Hello everyone! I’d like to give a big thank you to RJ for having me here today, and to everyone who’s dropped by! It’s a real treat. Following the interview I’m sharing a little bit of my newest release—An Intrepid Trip to Love, a free novella written for the M/M Romance group’s Love Has No Boundaries event. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read it. Thank you for your amazing support, and wonderful comments. On with the show!
Tetley’s or PG Tips?
When I lived in the UK, it was PG Tips all the way. The number of cups a day depended on the weather. There was nothing more soothing than having a nice cup of tea when the weather was all gray and rainy. In the winter–especially after coming in from the cold, it hit just the spot. I don’t know what it is about English breakfast tea, but when I have a cuppa in my hand, I just want to cuddle it, and I’m all ‘aahhh’. Now it’s Tetley, simply because for me, it’s the closest I can get to PG Tips. They sell Tetley at my local supermarket, where as if I really wanted PG Tips, I’d have to order it on Amazon where it’s sent in from the UK. I still tend to have at least one cup a day when I’m indoors, and more in the winter, as much of a winter as Florida gets.
How do you keep your stories “organized”? I mean, remembering side characters, visuals, background stories, connections…
I use all sort of things to keep organized, and I started from my first story. For my research, I use Evernote, because it allows me to ‘clip’ articles from the internet. I can take photos, or save images, save website URLs, write notes, keep everything organized and all in one place. Each story or series has its own ‘notebook’ which is then broken down into more notebooks, one for characters which will include everything from eye color to profession, one for research specific to that story, maps, reference photos, specific wardrobes. I have notebooks for decade specific research.
I also have a chart I created for how my characters are connected as most of my historical fellas have either been involved, are friends with, or have crossed paths with one another at some point during their lives and you’ll usually find them either popping up in one another’s books or being talked about. Evernote is my story bible. Everything from historical slang to mythology guides are kept there, and the best part is it syncs with my smartphone and laptop, so no matter where I go, I have all my info at hand and can add to it.
Do you take a notepad with you everywhere you go?
Although I have Evernote on my phone, I still carry a small notebook and pen with me for when I quickly want to jot things down. It’s something I’ve been doing for a long time, and a good deal of writing used to get done on the Underground on my way to and from work. I also sleep with a notepad by my bed because the moment my head hits the pillow, I just know that’s when pieces of story and dialogue are going to come to me. It never fails, and tends to hit when I’m the sleepiest. There have been plenty of times where I’ve told myself I’d remember in the morning. Nope. So even if I’m sleepy, I will grab the notebook, pop on the little book light, and write it down.
Tristan ‘Trip’ Hagan is a Husky shifter who was born to be the Hagan Clan’s next Alpha, a position of honor and nobility, a position he never wanted and was all too happy to pass onto his younger brother. But when they discovered his brother couldn’t have pups, the responsibility of continuing the Hagan Alpha line fell back to Trip. At the tender age of eighteen, Trip gave in under the weight of the Hagan Council’s demand for him to fulfill his duty, but after years of struggling to uphold his family’s traditions, Trip found the courage to do what no other Hagan Alpha had done in the history of the clan: he came out.
With his Enforcers—the Devil Dogs, at his side, Trip won the battle against the Council, who attempted to banish him and take his young son away. His victory allowed him to remain within the clan and raise Robbie.
Now five years later, the dust has settled, and Trip is living a happy life with his cheeky pup and their own little makeshift family. Brook—Robbie’s mother, her true mate Deacon, and the Devil Dogs are the only ones who support Trip and know of his heartache.
True mates within canine shifter clans are very rare, but Trip has had one since he can remember. Despite losing his heart to Boone twenty years ago, Trip holds little hope of ever getting to bond with the sexy Enforcer, as it’s against clan laws for pure-bloods to bond with half-breeds. How much longer can Trip and Boone resist the longing in their hearts? With the call from their feral halves to seal the bond growing stronger by the day, can Trip and Boone find a way to be together without losing everything?
Trip knew that sound all too well. Claws scratched against the hardwood floors and something in the living room fell over with a loud thunk. Preparing himself for what came next, Trip spun on his heels and braced himself. Seconds later, Robbie landed in his arms, paws scrambling to wrap around Trip, who struggled to keep hold of the large pup.
