Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sometimes, things just work out right for the lucky author!! #mgtab


I wanted to share a coup with you all that I’m still patting my back about. Damn arm gets so sore LOL!

Okay - this is what I did.

Last Christmas – for some nutsy reason, I decided I was going to write a trilogy of novellas called Holiday Heartwarmers and base all the stories from the same town, tie them together by three Samoyed puppies being abandoned in a box in the park and have these adorable little mutts head out to find their own adventure. Of course, these adventures are all tied around a love story and happy ever afters.

Move us forward to this year where I’ve opted to take a group of authors from my Billboard bunch and we’re going to try hitting the lists this Christmas with a new box collection called Love Christmas.

So… that meant I would need to write another holiday novella for this set – right? Well I plotted like crazy. Kept my mind spinning with all the different scenarios I could come up with, but nothing clicked. If you’re a writer, then you’ll know what I mean.
When you have the right idea, it clicks like nothing else and from then on, everything falls into place. Well that wasn’t happening for me until…

Snickering with glee…

I was checking over all my book sales and noticed that my Heartwarmer series was still selling even though it’s May. Cool!! That led me to think about how much people liked Christmas romances – especially if one throws in a puppy. And wham! Like a brick to the side of my head, these thoughts exploded:

-         I already had a strong reader base with the three novellas I’d released this year.

-         I could leave the trilogy alone but still add more books to the… ahh what I will now refer to as a series.

-         I’d still need a puppy but that was easy to do since I could have the same bitch ( I mean that in the nice way) birth a new litter.

-          And… crazily enough – have no idea why I did this until now –  I had mentioned a third brother in the first book who never did get his story… oh-oh, my arm’s getting another workout… :-))

-         Best of all, the readers might buy the collection if it’s the only way to get the next Holiday Heartwarmer story.

 
Therefore, I did write the book and the first chapter is on a Sneak Peek with the Authors’ Billboard blog. I got to thinking; if it’s there, then maybe you should be able to read it too.
 
 
 
 

Frosty the Snowman…pup!

 

