As a writer, I often find inspiration for my stories in the strangest places—watching people at the food court in the mall, overhearing a heated conversation between a man and a woman as they walk across a parking lot, glancing at the cover of a magazine at the grocery store check-out, hearing an interesting accent for the first time, watching a true crime documentary, etc.
However, the inspiration for Deadly Disciple, book two in my O’Halleran Security Int’l. series was much more personal. The hero, Caleb, is modeled after my oldest brother, Mike, who was a tactical canine handler with the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue team. And my hero’s canine partner, Jake, was inspired by my brother’s partner, Zvip, whose picture is on the book cover.
I thought it would be fun to do a Q & A with him. So, I asked the subscribers to my COVERT DETAILS newsletter to send me their questions. Below are those questions, along with the answer provided by my brother.
When did you first know you wanted to be in the FBI?
When I was in the Marine Corps, the FBI-HRT came to Camp Pendleton in 1983 to train for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. I had some minor exposure to the Team at that time, and knew then that I wanted to be on HRT. Being an FBI Agent was always a goal of mine since I was a teenager.
When did you know you wanted to work with dogs?
I have always loved dogs. One of my assignments in the Marine Corps was the Tactical Platoon Leader for the Provost Marshal’s Office at Camp Pendleton. The Military Working Dogs were assigned to the Tactical Team, and I was overall responsible for them. As an officer, I could not be a handler, but I was always impressed with their capabilities. As a police officer, I was able to see the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department’s K-9s work, but was offered a position with the FBI before I had a chance to become a handler. I became an FBI Agent, and after two years in the Houston Field Office, I went to HRT Selection, and was fortunate enough to be selected for the Team. At that time, the Team had 2 dogs that were trained in only patrol work. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, that program was disbanded by the time I went through New Operator’s Training and was assigned to the Team. In 2008, the Team, after seeing the success that military special operations units had utilizing dogs in operations overseas, decided to initiate the tactical K-9 program. At the time, I was teaching at the FBI Academy, and decided to go back to the Team in hopes of becoming a handler. In 2009, I was fortunate enough to be assigned as a handler, and attended dog school.
How does a dog assist in hostage rescues?
The tactical canines can do almost everything the human operators do except Scuba. They perform a variety of functions from apprehension (room/building/vehicle clearings, bite work, area searches, tracking/trailing, searching for hidden subjects) to explosives detection for hidden weapons and explosives, IEDs, and booby-traps.
What is Zvip’s favorite treat?
Food-wise, it would probably be, BilJac training treats. Work-wise, obviously bite work, but he does love to do detection with the reward being a tug-of-war with the tennis ball.
Are there any “events” you and Zvip were involved in that we, the general public, might know of?
The ones that may have made national news include the search for and arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – the Boston Bomber, the search for the murderer of a Mt. Rainier National Park Ranger, the location of/shootout with a mass murderer in Herkimer, NY, and the manhunts for fugitives involving the murder of a state trooper and escaped convicts in New York. We also participated in the clearing of buildings at the Navy Yard Shooting. We were involved in many other operations that may not have made national news.
Human partners make conscious decisions, but I presume Zvip had to follow commands?
He was given commands, but when he was off-lead searching or doing detection work, he was making decisions based on his inherent instincts or his training. He learned that by using his senses to locate and detect humans he would be rewarded. The same was true for explosives. He was placed in different situations through scenario-based training which taught him how to work through and solve problems.
Knowing how close you get to your canine partner, how did you reconcile giving Zvip a command to go into harm’s way?
As much as I love Zvip, he was there to protect other operators and me. It was the same as a human partner – if operators were going in, Zvip was as well – often leading the way. I would not intentionally put him in a deadly situation unless we were going to be right behind him.
How old was Zvip when you retired? How old is he now?
Zvip was seven years old when we retired. He was born on August 8, 2008.
How long are tactical canines typically in service?
Our dogs usually retire after they have worked five to seven years. Some longer, some shorter. The constant stress of live fire and breaching charges can take its toll on the dogs.
Does Zvip have an accurate sense about people when he meets them?
All our dogs are not people aggressive unless they are given a bite command. They all live with the handlers and their families. They also have to operate in stressful situations around other operators without being aggressive. That’s part of their selection process. They are just like other dogs—some love socializing, while others tolerate it.
