Mission: Her Security

by Anna Hackett

Hackett impresses me with this series. She takes tough and broken people and brings them together in a dangerous situation. They are faced with losing someone they want to be with but have held back because they think they aren’t right for the other person. Again, this is a combo of military, paranormal, romance and other aspects. I LOVE how she makes the women strong and determined even if they aren’t able to overcome the people they are fighting against. They try and they are smart about it. Smith and Kinsey both have feelings for each other. Smith had a bad first marriage so he’s sworn off relationships. And the Kinsey is kidnapped…. multiple times. Kinsey grew up in an abusive household and she’s made the choice to be a happy person but underneath it all, she lacks confidence in her own value. Smith is determined to find her. She just a part of the team and so delicate but he discovers her strength in all the shit she’s put through and his love for her. It’s a solid story. I read it in one sitting – unusual for me.

Perilous Love

Jan Selbourne and I have become friends through our love of writing. I have to say, her writing and dedication to facts in her historical novels is impressive. Because of this I invited her to share a bit about what inspired her to write Perilous Love which I could not put down.

Thank you very much Eileen for inviting me to talk about my book Perilous Love

April 25 was Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand.

On the 25th of April 1915 the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps formed part of the allied expedition which landed at 5.30 am on the Gallipoli (Turkey) peninsula. These became known as Anzacs and the pride they took in that name continues.  

When WW1 began in 1914, Australia and New Zealand were part of the British Empire. We were young countries with populations of only 4.9 million and 1.1 million respectively. That didn’t stop our young men from lining up to join the fight 13,000 miles away. A grand adventure to teach the Germans a lesson and be home by Christmas. Some fretted the action would be over before they got there. They weren’t to know that four long brutal years later 62,000 Australians and 16,500 New Zealanders would never see home again.   

Each year, except for 2020, Australia and New Zealand hold dawn services in each city and town and again at 11.30am – 5.30am in Turkey – to remember the Anzacs and all those who served and who gave their lives in wars and conflicts and peacekeeping operations.  Each year an enormous crowd gathers at the Gallipoli Peninsula for an Anzac dawn service in harmony with the Turkish government and people.

My grandfather enlisted in early 1915 and served in Egypt and the battlefields of Belgium and France. It was at Etaples (France) Army Base Camp housing up to 100,000 British, Canadian, Scottish and Anzac forces that he actually bumped into his brother, whom he had not seen for six years. Both men returned home but the deaths and carnage and appalling conditions on the Western Front left a terrible mark on them.

I could see why when I visited those battlefields a few years ago. Miles of beautiful soft green countryside until our guide held up enlarged photos of blackened, smoky wasteland. Not just the huge craters and bodies of horses and soldiers and overturned cannons but the toll on local citizens whose towns and farms were destroyed, and lives lost.  I wanted to write about it but couldn’t put it together.

It was not long after I came home that I read an article on how a person’s true character is revealed when faced with extreme danger or a life-threatening situation. For instance, the tough chest beating he-man turns to water and runs. The shy introvert steps up to face the danger head on. I had my story.

Perilous Love begins in 1914 England with Europe on edge after the assassination of an archduke.

Here’s the blurb –

Gabrielle Bryce’s plan to leave her miserable empty marriage ends when her estranged husband Adrian announces he’ll accompany her and their two children on the annual trip to Belgium. She wasn’t to know the British government ordered Adrian to find proof her aristocratic uncle is secretly supporting the German Empire’s quest for war.

What Adrian finds pushes them into a nightmare of betrayal, forcing them to run for their lives as the German forces cross the border. With only a stolen horse and buggy to their name and facing danger, brutality, and painful truths about themselves, they reach safety as two different people. Waiting for them are charges of treason and a woman who’ll stop at nothing to see Adrian dead.





crochet needles and threads on windowsill

One More Scene

Tonight I’ve written a couple of scenes in the expanded version of Heart of Fire. I have one more scene to write and then I’ll be done. I have to think about how much detail I want to put into the explanation. I need to sleep on it. With any luck, I’ll finish it tomorrow.