Holiday Heartwarmers Book #4

 
By
Mimi Barbour


Chapter One  (Sneak Peek – unedited version)
Ice shards blew against the Cessna’s windshield, vision became limited and suddenly stress seeped into the confined space.  Previously relaxed, the pilot changed to a man with a mission. Tension ramped up and the earlier warm atmosphere turned cold as fear constricted throats unable to swallow.
“We’re going down aren’t we?” Hali Gibson’s voice hadn’t risen from her normal tones. Not even a little. But inside, hidden deep in her emotions, lived a wild spirit that screeched and then whimpered. I don’t want to die! Not yet. Not now!
Clutching the leather panel in front of her as if by sheer want and personal influence she could force the noisy plane back up into the blanket of white sleet that had suddenly appeared, Hali clung and bit back her screams.
The pilot bellowed over the plane’s roar. “I’m afraid so. Hold on! There’s a frozen lake we might use as a landing strip up ahead. Maybe we’ll make it.” He aimed his voice toward her and issued orders. “Just don’t panic.”
“I never panic.” She screamed back, her eyes feeling like they were protruding two inches from their sockets.
That got his attention but just for a second. He glanced over, his expression fierce like that of a warrior pitted against an enemy larger than life. “Brace yourself.”
In comparison to her own instability, she noted the giant-like man behind the controls appeared ridiculously steady. As if he’d force-landed his small Cessna in the middle of the frozen Alaskan outback any number of times. He kept speaking into his earphones giving their particulars and using the word “Mayday” to get attention.
It had certainly gotten hers. Who could blame her for thinking two voices might add more impact. Her screamed maydays certainly had more force than his.
With only a thin layer between them and the thickened white sleet that enveloped the small aircraft unexpectedly, the fragile windshield seemed totally inconsequential.  
For a few seconds, Hali wished herself back in the small airport in Ketchikan and pictured a sock in her mouth stopping her from insisting she needed to be his passenger. Why in hell had she fought so hard to be here now? God must be punishing her for being so pushy.
As Hali listened to the roar of the small engine working as hard as it could, fighting against the elements of nature. She decided that when one faced death, seconds lasted longer which gave people time to reflect on why me, Lord? Forced to endure, she tightened every muscle in her body and prepared to die.
A humming noise from the pilot caught her attention. Watching him manoeuvering the small plane, she’d seen the skill it had taken to manipulate the controls and hold the aircraft steady. If by sheer will, a human could force this bird through the white wall of hell; this man would be the one to do so. But damn, did he have to sing them to their demise.
What the…? He was singing Frosty the Snowman. Of all the crazies in the world, trust her to beg this particular Looneytune to let her come with him just so he could serenade her last moments on earth with a children’s Christmas carol.
Without realizing she would, her voice melded with his only she used the words. If it helped calm his nerves, she was all for it.
On the other hand, he hadn’t yielded to their dilemma, in fact, quite the opposite. As if in hand to hand combat with the devil himself, he fought like a man possessed. Continuing to fly blind, his only source of information was the control panels that gave him instrument readings he needed to keep the plane from plunging out of the sky.
Feeling her stomach plunge along with the plane, Hali held on while they tipped from one side to the other. The roaring of the engines, harsher than earlier, revved to ear-splitting levels. Hali supposed the reverberation had increased because of their escalating descent.
The sudden howling going on from the crate in the rear of the plane ripped at Hali’s soft heart and guilt hit her hard. Because she was a wuss for driving long distances alone, she’d decided to take this bush plane into the wilds of Alaska from Ketchikan to Juneau rather than drive the 300 miles to deliver her cousin’s new puppy to a man she’d never met. Now, because of her cowardly decision, the gorgeous animal was going to die.
My fault. All my fault. At the airport, after she’d been bumped from the regular flight, she’d beseeched this pilot to let her and the dog come with him. Seems there’s a pecking order in Alaska. If you owned the Airlines, you were first in line and could change the route anytime you wanted, even if Christmas was only a few days away.  Which left the paying customers angry but with no choice. They were forced to wait for the next flight.
Hali, unexpectedly stranded, had pleaded with this pilot to no avail. In her excitement, she’d even dropped her suitcase which had flipped open scattering her belongings everywhere. Like a gentleman should, he’d helped her collect her property, had handed her over underwear, sweaters, even her going-away gift from her newly-married cousin, which had softened his stubborn expression slightly, but he’d still refused her pleas.
It hadn’t been until the person who’d originally bumped her had his say and a large chunk of money changed hands that the tall man had agreed to the arrangement. Within a few minutes, he’d rounded her and the puppy up, got them belted into the place and they’d taken off.
Now she was locked in a sardine can, with a complete stranger controlling her life and… go figure. She’d begged to be here.
While her mind was travelling through time, the pilot had pulled off a miracle. They were speeding along a stretch of ice, hovering slightly above the ground. Battered on both sides, the winds didn’t like being robbed of their prey.  As the man in charge searched for a place to safely set the little plane down, he fought valiantly to keep them from tipping.
Visibility much better at this low altitude, up ahead, Hali spotted what he did. There was a sheltered bay surrounded by trees. The lake looked to have less snow. And, cleared from the driving winds, the visible frozen surface invited them to drop in and stay a while.
Singing louder now, her voice blending with sobs of joy, Hali swiped at her eyes. She blinked repeatedly and watched the pilot set the plane down as gently as the buffeting wind would allow. Finally, he drove it closer to the shore and brought them to a complete halt.
In seconds, he’d turned off the motor. As if the turning of the key stopped their nightmare, it cut off their mingling voices also and silence reigned.
Hali watched him drop his face into his now shaking hands. Without realizing her intentions, she reached over to touch, pat, wishing she could hug. Finding her hand enveloped in a tight grip, she didn’t move. For her, connecting in this way with another human being was a normal action and so she allowed them these magical moments before voicing her relief. Truthfully, she’d choked up and words wouldn’t be forced through clogged emotions.  


p.s. if you find any errors, I did warn you my editor hasn't had time to make her magic happen yet :-)
 
 
 

 

 

 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Life is for the living... #Peace


This morning we were called by the lodge where my 91-year-old mother-in-law resides. They wanted us to know that she was fading; that they had given her oxygen and Tylenol and were making her as comfortable as possible.