“Robbie, you’re getting far too heavy for this,” Trip groaned. As the next Alpha, Robbie was already larger than most pups his age when in his Husky form, and Trip’s human muscles pulled under the weight.
Dad! Robbie whined, his little voice clear as day in Trip’s head. There’s a spider in my bedroom and it’s ginormous!
Gods help him. “A spider? You’re about to snap my spine over a spider?”
Robbie’s ears flattened back and he lowered his head, his nose nuzzling Trip’s temple with a whine as his tail wagged hopefully. It’s real big, I swear. I’m not making it up.
“All right, I’ll go see, but how many times do I have to tell you not to change inside the house?” Carefully, he lowered Robbie to the floor, and waited for his son to shift back into his human— and much more manageable— form. Trip didn’t bother to look down at his clothes, which were probably now in the same state as the rest of the house. He was going to have to vacuum. Again. Not that he didn’t shed— his kind were notorious for that sort of thing— but his pup seemed to shed enough for half the clan. How the kid still had a coat left after all the shedding he did was beyond him. Any other canine would have been bald by now. Nope, not his little ball of fur.
When Trip turned his attention back to Robbie, the pup was still sitting at his feet, wagging his tail and gazing up at him with those big dark eyes.
“Absolutely not. What have I told you about staying in your Husky form?”
If I’m not careful, I’ll get stuck that way.
“Exactly. Spending too much time in our true forms is dangerous enough as it is for us grown-ups.”
But you and the Devil Dogs have stayed in your true forms for weeks and nothing’s ever happened to you.
“We’ve had a lot of practice, and even so, it’s not something that’s easy to master. It takes a lot of control.
The Devil Dogs are different, they’re half wild, and it’s part of their nature, so for them, they have to work extra hard to hold onto their human side. That’s why they’re Enforcers. You’re an Alpha and still learning, so be patient. Now come on, or I’ll have to break out the hairbrush.”
Robbie leapt back, shaking his furry head with a bounce before his ears perked up and his form started shifting, his mass decreasing and his body changing to that of an average seven-year-old boy, one who had a talent for shedding as much in his human form as he did in his canine form. Trip was sure he hadn’t bought Robbie the number of socks he seemed to find everywhere on a daily basis. Finished with his transformation, Robbie ran up to him and grabbed hold of his hand, pulling at him.
“Come on, it’s in my room.”
“All right, let me just grab something from the kitchen to catch it with.” Making a quick stop in the kitchen, he rummaged around one of the bottom cabinets, and pulled out a medium-sized plastic food container and the cardboard backing of an old calendar he kept for just such an occasion. “Show me to this beast.”
The moment he stepped foot in Robbie’s room, he stifled a curse as his socked foot was all but impaled on a piece of LEGO architecture. To top it off, the place looked like a war zone. “Robbie, why is every toy you own scattered all over the floor? You’re not even playing with them.”
“I was,” Robbie protested from behind him.
“Yeah? Then why is your PS3 on ‘pause’?”
With a sigh, Robbie gave him an impatient nudge. “Because I haven’t gotten to a save spot yet, obviously.”
“Obviously,” Trip muttered. Because that obviously answered everything. “I’m surprised you even saw the spider in all this mess.”
“It was the only thing moving.” Robbie carefully tiptoed around him, looking for the demon spider.
His son, the next Alpha of the legendary Hagan Clan, was afraid of a spider. Where had he gone wrong?
“So? Where is this hideous creature from another world?”
“It went under the bed,” Robbie murmured, pointing at the bed across the room— which had yet to be made at six in the evening. Leaving that gripe for after he corralled their unwanted arachnid guest, Trip weaved through the valley of toys and made it to the bed unscathed. He’d lost count of how many times he’d stepped on those angular little landmines that were supposed to be building blocks. It was as if they lay in wait beneath the surface of the carpet, knowing just where he was going step or kneel. Testing the fluffy rug for any impaling objects, he got down on his knees and lifted the comforter hanging off the side of the bed.
“For crying out loud, Robbie, there’s more stuff under your bed than out here. Did you leave anything in the closet? I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a nest under here.” Robbie let out a whimper and Trip rolled his eyes, shaking his head at the pup and trying not to laugh at his little worried face. “Relax, there’s no nest.” He returned his attention back under the bed and saw something move. “Aha! I’ve got you now you little sucker. I don’t know what you’re so scared of. It’s not that big.”