This gets this part of the story up to almost 26K so combined with the second part at a little over 28K I’ll have a 54K novel roughly. The anthology will be out this year for six months.

Once I get my rights back to the story, I’ll combine the two and do another thorough edit on the whole thing. Then I’ll release it in ’24 as a novel. I believe I’ll give good value for the additional cost of it. Hopefully readers will feel the same.

Once I finish this one, I’ll take a break from writing to do some editing. I also have to do a bunch of book work. I need to pay bills, prep for taxes, and a few other things like this. I hope I still have time to finish this one but this stuff needs to get tackled so I can check it off my list.

Hopefully by the end of the weekend, I’ll have finished the addition to the story, book work, and the client work. I could go back to Hunger on Monday then. It all depends on how many interruptions I get this weekend.

Vicki and I plan to watch the six hour Pride and Prejudice. I can do book work and promoting while we do that. I also want to work on crocheting. I’ve got half the squares for a blanket crocheted together and want to do the other half and see how much yarn I have left so I can decide whether to do a border. It’s going to be a full weekend.

red fire illustration

Two Stories at Once

Tonight I couldn’t decide which story to work on. I’m only a few thousand words from being done on the first half of Heart of Fire. But I need to finish Hunger for the anthology. I almost always choose the project I think I can complete faster to work on so I started with Heart of Fire.

As is my habit, I reread the previous sections to where I was adding scenes. Then I had to find out more information from the second story so I spent more time reading. But eventually I felt confident enough to write what I needed. I added a couple of scenes and have a plan on how to finish off the first one. I think this section will take a night of solid writing to finish it off but you never know.

I thought I was done for the night but Hunger was open so I went back to where I left off and realized I knew what I wanted to write. I started in and in forty minutes finished off the section. I like what I wrote and hope it represent the situation how I want it too. I also know where I’m going with it.

All together I added about 1200 words to Heart of Fire and about 1500 to Hunger. Tomorrow night my plan is to do more of the same. I hope I’ll finish Heart of Fire – or at least get it to a point where I only have to smooth it out once the second half is edited and added to it.

From there it can sit for a bit while I work on other things. My hope is to publish it beginning of 2024. My hope is I’ll finish both stories by the end of the week but only time will tell on this.

multicolored hearts wallpaper

Heart of Fire Expansion

I have so many projects floating in my head. I want to get some out. I couldn’t sleep the other night and pulled up the Heart of Fire file. I figured I’d read it and go to sleep. I read parts of it and then I decided on a place where I could add a sizeable chunk of information.

This was great but I’m not supposed to be working on this right now. I have a list and I’m trying to stick to it. But sometimes the words just come. I added just under 1200 words to it on Thursday. Tonight I managed to write 2659 words in it. I’ve got two more scenes I want to add in. Then I’ll look at this chapter to see how well it works or if I need to split it up.

I want to smooth out a couple more places before I think I’ll be adding a few more scenes so I can transition into the second part. The second part will be out in Portal to the Other Side. It releases in May.

I’ll get my rights back late in 2023 so I’ll probably put the new novel on the agenda for 2024. This is why I don’t need to work on this now but apparently the words and ideas are here so it’s what I’m doing.

Meanwhile I’ve started a new scifi short story I’m calling Hunger. This will go into an anthology as well.

Tomorrow will be working on administrative stuff for my writing. We’re watching movies together. So I’ll work on the computer while I watch. This way I’ll get two things done at once. If I get tired of the admin stuff, I’ll work on crocheting the squares together in my afghan.

I’ve not been crocheting for weeks now. Last time I ended up with a back ache and sore fingers from working with a thread. This is all my rheumatoid arthritis. I hate this part of it. I’ve asked my doctor for some things to do. I’ve got three exercises for my hands.

Unfortunately, my shoulder started hurting a few weeks ago. I have aches and pains all the time so I thought it would just pass. But it didn’t. So I asked my doctor about it and he thinks I may have a torn rotator cuff. Again this is likely a problem caused by my arthritis. So I’m going to PT and will do everything I can to stop it from getting worse.

When I mentioned it, he examined my shoulder and pressed on things. He had me hold out my arm and he pressed on it. By the time he was done, I felt awful. It took a day plus for my pain level to go back down to a normal level for me. Hopefully the PT will help.

brown wooden desk

Heart of Fire Sequel

Today’s been busy. Vicki and Ken did the grocery shopping. When they got home, I helped with prepping stuff for the freezer. I didn’t think I’d get writing time but I managed to write a small scene which led to a slightly longer scene before I had to prep for the author talk.

I did the author talk which was a bit slow. There weren’t a lot of people on with us. It was a good conversation.

After my author talk, wrote some more. I’m really close to the end of this story. I want to do nothing more than write but I’m wiped out.

Tomorrow is a full day with a few activities. I’ll be making breakfast while Ken gets out my swag for book events. Vicki and I will go through it tomorrow after breakfast – I think. We need to figure out what I have and what I need by October. There’s an author event – Book Love on the Rock – I’m going to and another one in February 2024 – RAWR Romance Atlanta Writers and Readers. I need to start buying and prepping for these events. It’s a lot to wrap my head around.

My hope is tomorrow after all the tasks I’ll have time to write and edit. I have a new client and need to get their work done as well as my own. With Monday off, I’ll try to focus on writing but the family does insist on me spending time with them.

Today was a good day for writing, I got over 3500 words written. I finished a partial chapter and finished a second chapter. I’m super pleased with my progress. According to my outline – still can’t believe I’m using one – I have five chapters left. If they are all about 2500 long, I will be over the word count for the story. I’m not worrying about it just yet. I want to tell the story and then I’ll see how long it is.

I hate the idea of cutting any of my ideas so I’ll check with the organizer and see what she says. I have time to adjust if I need to.

dragon festival during nighttime

New Short Story

Short stories are fun to write but the pacing can be troublesome depending on the word count allowed for the anthology.

I started writing a short story – calling it Portal for right now – It’s a part 2 to Heart of Fire. I have three chapters written and about 10K (slightly under) done.

I outlined this story. I don’t like to work with an outline because I usually get sidetracked from them and then frustrated because I have to put stuff aside. Well this has helped me focus which is a bit odd for me.

My hope is by the end of the weekend, I’ll have completed the first draft. But we’ll see. I just got a client for editing so that will slow me down a bit.

When I set up the new journal and made the decision to work this way, I was concerned it wouldn’t work but first run of it seems to be working. It at the very least keeps me on track.

I ended off starting the new chapter. It was in my head so I wanted to get the scene down before I forgot. Now tonight I can dream about the next step. It’s all about one mate being setup. Some of the dragons calling for his punishment and others standing by him. All while his mates are trying to find out the real traitor and who set him up.

I’ve got two chapters to write about it so depending on how much writing time I get tomorrow, I might be able to squeak out the two chapters. I’ve been averaging between 2500 words and 3500 words a night. It’s good progress.

black text on gray background

When the Muse Grabs You by the Throat, You have to Obey!

It’s 3:30 am and I meant to be in bed an hour ago. This is not an uncommon occurrence but still annoying. It’s been a meh day for me. I woke up feeling bent – this is my way of saying my arthritis was bad. I had to text my boss to tell her I wanted to start later. She’s always cool with this but it annoys me when I have to take advantage of it. I took an hour, slept for part of the time and then got moving (slowly) before getting to work. I opted not to make up my time.

This meant my brain was slow to work today. I made progress on tasks but I wanted to do super fast work. I couldn’t. I made a point of putting my computer aside for my lunch time. I knew I needed the break from it.

Because it was a rough day, I didn’t edit. My brain still felt sluggish and I didn’t think I had the bandwidth to give it the focus the editing needs. Instead, I talked with my sister and worked on a non-writing project.

Prepping for bed, my eyes were drooping and I felt worn out. When I turned everything off, I thought good I’ll be asleep in no time at all. Nope. That did not happen. I lay in the dark and heard this conversation.

Now I’ve signed up to write a bunch of short stories for different anthologies. I like writing short stories. They are quick writes and usually I can get them done in under a week. So I signed up for one and decided I could write in the Heart of Fire (short story I wrote several years ago) world and finish the story.

