A Snippet of CIRCLE OF DISHONOR

242916_self-portraitThe blurb for the small novella, CIRCLE OF DISHONOR.

John “Ice” Takahashi’s final job for The Circle has an unexpected hitch in it; he’s fallen for an innocent civilian and his enemies know. With his mission in a shambles, he’ll do anything to protect her, including kill. So how can a man without honor prove he’s worthy of her love?

Lena Matthews feels like she’s playing with fire by dating the mysterious Master J. He’s exotic, dangerous, and exactly what she needs in her boring life. With the bad guys bearing down on them, she discovers a whole new world of sensuality that binds her heart to his forever.

And here is the snippet from the first chapter.

Lena Matthews felt like a perverted voyeur.

Sitting in a coffee shop across the courtyard from the martial arts studio’s glass storefront, she stared at the tae kwon do class as they kicked and jabbed. Most of the students wore white pajama-like uniforms, except for the teacher. He stood out in black with his shaggy dark hair and ripped body. The man looked good enough to lick.

For the last five weeks after her tai chi class, she’d claimed the same chair and watched his every move. Behind her, others in the coffee shop chatted about the class and the mysterious man leading it.

From what she’d overheard, his name was John Takahashi, and the students called him Master J.

Master? Oh, yeah. She could imagine he’d master many things. With his strong hands and long muscled arms and legs, he likely controlled any situation or person. He could easily lift and hold her against the wall as he stroked her to a climax. She whimpered and squeezed her knees together.

A shake of her head knocked out the dirty thoughts racing through her mind. She knew better. He’d never be attracted to an ordinary person like her. The woman he chose would be totally the opposite of her: young, athletic with honey blonde hair. Lena was about as interesting as watching bread turn to toast.

Copyright 2014 Carla Swafford

I had hoped to have it out in June, but it will be later. No date at this time. Keep an eye out here. [Updated 5/31/14 – It will be out in June after all. YAY!  Probably June 23. Be on the lookout for the announcement!]

All Paths Lead to Books

Businessman Wearing CapeI usually avoid talking about the day job except for the occasional remarks about working overtime and it kicking my butt. But today I’m in the mood to talk in general about it.

A few years ago, I started the current job after an old one sold out and moved away. Freaking stressful. See, I’ve realized over the years, I’m a slow starter. At first I don’t know for sure what questions to ask. I mainly soak in as much information as my brain can handle. Then I work through the areas I need improvement. Along the way, I either make bad choices or good ones. Then I work out the kinks.

I’m not much for tooting my own horn, though you may say differently if you read my blog regularly. But really, this is my place to make all kinds of noise.

Anyway, the point I’m getting to is even though I’m slow, I catch on and it sticks. My job reviews are always great. And I feel my books are that way.

Thankfully my critique partner and my beta readers say my books get better and better. That is so satisfying. I know I love each book I write, but the last one is always my favorite. LOL! Maybe one day will come that I have an old favorite. We’ll see.

So I hope everyone will give each of my books a try. Remember they’re along the lines of James Bond or Nikita, but way hot! They’re a little out there in adventure, but they are written for pure entertainment.

Wait until I finish Jack’s story (Rex’s brother in CIRCLE OF DECEPTION). He has a few surprises. At times, he can be an asshole, but can’t we all? Katerina (CIRCLE OF DANGER) will certainly straighten out his butt. I hope to have this story completed and published by August.

In June, I’m planning to release a novella (short story) with Ice Takahashi (CIRCLE OF DANGER) as the hero. The heroine wasn’t in the previous books, but you will find out some truths about Ice’s past and his real name.Young model

“Ice” Takahashi’s final job for The Circle has an unexpected hitch in it; he’s fallen for an innocent civilian. When his mission goes haywire, he’s determined to protect her and still come out of it alive. Maybe he can be an honorable man who’s worthy of her love.

Lena Matthews feels like she’s playing with fire by dating the mysterious Master J. He’s exotic, dangerous, and exactly what she needs in her boring life. With the bad guys bearing down on them, she discovers a whole new world of sensuality that binds her heart to his forever.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Young model
John Takahashi
also known as Ice
CIRCLE OF DISHONOR

Thanks to the fabulous Katherine Bone (Katherinebone.com) for inviting me to take part in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. And I’m told this post will also show up on Novels Alive TV [updated 7/11/2020 – no longer valid website]. Pretty neat website. You need to check it out.

Now for the first question. What am I working on?

I’m completing CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE. For those who have read the other Circle books, this is Jack’s story but in novella size. Before DEFIANCE, I had finished Ice’s story, CIRCLE OF DISHONOR.

They should be out this summer. Here are their blurbs.

CIRCLE OF DISHONOR:  After the death of her husband, Lena Matthews wants to explore the dark, sensual side of life. She dreams of having the mysterious martial arts teacher, John Takahashi, in her bed. His every move screams of how well versed he is in carnal knowledge, and she’s willing to be the perfect student.

John, known as Ice in the more deadly parts of the world, wants the shy woman watching him from the coffee shop. But if he introduces her to his lifestyle, the trap he set for his enemy may snap shut on them both. Yet, he’ll risk it all to make her his.

CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE: Katerina Savalas hates to ask anyone for a favor, especially The Circle operative, Jack Drago. She needs his protection, and he’s the only man in the small town capable of fighting off the local criminal demanding that she handover the treasure map she’s found.

Only problem is Jack rather drink and wallow in self-pity than be the hero she remembers. Being assigned in the hayseed town, he’s aware that his days are numbered, and he believes she’s making it up. Treasure maps, yeah, right. But when someone burns down her house and almost kills her, he refuses to let his curse kill another woman on his watch. Or he will die trying.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, I guess every author likes to believe their books/series are different from everyone else’s.  Let’s see. When I’m asked what I write, I normally answer Romantic Suspense. But that’s not totally accurate. In fact, recently I started branding myself as Action – Adventure Romantic Suspense. My books are fast paced, sexy, and often violent. Usually I say they’re like James Bond or La Femme Nikita. So how many romance books out there can say that?

Why do I write what I do?

Because they’re the type of stories I love to read and watch on TV and in the movies. The guys are alphas and know how to handle themselves. They’re willing to protect women in a heartbeat. While the heroines can kick-butt or at least have the sense to stay out of the way if they don’t know how.

How does your writing process work?

At the start, I begin writing the book with a general idea of where I want to go. Then about halfway through I check my white board where I have written several notes of what should be happening in each section of the book. It’s broken down to twelve parts with the usual highs and lows for a three part story. I use Blake Snyder’s SAVE THE CATand  Michael Hague’s Six Stage Plot Structure (both are for screenplays but can be used to write novels) to make sure I’m on track. Then I go back and tweak what I missed in the beginning and then finish the book. Sometimes, if I feel stuck, I’ll write out a short synopsis and add a few bios of the characters. That usually clears my head and I can finish without worrying what I forgot.

I know, I know. Not a very exciting post. But I leave all the excitement to my characters.