I rushed to sit with her and this is what I found. This tiny little lady, who in no way resembled the vibrant woman I had known and loved for thirty-five years, lay sleeping peacefully. When I searched her gaunt features, a stranger lay there. No longer my friend, my competitor for too many scrabble games to count, my lunch and shopping pal who was always ready to go and play in the stores with me and the person who had shared every Christmas with us since we’d met - this sleepy soul looked ready to meet her maker.

I prayed for her to finally be at peace and to go and join her beloved husband who’d passed on many years ago. Then I was racked with remorse for praying for her life to end. As I sat there, realism seeped in and pushed out the guilt.

I wasn’t sorry this poor, emaciated lady was leaving us. I was just thankful we’d had her in our lives for so many wonderful years.

All the anxiety and stomach clenching dissolved and became replaced it with simple common sense.

Life really is for the living…
 

This lovely woman had had her turn and made the best of her lifetime opportunity. Now it was our turn to follow in her footsteps and make our time here count in the same way she showed us by example.

So… when He releases you from the silken chains that bind you to this earth, my dear friend, I’ll be happy for you. And when the tears come, they’ll be for me… because I’ll miss you.

Terribly!
 
XOXOXO

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hotshot Heroes: Strong Enough to Love... #ReadHotshotHeroes #mgtab


Hotshot Heroes: Strong Enough to Love
Genre: Contemporary Romance Anthology/Action & Thriller
Release Date: April 2016
Authors: Mimi Barbour, Jennifer Lowery, Chantel Rhondeau, Lyssa L ayne, D ’ A nn Lindun, and Rachelle Ayala
Length: 2200 pages!
99 cents or FREE with Kindle Unlimited


Crave your men hot, alpha, and strong? Then fall in love wit h Hotshot Heroes: Strong Enough to Love - 6 full-length action-suspense romances plus one bonu s novella from NY Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors. Fall in love with sexy ag ents, cowboy sheriffs, firemen, bikers, and more. Danger, excitement, and heart-pounding romance await the women who love these brash and protective men. Get yours today.

Purchase Links:
Global Amazon link: http://smarturl.it/HSHero






Book #1: Special Agent Maximilian - Mimi Barbour

Nik Baudin meets his identical twin – one he never knew existed. Taking over his identity, he becomes Special Agent Maximilian and gets embroiled in dangerous conflicts along with Max ’ s beautiful partner, Maya.



Book #2: Murphy ’ s Law - Jennifer Lowery

A storm strands widow Sara Sheldon and her young daughter at ex-Arm y Ranger Jon Murphy ’ s remote cabin. She ’ s running from her husband ’ s powerful family, and he ’ s running from guilt for what he did while held prisoner in Azbakastan. Attraction sparks, but survi val is at stake. Besides, he's no ’ nearly as honorable as she thinks ...







Book #3: Blazing Hotter (Love Under Fire – 2)Chantel Rhondeau

Former bad boy Frankie Hernandez struggles to recover from debilitating injuries sustained fighting his last fire. Now this firefighter is falling for his physical therapist, Cassie Flick. When a serial killer strikes town and threatens Cassie, Frankie will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he loves.







Book #4: My Calling Lyssa Layne

It's taken Saylor Warner six years to recover from the death of her uncle. J onathan Beck Beckerdyte has spent the last six years trying to stay out of the public eye. Following his calling leads him into the field of civil service. Beck's made it his life's mission to pro tect Saylor... except she has no idea. 

< br />


Book #5: Longshot D ’ Ann Lindun

A sheriff with something to prove. A burned out FBI agent. A human trafficker determined to stop them both will test the limits of their endurance ... but he can ’ t stop them from falling in love.





Book #6: Playing Without Rules (A Baseball Romance) - </ b>Rachelle Ayala

Marcia Powers hid a big secret from her ex-boyfriend, baseball player Brock Carter. She had good reason, or so she thought. Now Brock is back in town and wants Marci a back. Will he lose every dream, including baseball, when he discovers the real reason Marcia sent him away?





Bonus Book: Bad Boys for Hire: Ryker, Bad Boys for Hire Series Book #1 - Rachelle Ayala


Terri Martin gets caught in the middle of a motorcycle clu b vendetta when she tries to hire sexy biker Ryker Slade for her birthday date.