“It is so! It’s like one of those facehuggers from Aliens. What if I’m asleep and it jumps on my face and tries to lay eggs in my tummy and then it bursts from my chest all argh!” Robbie dramatically threw himself back against his desk’s chair, his tongue poking out one side of his mouth as he made gurgling noises, his body twitching.
“That’s the last time I let you stay up to watch a sci-fi marathon.” The movement stopped. Taking the cardboard, Trip slowly slipped it under the bed toward the black lump, only to poke it and find it was a balled up sock. What the hell? Something scuttled beside it— something much bigger. It turned and darted right for him.
“Holy fudge!” Trip shot away from the bed, managing to curb the copious amounts of colorful swear words ready to roll off his tongue. Scrambling, he climbed onto the bed in a manner which could only be described as astoundingly undignified, losing one of his socks in the process. Getting to his feet, he wobbled on the bed a moment before finding his balance, his plastic container out in front of him like a shield and the piece of cardboard brandished in his right hand like a sword. He was ready for battle.
“There it is, Dad!” Robbie squealed and Trip gave a start.
Robbie frantically pointed at the huge hairy black spot in the middle of the blue carpet. “There!”
“Oh my Gods,” Trip gagged. “What is that? That is the most revolting thing I have ever seen.”
“What about when Grandpa Hagan lost his swim trunks at the lake?”
“You’re right. This is the second most revolting thing I have ever seen.”
Robbie swiped a book off his desk, ready to hurl it.
“Hey, don’t throw your math book.”
Dropping his math book on the desk, Robbie swapped it for Trip’s tablet.
“Throw the math book! Throw the math book!”
Robbie obliged, picking up the hefty hardback and chucking it across the room. It landed like a teepee over the spider. They held their breaths. Pages ruffled, and seconds later the spider leisurely crawled out. “It’s still alive, Dad! What do we do?”
“What is that thing made of? All right, that’s it. Ain’t no eight-legged creep gonna get the best of Tristan Hagan.”
“Go, Dad!’ Robbie cheered him on.
Trip inched closer to the foot of the bed when the beast turned toward him and leapt forward. “Holy shit, it jumps!” He scrambled back until his back hit the wall behind him.
“You said a curse word,” Robbie admonished, wagging a finger at him.
“Yeah, I know, I’m sorry. But, did you see that?” Trip’s smartphone rang in his pocket and he shuffled his weapons into his left hand to grab it, pressing it against his ear. “Brook?”
“Trip? What’s wrong?”
“Put her on speaker phone,” Robbie demanded. “Mom! Mom! There’s a huge spider in my room and it looks like one of the facehuggers from Aliens!”
“What have we told you about watching those sci-fi marathons?”
“You sound like Dad. Why are you fighting with me when you should be fighting the Aliens?”
“It’s a spider,” Trip clarified.
“A mutant spider that probably has mutant babies,” Robbie added.
Brook sighed. “He gets that from you, you know.”
“No, but seriously, Brook, the thing is fugly.”
“No one says fugly anymore.”
“I just did.”
“Yeah, well, you’re a nerd.”
“Aw, thanks, babe. I gotta go now. Got aliens to kill. Don’t worry, if I end up an incubator for mutant spider babies, I’ll remember the good times we had.” When Brook next spoke, he could hear the smile in her voice.
“Do you want me to send Deacon over? He’ll be home in about fifteen minutes.”
“Hm, do I want to emasculate myself further by having my ex-wife’s husband come kill a spider for me?”
“Dad, it’s moving again!”
“Fifteen minutes you say? That’ll work for me. He can let himself in. Tell him to bring his shovel. And a blowtorch.”
A few reader reviews:
“A beautiful love story wrapped up in humour with just enough drama to give it an edge. This is a full 5 stars plus for me.” – Deeze
“Wonderful, truly wonderful. I fell in love with this story when the teasers started appearing in Nikyta’s Dear Author letter. I knew it was gonna be a good one. Laugh out loud funny. Brilliant!” 5 stars – D
“Love, love, loved this book. Altogether the writing was extremely well done, the characters were engaging, and the story sucked you in. I was rooting for Boone and Trip all the way.” 5 stars – Shelby
“Grabbed me and did not let me go. So funny and sweet! I can’t wait for more.” 5 stars – Jules
If you’d like to read the full reviews and find additional reviews, click here.
Where to find Charlie: