secrets by James Bamford

(One note, I have attached an affiliate code to this which means I would get a very tiny percentage of the sale price if you click on the link.)

And here’s an excerpt of Blowback, in case you haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

I was recruited by the NSA at fifteen.

It seems young, I know. But, I was ripe for it. All they needed was the carrot.

Revenge.

As I lay in the cold sterile hospital bed, anonymous government men whispered, “Come work for us.”

I ignored them, lost in a haze of agony…and grief. The beep of the machines barely registered. Constant pain splintered through my leg and arm.

Help us catch the terrorists who killed your family. Your mother, father, brother.

All dead. Even with my eyes closed, damn, I could hear the whoosh as the armored car went up in a fireball, smell the burning flesh, and feel the impact of my right side hitting the limestone steps. The only reason I wasn’t dead now was because I’d been throwing a tantrum.

A silly, childish tantrum had saved my life.

In my hospital room, the radio murmured with the top song of the day, Cutting Crew, singing about dying in their arms. Those foolish singers had no clue.

They didn’t kill you.

I wasn’t dead. I knew that. But in an instant my world had shattered. I’d watched my family blow up. Despair settled over me, weighing me down.

Come work for us.

I could have resisted. Did resist. Unable to make an effort to do anything but drown in an abyss of pain.

You can help stop this from happening again.

What did it matter? They were dead, all dead. Then, with a logic designed to convince me, they succeeded. What if they get your little sister?

Fear crystallized in my heart. Not Bella. Not her too. I couldn’t bear it.

“Work for us. Train with us,” they murmured. “We’ll keep Isabella safe.”

I would do anything to protect my little sister. And so I said yes.

My childhood was over, as dead and gone as my family. To keep Bella safe, they told her I died too. The NSA became my life. I trained, attended college, learned the business of espionage, excelled in the business of revenge.

The only one who knows about Bella is Carson, my handler. I keep tabs, mostly electronic, on Bella. Without his knowledge, of course.

I don’t want anyone to use her against me.

Then again, I don’t exist.

Happy Reading!!!

 

<3 Lisa

Happy May Day…I think I’m back!

It's been a pretty eventful year. A little over twelve months ago, my husband and I decided to uproot our entire lives and move across the country. If you follow me on Instagram (what? why not? click here to see fun stuff! I post fun pictures of my travels and my new town) you've seen the pictures.  It's definitely time to update my website though because my Ten Things You Didn't Need To Know About Me is seriously out of date. 🙂

The good news is that life is good. However, my writing schedule was pretty much derailed by moving across the country and living in two temporary homes until we moved into our new house. Having your life in storage for six months is very interesting. I'm still not all the way unpacked. But that's okay.

I had a book come out in the middle of all this craziness, but it didn't get much love. So here's a small teaser for your visual pleasure. I hope you'll check out Everything He Wants.

As always, thank you so much for your support!!

<3 Lisa

Everything He Wants (Billionaire Breakfast Club #1)

A #MeetCute Romance…Everything He Wants (Billionaire Breakfast Club #1 The Jock)

So excited to announce the release of Everything He Wants, a #MeetCute Romance and Billionaire Breakfast Club #1 The Jock.

So how did Elise and D'Andre meet? Their friends set them up…for an interview.

Boy Meets Girl. It's the way romances usually begin…and while we all love a happy ending, it's the #meetcute that wins our hearts.

My book in the #MeetCute Romance series features D’Andre Smith, a former NFL wide receiver with a secret, and Elise Putnam, a burgeoning reporter with a need to prove herself. From the moment they meet, their attraction is off the charts, even though for multiple reasons, they should be off limits to each other.

D’Andre loves his mother. She supported him working two jobs so that he could pursue a football career and now he takes care of her. She also hates reporters, so when she catches D and Elise at lunch he does the only thing he can do. He lies and tells his mother Elise is his lunch date. She agrees to go along with the deception, but for a price.

Here’s an excerpt of Everything He Wants:

D pulled out his phone and clumsily texted his momma a good morning.

Predictably, his phone rang. “Hi, Momma.”

“You know I don’t like that texting. Why don’t anyone just pick up a phone and call anymore?”

D’Andre sighed. “I didn’t want to bother you.”

“Talkin’ to my baby boy is never a bother.” She sniffed.

He was six four and two hundred seventy pounds, down thirty from his NFL career days, but to his mother he was still her baby.

“Thanks, Momma.” His voice softened and his mouth curved. “Everything okay there?” He’d bought her the house in Brookline with his signing bonus ten years ago.

“The newfangled dishwasher is running rough.”

“I’ll get a repairman out there first thing.”

“Thanks, baby.”

“Anything for you,” D’Andre said softly. His mother had sacrificed her best years to support him. Now it was his turn. “What’s on your agenda for today?”

His mother kinda sounded like she was huffing and puffing. “Meeting some girls from church for an early birthday lunch.”

A rustling behind him caught his ear and D turned around to see a stunning woman approaching his table.

Once during his rookie year in the NFL, he’d taken a hit so hard he’d been flat out on his back, the turf prickling his calves, breath clawing to escape his chest. The sky had swirled above him, a bright brilliant blue while he tried to remember who, and where, he was.

With one glance at this woman’s dazzling ice blue eyes, his heart thunked in his chest and his head swirled, as if he’d taken a similar hit. That sensation of being flat out gobsmacked pummeled him just like that monster tackle from a three-hundred-fifty pound linebacker. He shook his head, trying to clear the sensation of having his bell rung.

F*ck him.

She wore a mannish navy suit with matching pointy flats. Not the least bit sexy. And yet he wanted to pull her into his embrace and hold on tight. A waterfall of straight platinum hair framed a stunning face of classic bone structure, bright blue eyes and a wide, unsmiling mouth.

“Mr. Smith.” Not a question. Slightly haughty, frosty, ice princess.

He realized he’d been far too silent and his mother had been chattering away on the other end of the line.

“Well then, have a good lunch.” He managed to finish his call without babbling like an idiot. He blindly pressed the end button. He guessed this was the reporter. She certainly didn’t dress like a groupie.

That untouchable queen to peasant thing was really doing it for him. He’d never had this kind of physical reaction to a woman in his life. But he had to ignore it. Because her profession killed any possibility of engaging beyond this interview. Reporters were off-limits. For so, so many reasons.

So instead of asking her on a date, preferably one that started right here and ended upstairs in the Harvey Parker suite with both of them naked, he was going to ignore this insane attraction and do what he always did.

Flirt, distract, deflect, and get rid of her fast after he got his message across. He’d be out of here in thirty. He’d ignore his visceral reaction and get it done.

 

Everything He Wants…Billionaire Breakfast Club #1 The Jock

Their friends set up an interview, it was supposed to be simple….

D’Andre Smith has it all.

Fame. Money. Women. On the outside, his life looks perfect. But he's got a secret that could destroy it all, so the last woman he should get involved with is a reporter.

Elise Putnam is searching for a scoop to scoop all scoops to prove her investigative chops, so the last thing she should do is get involved with an interview subject.

Their instant attraction has the potential to develop into something more if D opens his heart and Elise opens her mind. But their ingrained desire to protect their secrets may be stronger than their love….

Happy Reading!

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What’s your biggest regret?

His Semi-Charmed Life…is all about regrets and second chances. But perhaps not in the way you're thinking, since this is a romance. This goes back farther, back to when Diego Ramos and Penny Hastings were kids at a summer camp. One conversation changed both their lives….

June 1997

Worst. Summer. Ever.

Diego Ramos strode out to the parking lot, ignoring the rules to go check on his precious car. His ’69 Charger had gotten him here but he’d lost his muffler on the way up. He’d growled the final miles to Camp Firefly Falls on the faulty part.

He’d been working on this car forever. He was finally old enough—sort of—to drive it, even though he’d been tooling around Dot illegally for the past few years.

He was working all summer to pay for the muffler at cost. He’d been planning to buy the one Tío Raul had at his garage. But before Diego could scrape together the money, one of Raul’s full-paying customers needed one and his uncle couldn’t turn down the sale. Their family friend Hector said he might be able to get his hands on a replacement. Might. But if he got a full paying customer, Hector had to sell it to them, because he needed the money too.

It was the worst to be stuck here. He totally understood that if they had buyers while he was here at camp, he was screwed. He had to stay at camp to make enough money to buy the part.

He kicked at a stone, sent it scuttling into the brush that lined the path.

A single spotlight on a post cast more shadows than illumination over the lot—which was really just a decent-sized opening between two stands of trees.

Diego opened the hood. Not a squeak. He took damn good care of his baby.

He stroked the sleek, clean engine like he was petting his little cousin’s cat. “Soon, baby. You’ll be all prettied up,” he crooned to the engine like she was a girl.

He flushed, glanced around, but no one had seen him talking to his car like she was real.

Diego climbed up on the trunk of his car and lay back to stare up at the stars. The Charger was the one constant in his life. His mother and father were in and out. He had bounced from relative to relative until his uncle got married a few years ago and then he’d gone to live with his tío and tía permanently.

His uncle got him this camp job through one of his customers. Diego was supposed to be thankful for it. He was. Sort of. He’d never tell anyone but he missed his little cousins, Raul Jr. and Zinnia, even though they annoyed him ninety-nine percent of the time.

One thing he’d give to these mountains, the sky was amazing. Light from the stars twinkled in deep blue mysterious space.

“What’cha doing?”

He jerked up so fast his head went dizzy.

And there she was.

He hated working here. Little Miss Princess Penelope embodied every single reason. She was only like nine years old and so damn smug. She’d been whining since her parents dropped her off at the beginning of the week. They were in Europe. Without her. Boo. Fricking. Hoo.

“You’re not supposed to be out here,” he snarled. Dammit. Why was she here?

Penelope Hastings stood there looking at him with those stupidly innocent, bright green eyes. “Neither are you.”

“Get back to your cabin.” Except he was going to have to take her. He couldn’t let her wander around in the dark. Part of his job was making sure the campers were safe.

“Why are you so upset?” She stepped closer to his car.

Her pout caused everything to bubble up inside him. Couldn’t he get frustrated and angry in peace? Couldn’t he have one damn minute alone? Apparently not, if he wanted enough money to keep fixing up his baby.

“Let me take you back to your cabin.” Diego sighed. He slid off the trunk, dropped to the dirt and gravel parking lot, then took a second to stroke his palm over the blue paint before he gently eased the hood closed.

She danced back a step. “Is something wrong with your car?”

“Yeah.”

She frowned, her ginger eyebrows crinkled as if the concept of car problems was beyond her. “Why even bother working on that old piece of junk?”

Junk? Maybe to her it was junk but to him this car was everything. It was freedom. It was life. It was his future.

“Aren’t you only fifteen?”

And she was nine. They’d done the whole introduce yourself in a circle on the first day. So he knew her name was Penelope Hastings, she was rich as fuck, and so super sad that her parents had left her at camp instead of taking her to Europe.

“So?” So he’d driven here slightly illegally. So the fuck what? He had his permit.

“Well, if you’re only fifteen—” She laughed, a delighted trill of sound, like the birds in the forest only softer, and weirdly sweeter. “When’s your birthday?”

He trudged toward the line of cabins where the girls stayed. “September.”

What that had to do with anything he had no fucking idea. Of course, he never claimed to understand rich kids. They lived in their own stupid bubble.

She clapped her soft pale hands and laughed again. “Well then, silly. You only have to wait a couple more months and you’ll get your new car for your sixteenth birthday!”

She dropped the words so eagerly, so happily, as if she’d magically solved his problem and everyone in the fucking world got a car when they turned sixteen.

“That’s about as likely as the Red Sox winning the World Series.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Welcome to the real world where kids don’t get new cars on their birthdays, you spoiled brat.” Shit, he was going to get in trouble for that. He was a counselor. And he needed this job so he could afford the parts for his beloved car.

Yeah, the owners made it seem like they were all equal and happy and shit, but the reality was, Diego worked for Miss Richy-Rich Hastings.

“Oh.” Her face fell, her brows scrunched together as if she were actually trying to imagine a world where kids didn’t get a new car when they turned sixteen. “So not everyone gets a car?”

Could this kid be any dumber?

“There’s a whole world of people who don’t have food to eat at night, don’t wear shoes without holes.” Ugh, she glanced down at his feet and his ratty old Converse. “And don’t get new cars. So, no.”

“That’s…too bad.”

“Yeah, it’s a real fucking nightmare.”

Her shoulders slumped. Her dark ginger hair was almost Charger Red in the soft light of the parking lot.

“Well,” she said brightly, her smile reappearing. “My dad always says, ‘How do we turn this failure into a success?’”

“I’m a failure? Thanks for making your opinion loud and clear.”

God, he hated her. She was everything he wasn’t. Clean and perfect. Her blindingly bright white tennis shoes and her naïve, always smiling face versus his threadbare high tops, soles so worn they were just about to crack, and his scowl.

Her smile faltered. “Oh no, of course not. He just says, ‘When things don’t go the way you planned, you work with what you’ve got, and turn that negative into a positive.’”

“I’ve got nothing.” Diego spit out the words. He wanted, with an agonizing pain in his heart, to throw some dirt on her. To ruin that sparkly perfection so she was as dirty and grumpy and mean as he felt inside. “So get the hell out of here, you stupid little rich girl.”

Tears filled her bright green eyes. She lifted her trembling chin and shot him a vengeful glare. “I was just trying to be a good friend.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t need any friends. Go away.”

She finally ran down the path toward the cabins. He should go after her, follow her and make sure she got back to her cabin without harm. But he flung himself on the hood of the car.

He was so getting fired.

As he lay there, his initial rage simmered and stewed as he kept reviewing their conversation. And dammit, the picture she painted wouldn’t leave him.

A new car for his sixteenth birthday. The promise that he’d never go cold or hungry again. The shiny idea that he could turn a failure into a success dangled out of reach like a sparkling lure on the hook of life.

He lay under the stars dreaming of that life and ignoring the reality that he was probably going to get fired. Which would mean no new part for his car, no awesome life, no perfect future.

But in the morning, a subdued, less sparkly Penelope Hastings never said a word to the camp director. She also never spoke to Diego again. He knew he should apologize. But he didn’t.

That regret festered in his heart. Once he got back to Dorchester, he decided he could apologize next summer. But after that first summer, he’d been able to work in his uncle’s garage, learning more about cars and mechanic skills. Then camp closed and he never got the chance to apologize.

But he never forgot her.

Diego Ramos and Penny Hastings in a reversal of fortune romance

What happens when Diego and Penny end up back at Camp Firefly Falls?

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