Get Hotshot Heroes now! 

Purchase Links:
Global Amazon link: http://smarturl.it/HSHero

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How Writing Contests Can Spark Your Career? #mgtab




As an experienced author, you know that writing and promoting are two very different aspects of your work. With today's competitive market for books, most of us realize that we need to work on promoting ourselves as a brand as much as working at our main craft.

How can writing contests help to spark a writing career? Writing contests may offer cash awards but they should also give you as an author, a sense of satisfaction and help to boost your confidence. These contests are also a great help in getting more exposure, and for you and most other writers, promoting yourself as an author is the one of the toughest parts of the job.

Writing Contests Can Help You To Get Noticed

Winning a writing contest does not clear the path to becoming a best-selling author. However, placing high in a quality competition can help you to gain recognition from both readers and professionals who work in the publishing industry. The right people might notice the names of contest winners in their social media feeds or on the blog of their favorite book blog. This also gives you an opportunity to spread the good news on your own platform when you have won.

Contests can also help your work to gain wider distribution. Very often, the organization behind the contest will publish any pieces that win and some will publish the pieces that make it to the semifinals, as well. The work may be published in an issue of a magazine or in an anthology. When readers get a taste of your work, the hope is that they will want more. This should make it easier to sell a self-published book, find a publisher or even, to get more writing jobs.

Even if you don't win, it can be a great opportunity to learn and to improve. The judges will usually provide feedback for all entries so this is an excellent way to learn what you could improve upon to have a better chance to win the next contest.

Be sure that the piece you wrote is proofread, edited and formatted according to the instructions. It is also wise to make sure there are no errors on the submission form.

How To Tell If Contests Are Worth It

Sadly, some contests are not worth your time and effort. Organizers may run them for their own benefit and not provide much for authors at all. Typically, the goal of fake contests is to take money in the form of entry fees. While some legitimate contests have entry fees, you need to be sure that you can truly get any value for your money.

The most common kind of contests with no value are run by so-called vanity publishers. The winners, which may be everybody who enters, will earn the chance to pay to publish their own work. These kinds of vanity publishers do little or nothing to actually promote the books that they publish. Their main goal is to charge authors to publish books that they will deliver back to the writer, leaving them on their own to sell the books.

In these cases, you would be better off to look for better contests or find some other way to promote yourself. It is fine to self-publish but there are cheaper ways to do it through services like Amazon's CreateSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing.

Even best-selling authors will agree that writing is a tough business. One of the main benefits of winning a contest may simply be the simple validation awarded to you that you have been recognized by your peers. This could give you that spark of motivation and confidence that is needed to forge ahead with your masterpiece.

Brad Cooper is a successful business operator and freelance writer. He shares his tips and advice for entering sweepstakes on his website,
 

 


 
 
 


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Things we should do before we release a new book - part#2 #mgtab



Some time ago, I promised you another post on “Things we should do before we release a new book.” Here's the first part - Goodreads #Giveaway- a smart step to take before you release your book! 

Of course, I’m taking for granted that you’ve all had your stories edited and even proofread. Remember that nowadays we’re in direct competition with the big five publishers and many of their books are being priced to compete. Like the professionals they are, their products are perfectly presented.

Indie authors need to do the same. 

Therefore, we also have to make sure the books are formatted properly. I can’t emphasize enough just how annoying it is for readers nowadays to find anyone’s work hard to read, indents all over the place and text that changes from one size to another. As you’ve heard me say many times, I work with Pressbook and I always feel relaxed about the presentation of my work. If you haven’t read my earlier blog about that site, you will find it here.


Plus, I've recently heard that Amazon is getting seriously crabby about books not set up properly and are beginning to take a firm stance - giving the author a short time to make corrections with the threat of having the books removed....gulp!!

Of course, I’m also taking it for granted that you have a good cover that will represent not only the story, but the feel of the plot and characters if possible. For instance, don’t try and hook the readers with a really sexy man on the front if it’s a sweet romance. They won’t thank you, they won’t read you again and some might decide to leave scathing comments in their reviews – that’s if they write anything at all. And isn’t that the goal of every one of us. Having a book that the readers enjoy so much, they’ll leave a review and start it by highlighting the five stars?