How and where do they find the dogs that are used by the HRT?
Initially a U.S. Army special operations unit was responsible for selecting our dogs. Their trainers would make “buy trips” to Europe to test and purchase dogs from European working dog breeders. They might see 150-200 dogs, and come back with 2-6 dogs, depending upon the testing. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Those dogs would go through additional training back at the unit. I would estimate that about 20% of those dogs would fail that process. Today, the dogs are selected by an independent trainer contracted to oversee the training of the dogs and handlers.
I grew up surrounded by five brothers; three older and two younger. Mike is the oldest, and though he was only three-and-a-half years older than me, he always seemed so much more responsible. Probably because he was! He is also one of the most funny, easy-going, modest, patient guys I’ve ever known. His willingness to share his knowledge and experience were invaluable and brought an authenticity and richness to Deadly Disciple I never could’ve achieved without him.
I am incredibly proud of him and Zvip. They are my real-life heroes.
If you’d like to read TJ’s previous blog posts; An Accidental Author and From the Stage to the Page, simply click on the titles.
An honorable man driven by the need for retribution …
Caleb O'Halleran is a Tactical K9 Specialist with the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team. Finding the traitor responsible for his K9 partner’s death is the only thing that matters … until he meets an enchanting, strong-willed doctor.
A noble doctor determined to help others …
Dr. Dawn Pannikos is a busy ER doctor with a surly teenage sister to raise and a past that has taught her not to trust love. Falling for an irresistibly charming ladies' man with shadows around his heart was never part of her plan and it scares the hell out of her.
Two innocent women dragged into a nightmare …
When Dawn and her sister become prisoners of a psychopathic cult leader, they are plunged into the middle of a dangerous FBI operation. Will Caleb and his new K9 partner, Jake, get to them in time, or will he be too late to save the woman who owns his heart?
DEADLY DISCIPLE is Book 2 in the O'Halleran Security International Series (OSI).
Watch for DEADLY SECRET and DEADLY DECEPTION,
Books 1 and 3 in TJ Logan's O'Halleran Security International series
All the books in the OSI Series are stand-alones with their own HEA.
TJ Logan is an award-winning author of the O'Halleran Security Int'l. (OSI) Romantic Suspense series. Anchored by strong themes of Family, Honor and Loyalty, each of the first six books tell the story of one of the O'Halleran siblings; five alpha brothers and their over-protected, yet feisty younger sister. Don't worry, the series will not end with the O'Halleran siblings! The books are all connected, but each has its own HEA.
Over the past year, Sharon has written some amazing posts for LoveRRs so it's wonderful to finally get to know her on a more personal level. TWINS? Did you know she has twins? And...well, I don't want to give the rest away... Thank you for being here, Sharon!
Hi! To start off, please tell us your name, where you’re from, and what you write?
I’m Sharon Wray and I’m from Virginia. While I write in multiple genres, I’m currently published in Romantic Suspense.
How did you become an author? Please share a bit of your journey with us.
I started writing in middle school but didn’t take it seriously until after my twins were born. While my journey wasn’t easy, but I wasn’t eaten by alligators either. J I started writing and joined RWA in March 2004 and Sourcebooks published my first book EVERY DEEP DESIRE in March 2018. Within those 14 years, I wrote ten manuscripts, finaled in the Golden Heart 8 times, and had hundreds of rejections.
Along the way, I continued learning and querying and reading and adapting until I found an agent finally had a manuscript that was ready to meet the world. For some it’s an easier journey, for others it’s harder. But the journey takes as long as it takes, and it’s different for each of us. The most important thing to remember is what Theodore Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
What are you working on now? Do you have a recent or upcoming release?
ONE DARK WISH, the second book in my Deadly Force series, comes out September 24 (YAY!!!) and is available for preorder. IN SEARCH OF TRUTH, the second book in the series comes out in February 2020.
What is the most challenging part of writing romantic suspense?
My romantic suspense books are a cross between National Treasure-type mysteries that also retell Shakespeare’s classic love stories. I’ve always wanted to rewrite the endings of his tragedies so everyone would get their HEA, and I’ve always loved puzzle-type plots. So writing a combination of these stories felt like a perfect fit.
EVERY DEEP DESIRE is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. ONE DARK WISH redeems Othello and Desdemona’s story. And IN SEARCH OF TRUTY is a “what-if” story of Hamlet and Ophelia’s doomed love story.
Other elements in the Deadly Force series come from the Fenian Cycle of Poetry, specifically the legend of Fionn Mac Cumhaill. Fionn was a mythic warrior in pagan Ireland who led a band of warriors, known as the Fianna, who were so brutal that the Roman legions turned around and left.
The stories of the Fianna include the fact that they speak only in verse from the Twelve Books of Irish Poetry, they train naked in the winter, and must each suffer through a gauntlet of 80 men, each holding two weapons. Some say Fionn and his Fianna army is the reason why Rome never invaded Ireland.
I took these old stories and wondered, “What if the Fianna was still real? A secret army that works for itself—with no allegiance to any country or government? What would that look like? Would they also speak in verse? Train naked? Suffer a gauntlet?” (the answer to all of these questions is yes!)
And so the Fianna army in the Deadly Force series was born – with Rafe, the hero of EVERY DEEP DESIRE, being one of their warriors who tithed his life to the Prince. The Prince being the current day leader of the Fianna – the current day Fionn Mac Cumhaill.
So back to the question, these books require a ton of research and detailed outlines that can be challenging, but I love these stories so much it’s truly a joy to write them!
What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new book?
Tons. I’m always researching Shakespeare, Irish mythology, American history (for the puzzle plots), and military research.
Do you have any work experience involving the elements of romantic suspense?
I’m married to an ex-Army officer and many members of my family have served (or are currently serving) in the military. I also live in an area where many of my neighbors are federal law enforcement officers. And they’re always willing to help! It helps that I’m also an experienced reference librarian.
What/who do you like to read and do you have a favorite genre/author?
My favorite author is JR Ward. I love all of her paranormal romance series and am constantly re-reading them. I’m also continually inspired by her work ethic and her support for other authors.
Please share one piece of advice to aspiring authors - what do you wish someone would have told you? Or, what did someone tell you that you’d like to pass on to others?
You are never too old, too young, too anything to start reaching for your goals or making your dreams come true. If you want to do something—anything—go do it. And remember that done is better than perfect!
Dark chocolate, light chocolate, or white chocolate? Dark!!!
Alpha, beta, or both? Alpha!!!
Boxers, briefs, or commando? Commando!!!
Leather, lace, or silk? Silk!!!
Cake, cookies, or crumpets? Cookies!!
Cats, dogs, or exotics? Dogs!!!
One Dark Wish
"Sexy Green Berets, dark secrets, and sizzling chemistry."—Cherry Adair, New York Times bestselling author
Her life must be forfeit for his to be redeemed
Historian Sarah Munro is not used to being shot at, but that's just what happens while she's poking around cemeteries on Georgia's Isle of Grace, searching for the key to a centuries-old cipher. Her quest has unwittingly drawn the attention of two deadly enemies intent on destroying each other—and anyone who gets in their way.
Ex–Green Beret Major Nate Walker is on a mission of his own: to restore the honor of his men. To do that, he is required to stop Sarah—or one of his own men will die. Caught in the middle of a deadly rivalry, Nate can't afford to trust the woman standing in his way. But his heart says he can't afford not to...
More about Sharon
Sharon is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes of novels of suspense, adventure, and love. A wife, mother of twins, and caretaker of Donut the one-eyed dog, she’s addicted to snapping photos and eating Oreos. She writes about the men in her Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets and their smart, sexy heroines retell Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.
It’s July and I’m at my desk making up hopelessly romantic stories about imaginary people, not the level-headed career my mom envisioned for her daughters, but then she did take us on vacation to Lake Tahoe. The place made me a writer.
Our station wagon bounced up a rutted yellow dirt road in the woods past the cabin where mom stayed as a girl. She told us stories of how her father traded for fish with descendants of the first people who lived in the Sierra, and we stepped back in time.
We left the road a few hundred yards beyond the spot for our rented cabin. A huge deck jutted out from the main floor above a pine clearing. Inside, were a kitchen, a small bath, and a large wood-paneled room for eating and endless, inescapable family togetherness. A screened round black metal fire pit with a smokestack through the upper story offered heat on cold mornings. Open stairs along one wall led up to a room for our parents and a sort of dormitory for those who did not want to sleep on the deck under the stars, watching for bats.
We did chores, hiked, swam, played endless card games, and encountered wild life from fish and crawdads to deer and bear. No TV, just Nancy Drew, True Romance comics from the local general store, and long dreamy hours on the beach after tuna sandwiches on Sheepherder’s bread and before a last swim in the lake’s icy waters. Clear cold air and water heightened tastes and smells.
Those dreamy hours on the rocky beach I would retreat into my imagination and people watch. There were boat launchers, college kids employed by the restaurant on the pier, and one family that came every day in a long black hearse. They smoked and read newspapers. The women wore bikinis, and the men, briefs in the European mode, not the modest swimsuits of our parents’ crowd. They didn’t match up neatly into mom-and-dad pairs, and there was a grandmother in head-to-toe black in a chair under an umbrella above the rocky beach. How could I not make up stories about them? And once hooked, not go on dreaming away hot summer days making up stories. Happy reading, all.
A Spy's Guide to Seduction
March 12, 2019
Historical ~ Regency ~ Romantic Comedy
An independent lady is accidentally betrothed to a spy with a mysterious past in this Regency gem from beloved, award-winning author Kate Moore. A volume of tips for the marriage-minded brought them together, but their sweeping adventure will change all the rules of engagement . . .
When her desperate mother sends her The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London, outspoken Emily Radstock rails against the slim book of manners, boldly declaring that she should wed the first “imbecile” she meets and be done with the matter. Too bad Sir Ajax Lynley overhears her outrageous proposal and holds her to it. But he’s no dullard—he’s a wily government agent who needs the cover of a beautiful fiancé to pursue a deadly enemy. To resist his charms, Emily turns to the guide she disdains—and does exactly the opposite. Dress fashionably? She enshrouds herself in black crepe. Be demure? She steps into danger and faces down criminals alongside her “intended” . . . whose thrilling seduction may be anything but a charade.
Praise for Kate Moore’s previous novels
“Moore writes with a lyrical beauty that will leave no heart untouched.” —RT Book Reviews
“Fans will hope for more of Moore’s sinful delights to come.” --Library Journal (starred review)
“Moore skillfully whets readers’ appetites . . .” --Booklist
A native Californian, Kate taught English to generations of high school students, who are now her Facebook friends, while she not-so-secretly penned Romances. In Kate’s stories honorable, edgy loners meet warm, practical women who draw them into a circle of love whether in Regency London or contemporary California. A Golden Heart, Golden Crown, and Book Buyers Best winner and three-time RITA finalist, Kate lives north of San Francisco with her surfer husband, their yellow Lab, a Pack ‘n Play for visiting grand babies, and miles of crowded bookshelves.
As a writer, I get inspiration from lots of sources, but one favorite is films, and the actors in them. While writing a series of Pride and Prejudice continuation novellas, I had one actor in mind as “my” Mr. Darcy: Colin Firth. Below are my top ten Colin Firth movies, perfect for summer viewing (or anytime!).
10. The Secret Garden (1987): This may be my favorite adaptation of the beloved book, but I haven't seen it in so long, I can’t be sure anymore. Firth’s role is very small, but he’ll be starring as Lord Craven in the upcoming adaptation, which I’m excited about!
9. Circle of Friends (1995): I also haven't seen this in awhile, but I most remember Alan Cumming playing someone smarmy in it. Firth’s role is minimal, but it’s a solid film based on the Maeve Binchy book.
8. Mary Poppins Returns (2018): My son and I saw this in the theatre last year. While we didn’t feel it lived up to the original, it’s fun to watch—and see Firth play somewhat against type.
7. Bridget Jones's Diary (2001): It's been awhile since I’ve seen this, but I remember enjoying Firth’s performance as straightlaced Mark Darcy.
6. Love, Actually (2003): While I usually watch this every year, I have mixed feelings about it. But I love the cast.
5. What a Girl Wants (2003): Cute teen movie, with an enjoyable cast.
4. Nanny McPhee (2005): Emma Thompson. Angela Lansbury. Colin Firth. Need I say more about this magical movie?
3. The Importance of Being Earnest (2002): I enjoy this lovely adaptation of the Oscar Wilde classic. Great cast, sparkling dialogue!
2. The King's Speech (2010): Excellent period drama about King George VI. Firth gives an amazing performance. I also love the brief reunion with his Pride and Prejudice co-star, Jennifer Ehle.
1. Pride and Prejudice (1995): To me, Firth is Darcy. This adaptation is one of my all-time favorite period dramas. Glorious set and costume design, wonderful cast and script. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it!
Are you a Colin Firth fan? If so, what are your favorites of his films?
Love at Pemberley
On sale for $0.99 through July 31, 2019
Find love at Pemberley in four sweet novellas continuing the beloved story of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. In Most Truly, Kitty Bennet meets Colonel Fitzwilliam, who is most truly a gentleman, and truly knows he wants Kitty for his wife. Then Miss Darcy Decides for herself whether Sir Camden can be trusted. Miss Bennet Blooms finds Mary Bennet befriending botanist Nathaniel Bingley. And, it's Christmastide at Pemberley in Misunderstood—Miss Maria Lucas and Mr. Denny join the festivities as they all find their happily ever afters at Mr. Darcy's Pemberley.
Praise for the Love at Pemberley novellas
“A light and charming novella that impressed this Jane Austen aficionado.” ~M.E. Almaguer, Romantic Historical Reviews
“A wonderful afternoon read with a cuppa and a few iced tea biscuits....” ~Susanne Barrett of Meditative Meanderings
“It was a pleasure watching their romance bloom.” ~Long and Short Book Reviews
“The characters have the their true essence brought to life here. New characters are pleasantly complimentary to those existing ones as well. An easy flowing read that for any Jane fans is worth the time.” ~Margaret, Literary Chanteuse
Reina M. Williams writes sweet Austen-inspired and fairy tale romances. She loves period dramas, cooking, baking, and reading. She has a B.A. in History and did graduate study in English Literature. A California native, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her two sons, who hope to someday take a research trip to England with their mom.
Summer is finally in full mode and I couldn’t be happier. I’m a summer person; I need the sun to recharge once in a while.
I live in an area that is, most of the time, unaffected by heatwaves. Our summers are warm and windy, and with some luck, sunny.
To some, summer means barbecues, backyard parties, pool parties. To me, summer means less cooking, more sandals, beach readings, and bonfires with friends.
You read me right, less cooking. I love to cook but in the summer, I couldn’t care less about it. I don’t want to stay at the stove for hours unless it’s for a special occasion so I go out more. Drive thrus make a fortune with me!
While some are all about barbecuing and smoking, I’m an advocate of simplicity. There’s this recipe I got from a penpal I got years ago that I still make time for every summer. It’s cheap in cost, it’s refreshing, crispy, and full of flavor. The simplest recipe to make and it takes just about ten minutes to make.
The best thing about it is that you can play with the ingredients, add or remove to your liking. I personally love onions but there are limits to what my body can withstand. I put less than half what the recipe asks. I also add more bell peppers (different colors), and play with dressings. I’m not a huge fan of oil-based dressing like this one, so I just go with a sweet one that compliments the flavors like sweet mustard and honey, Catalina, or Russian (if you’re lucky enough to find any).
Here is the recipe for Summer Corn Salad! Enjoy!
1/4 - 1/3 sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
16 oz bag frozen whole kernel corn (thawed/drained) or you can use leftover corn on the
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
1 package cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped red onion
1 can of drained and rinsed black beans
Salt and pepper to taste
April 1, 2019 (paperback: March 13, 2019)
Romantic Suspense ~ Contemporary ~ Paranormal ~ Vampires
Every family has its secrets...
When Lena Bennett loses her father, she has to take over the family business. But with the business comes secrets. Deadly secrets.
What can she do when she's backed into a corner with no one to turn to?
About CM Peters
CM Peters would like to be ageless but hasn’t found the fountain of youth just yet. She works in the communications field but her true passion is writing. She hails from Québec and has been back at writing regularly after a long break since college. An eclectic writer, CM is equally at home penning short erotica, quality fanfiction, and elaborate sci-fi and fantasy novels. Whatever genre she is working in, CM always centers her stories around complex, relatable characters. At the moment, she's hard at work on a new novel while preparing another for publication. She’s been published in erotica and romance anthologies, a collaborative book with Gallery Books, and co-edited a few anthologies, one coming in 2019. If she's not furiously typing, you'll surely find her with her eyes staring at the chocolate-brown beam in her living room to organize her next outline before putting it down on paper.