Earlier this week as I was getting writing things organized, I wrote a rough (vague) outline for this short story. I rarely do any planning or outlining so this was quite a thing for me. So I’m laying in the dark and I hear this conversation. I try to convince myself I can just remember it and get it down later… yeah I know. I laughed at the idea. So then I’m thinking – okay I’ll do talk to text and just email it to myself. But my phones been weird and I just want to get it written. I consider grabbing one of my rocket books but realize I’ll have to turn on the light. If I’m turning on the lights, I might as well open my computer.

So I did. Now I’ve got the first chapter done and I’ve written 1320 words. Now the short story needs to be 10,000 to 20,000 words. I’ve outlined 12 chapters so if I average 1500 words per chapter, I should be at about 18K when I’m done. We’ll see how that goes.

I like what I’ve written and I think I’ve gotten the snarky tone I want. I just need to make sure I write in first person present tense. That will be the hard part for me.

close up photo of white and black journal

Added Another Scene

At 11:30 pm I started writing. Or more accurately I reread the last scene I wrote and then moved forward with the next scene. I got about 800 words into this scene. So in all I’ve added another 2100 words to the book to put it in over 66K. I’m not worried about it. I’ve added some plot points which will be relevant in the subsequent books. I just need to make note of it.

I’m off work tomorrow! Yeah!

I hope this means I’ll have time to edit and write. I’m working with an author to help her with categories and keywords. I hope it won’t take more than two hours.

Once I’m done helping the author, I want to go back to my email notes and see if there’s anything else I need to address. My notes for book 2 in this series were minimal but I do want to make some notes from my research. I want to remember to incorporate tidbits in books 2 and 3. Breadcrumbs really…

My notes for Surrender to the Sea Demon are lengthy so my hope is to focus on those chapter notes and get a couple of chapter done.

I do need to do the client editing so I’ll work on that before I write. If I do it the other way, I won’t edit. I’d rather write so editing first.

We’re doing our virtual holiday with the family tomorrow night. It’s a good thing it’s virtual because the weather is miserable. Our temperature is -9 degrees Fahrenheit with a windchill -34 degrees Fahrenheit. Not a pleasant environment. A perfect day to stay inside and write – after I edit.

black text on gray background

What happens when I write two books at once?

During my thirty minute lunch, I wrote in my journal. I was writing about writing – no surprise there. An idea came to me for the first book in the alien alliance series I’m working on. I wrote it in my journal.

My plan for the night – finish reading Alien Alliance book 1 and go back to Surrender to the Sea Demon. That did not happen.

I finished book 1. I was happy with it. I enjoyed the plot line and the pacing. But apparently my brain wasn’t happy with it. I wrote a new scene last night and tonight I finished reading it through (one of many read through steps) and planned to mark where I wanted to add in more. I found which chapter I wanted to add to, realized it was one of the shorter chapters in the book, and planned to just put in some symbol to find it again tomorrow.

If you’ve read my blog at all, you know this didn’t happen. The two brothers argued and I realized I wanted to get down just a bit of the scene to give me the feel for it. So I wrote. About two thirds of the way through the scene my eyes said – done.

I’ve been on the computer a lot today and they are burning. It’s a reminder to put eyedrops in tonight. So I thought – okay I’ll mark the spot and come back to it tomorrow. Yes I know you can laugh at me. I didn’t stop. I thought well maybe I can just quickly finish it off. Nope.

Now the scene is finished but it took me a bit. I’m even more tired now – go figure. I know I’ll have some smoothing to do when I edit but I added 1300 words to the story and I’m happy with the scene.

I think I’ll add one more scene (probably another 1000 words) with Janine and P’lar starting it. I feel like there should be one more scene in there. Maybe something about the mineral the humans want which will hopefully lead to some plot points in the third book. Not sure yet and I’ve named it in the last scene but I have to come up with a good idea why they wouldn’t use the human supply of it. I may have to rethink the material. That isn’t hard to do though.

And I made no progress on Surrender to the Sea Demon… tomorrow night maybe…