So… these steps are just the basic ones needed to be done before you can set your book out in to world.





But there’s another step I take before my book is released. I have gathered a list of 15 Beta Readers for my romantic suspense books and these wonderful ladies not only enjoy reading my books, but they also make notes of corrections and write reviews soon after the book is released. Out of these fifteen fabulous readers, I can usually depend that at least 8-10 will be available to me when I need them. As you all know, having 10 reviews soon after a book is released is pure gold.

If you wonder how I managed to find these folks, I’ll tell you. I built up a friendship with most of them on Facebook and from my newsletter. If you wonder whether Facebook events are worthwhile - yes they are. You can get pretty close to some of the ladies who come to these parties and if you ask questions about what they like to read and they say romantic suspense with kick-ass heroines, and that’s what you write, then ask how many would be interested in joining your team. You’d be surprised.

If you’ve started a newsletter, you can ask for Beta Readers there. After all, if they answer you know they’ve not only read the newsletter but they’re interested in your career.

Personally, I line them up as soon as I’ve done the second draft. Once I’ve reread it and made the changes I catch myself, I pray it’s in decent enough shape for other eyes. I make sure it’s formatted nicely in a word doc and then save it to a pdf file ( just click ‘File’ on the uppermost left corner and then click ‘save as’ and when that window opens, go the second line on bottom where it asks you “save as type” and when you click that arrow – choose pdf.  

Next, I take the pdf file and use Caliber where I change it into a Mobi file. If you’re not using Caliber, you might want to check into it. It’s free, easy and there’re how-to videos (probably on u-tube also) that will show you how it works.
Once I have the Mobi file, I send that to my Beta Readers so they can add it to their kindles for easy reading. I also remind them they must add the line – “I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.” Otherwise, Amazon has been known to delete comments from people who haven’t actually purchased the book. Truly...??? Go figure :-)







Monday, April 11, 2016

Yet another blog on editing - everything you should know. Or not... #mgtab


Recently, I went to a meeting of our local writing group called VIRA and was given a copy of these 12 tips for editing. I found them to be very helpful and decided I’d share them with you. I’ve added some of my own thoughts where I hoped they might be useful… I couldn’t help myself :-))))

 

The original blog post found here: Editing blog – 12 tips

 

Here are 12 tips to help you delete, edit and improve your writing.



1. Cut “that” out

I can always spot an unprofessional writer by the repetitive and unnecessary use of “this,” “that,” and “these.” A specific pet peeve of mine is finding them as the first word of sentence. When you review your drafts, remove every instance of these (that) you can. See what I mean?

Personally, I took a copy of a couple of chapters from my newest book and did a “Find" for the word "that" and I was surprised at just how often I had used that where it was necessary and how little I used it when it wasn’t. I guess after a certain number of books, a person tends to keep this little sucker in the forefront of your mind so it isn’t overused. Remember, there are places, they need to appear. So don't remove them all without rereading your work.

2. Break up long sentences

Long sentences run the risk of losing your reader. When you put several ideas in one sentence, break them up into separate sentences. If you spot a comma-heavy sentence, try to give each idea its own sentence.

Okay – guilty!!Thankfully, I have an editor who catches me and mentions it.

3. Reduce redundancies

Get to the point by avoiding redundancies such as “violent explosion” or “new beginner.”

Not too bad with this one. But I do like to use adjectives more that adverbs. I try to place them where they’re not redundant. Although – the "new beginner" one could still be legitimate – right? There could be a bunch of beginners starting one day and a new beginner appearing the next…??

4. Lose the nothing phrases

“In order to…” and “needless to say” are two examples of common phrases that add nothing to your story. Find phrases that are simply filler and axe them.

Nope – I stopped this after the first few books - unless one of my characters actually uses them in conversation, a habit of that particular person.

5. 86 “very” and “really”

“Very” and “really” are really very useless words.

I really agree and very seldom use them.

6. Purge the passive voice

Your writing gets dull when you employ passive phrases such as “It become known to me.” Go with an active voice. “I discovered…”

Oh my… it took me forever to even know when I was employing the passive voice. I found this one to be so hard to correct –  it makes me wonder if I’m just a passive person???

7. Use power verbs

First drafts tend to include many wimpy verbs. Make it a point to replace common verbs such as “get” with less common and more powerful verbs such as “seize” or “command.” Look at my word choice above. “Use” is predictable and boring. Would “Choose” or “Employ” or “Apply” pumped up the prose? Notice every subhead in this list begins with an action.

She/he’s right about this. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve highlighted a word and gone to review / thesaurus and checked for something better. On the other hand – (couldn't resist #4) – I will admit to perusing creative works where the overeager novelist has leapt overboard with this procedure and it’s excruciating to comprehend the substance of the actual phrase.   

8. Refer to people as “who”

Barry is the guy that can help you with your editing. “Who” is how you refer to someone. Correction: Barry is “who” you need to help you with your editing. Improvement: Barry will help you with your editing.

No-brainer! Not sure about the animal kingdom for this one. Do you refer to a dog as the dog who or the dog that?? Humm… 

9. Avoid the “today stamp”

“Currently” is a stinker. “Nowadays” is too. Starting off with “Today” or “In today’s…” are other meaningless throw-aways.

Nope – no problem.

10. Eliminate “there is” or “there are” at the beginning of sentences

There are lots of ways to start your sentences more interestingly than “there is” or “there are.” Start your sentences with a bang.

Stopped doing that after the first book … my son edited the first three chapters  and boy did I get sh… told .

11. Let’s get friendly

Let us become friends. Let’s become friends. Let’s get friendly. I believe contractions make your writing more friendly and familiar. And, of course, striking forms of “be” tends to liven up the copy.

I believe it’s better too!!

12. Steer clear of the ing trap

“We were starting to …” Whenever you see an “ing” in your copy, you can probably improve the line. “We started” is a more exciting way to start.

Okay – I take exception to this rule – well a little bit. In this example of course it works, but that isn’t always the case. When I'm writing, I find sentences that constantly start with a noun followed by a verb to be somewhat deadly. I like to change the rhythm. Beginning sentences with an “ing” word helps me do that and in many cases - for me - it conveys emotions better.  


***To me, writing is about the person’s voice. If authors followed every fiddly editing law, wouldn’t we all start sounding the same? Oops – I mean – Wouldn’t we all sound the same?
I've read a lot of books where certain rules have been ignored. But as long as the meaning is clear, the work exciting and the characters grab me, it didn't matter diddly if a few exceptions were made. I imagine to most of the readers who haven't studied English grammar, it's the same for them too.
What do you think? Should authors suffer if their prose isn't up to grammatical standards? What about huge blockbuster sellers like E.L. James's 50 Shades of Grey?

 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Special Agent Kandice's official release party - #win the Gift Certificate - #mgtab


Special Agent Kandice
by Mimi Barbour
Series: Undercover FBI, #4
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 31, 2016



Powerful, thrilling and character-driven, this romantic suspense is a real page-turner.

Special Agent indeed, Kandice Warner is everyone’s best friend. Talk about a Barbie doll! This female might have the same pretty-girl looks but even though she has a tender heart, she also has the resilience needed for a very successful FBI Hostage Negotiator. Feelings of inadequacy constantly force her to prove that she’s tough, and she demonstrates her courage when dealing with a murderous bank robber and a desperate jumper. But her tender heart can get her in trouble and she needs to grow a thicker skin. Almost impossible when her obstinate new boss, for reasons of his own, interferes in everything she does.

Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division in Washington, Dan Black is as hard as they come. With the grit of a street youth stiffening his resolve, he’s worked his way up through the ranks, his personal space shields as strong as ever. Until he sees the sweetest things on two legs! A girl from his past. The one he’s never been able to forget. Working undercover in the Seattle bureau, he tries to protect his childhood fantasy but she refuses to stay put or take orders. Faced with a woman like that, what’s a mere man to do?



Chapter One

“Smile at me one more time with those gleaming pearly-whites, and I’m liable to smash them down your throat. You got it?” Special Agent Kandice Warner had just arrived at the FBI office and greeted her co-worker.
Some of the other staffers who’d been watching laughed. One clapped, and the agent Kandice had been directing her threat to gloomily shook his head. “Kandi, what’s with the compliment? And your eyes are friggin’ twinkling. You gotta look like you mean it. God-almighty, sweets, it wasn’t at all believable.”
Hands on her hips, posing, Kandi grouched, “I practised that for half an hour. What was wrong with it this time?”
“Well, first of all, your eyes were soft, you got too damn close, and when you’re sarcastic to a perp ya just don’t pat his arm.”
Laughter rang out in the main room where a dozen or so others worked. Catcalls and whistles followed. One voice was louder and could be heard over the rest. “Kandi just doesn’t have the personality of a pit-bull, Wesley. She’s our sweetheart.”
“Ya, man, leave her alone. It’s bad enough we’re a bunch of hardened agents. We like her just the way she is.”
Wesley Snow, chubby with longish hair, glasses that never stayed up and a friendly disposition, snarled to the others, “Hell, this isn’t my idea. Kandi insists she needs to learn how to be scary, like the rest of us.”
Horrified, Kandi jumped in. “I never said that, you goofball. I said I wanted the criminals to take me more seriously. Not to decide they can run when I have a gun pointed at them.”
This brought more laughter and Kandi, not having the heart to continue with her snit, giggled with them.
“Give it up, sweetheart. We’ll look after you, same as we bin doin’ since forever. You’re like our mascot.” Bobbi, her best friend, came over and wrapped her in a hug, her brown eyes softening and her darkish-coffee skin glowing with health and vitality. The warmth, the smell of her vanilla body lotion, even the ruffling she gave Kandi’s curls, should have given Kandi a soft feeling. And it did… But dissatisfaction still hovered and wouldn’t fade.
“I can’t let it go, Bobbi. They have to start believing I’m competent, or my credibility goes right out the window.”
Bobbi nodded, her hand now holding one of Kandi’s. “Look, the reason that asshole ran away from you yesterday wasn’t because you didn’t scare him enough to follow orders. You were cool and said most of the words I would have used.” The rest of her co-workers nodded.
“I did?” Kandi knew they all considered Bobbi a level-headed agent who came off as being one not to mess with. Maybe this isn’t so bad after all.
“Hell, yeah.” A male voice added.
“S’truth.” Wesley nodded and joined in.
“Then why did he wink at me and run away?”
“Cause you were smiling beseechingly, and you made one small mistake… I never say, please stop.”
Kandi lowered her head in disgust. “I did say that, didn’t I? He knew I’d never shoot him.”
“Honey, no matter how good you were in training, or how thorough you are when it comes to talking these assholes down in a crisis negotiation, you don’t have the killer instinct.”
“I guess you’re right.” Kandi pushed her hands through her headful of blonde curls that bounced every which way, and grinned sadly. “I’m nothing but a wuss.”
“Oh, no, honey. That’s not what I said. Why, we’ve watched you stand up to some of the meanest sons-a-bitches ever and you never back down. By the time you’re finished with the pricks, you have them following you like puppy-dogs, willing to do whatever you say. It’s uncanny. I wish I had your talent.”
The rest of the room muttered various agreements, until their new boss entered and ended everyone’s fun.
Kandi watched the room settle down, busy agents now avidly working, typing and making phone calls. She caught Wesley’s wink before his head went down also.
This guy scared the stuffing out of all of them. He had the coldest disposition of anyone Kandi had ever met. His reputation preceded him, and the fact that he’d been demoted from his hoity-toity position in Washington as the Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division to the lowly Seattle branch as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge must have been very demoralizing for the man whose gritty personality terrified them.











Mimi Barbour is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who's sold over 500,000 copies of her books world-wide. Her five romance series: The Vicarage Bench/ time travel at it's best, Angels with Attitudes / angels love romance, Vegas / fast-paced plotting, Elvis / make a song a book and her newest, Undercover FBI / with sizzling conflicts and lots of humor.

Mimi's been heard to say: "I'm an author who loves to read uplifting stories about romance. Add in some time travel, or maybe an angel, or even a little romantic suspense and it makes the story more fascinating because of the incredible possibilities."