Meet Max Carter

Meet Max Carter–brilliant, hot, and damn fine FBI agent–whose perfectly ordered life is about to get a whole lot messier once Gina Castillo gets involved!

Before Max got his own story, we first met him in The Wrong Kind of Compatible


TaO Teaser 1Drew took another swig of his beer and pretended to watch the baseball game on the TV over the bar. Max had dragged him to their favorite Irish pub—all mahogany wood, a hundred beers on tap, and sports on every TV—for a few hours on a Saturday night. He’d insisted Drew needed to get out of his head before he went out of his mind.

He’d been working flat out trying to find something, anything, to close this damn case and escape his own personal hell. Being around Cassie without allowing himself to stare, or tease, or touch, was damn near killing him. If this went on much longer, the FBI would find his cold, lifeless body in his apartment, and the coroner’s report would cite an excessive buildup of sexual tension in the cells as the cause of death.

She, in the meantime, didn’t seem the least bothered by their status quo.

“What’s your problem, Kerrigan?” Max drawled, neatly stacking the coasters, flipping one over so that the same side was facing up on all of them.

Drew raised a single eyebrow. His friend’s OCD was showing.

“Shut up.”

“Didn’t say anything,” Drew replied.

Max wasn’t to be sidetracked from his earlier question, though. “You’ve been about as fun as a sandy towel at the beach. I’m used to you not speaking much, but if I didn’t know you better, I’d say you’re in need of some mind-blowing sex.”

Drew’s body agreed as a crystal-clear image of Cassie’s gorgeous body assailed him. Unfortunately, banging his head on the bar in an attempt to rid himself of said image would only make Max more suspicious. “I’m not,” the words came out as a growl.

“No?” Max challenged.

Unwilling to argue, Drew shrugged and swung his gaze back to the game. Not that he’d paid enough attention to even know the score, but what the hell.

“I told you getting close to your assignment was a bad idea.”

Damn Max and the computer he carried around instead of a brain. He was almost as bad as Cassie in the hit-the-head-on-the-nail analysis of others. “I didn’t ask for your opinion.”

“When my buddy starts acting like a bug crawled up his ass, I have to step in. It’s just the kind of guy I am.” Max slapped him on the back just as he was taking a swig of beer, and Drew came up spluttering.

In retaliation, Drew scoured his brain for a diversion and landed on a topic guaranteed to distract. “Has your mom found you a wife yet?”

Max’s expression snapped from grinning to pissed in less time than it took him to trace laundered money to the source. “Low blow, man. Why’d you have to take it there?”

Get to know Max before his story comes out Nov 13th!!!


New Cover & Excerpt – The Wrong Kind of Compatible

The Wrong Kind of Compatible is getting a new cover and I LURV it so much! I hope you do. It will go up on retailers soon, but here it is for your viewing pleasure (along with an excerpt)…





His name came out like a blast from a shotgun, and Cassie was vaguely aware of several heads in cubes turning her direction.

He stood up to face her, blinking in seeming innocence. “Is there a problem?”

Cassie wasn’t sure whether she wanted to laugh at the question or bop the man over the head.

“Yes,” she said in deliberately slow cadence, each word dripping in sarcasm. “There’s a problem when you go off on your own, when all I asked you to do was check my numbers.”

Drew held up his hands. “I’m sorry if I stepped on your toes, but this is worth a look.”

God. She really had found the male version of herself.  “You’re right.”

He cocked his head. “I am?”

“Yes. You’re stepping all over my toes. They’re practically black and blue thanks to you tromping around.”

Drew actually looked down at her feet as if he’d see her toes all bruised up for real, then glanced back up, an oddly assessing light in his eyes. “But if you’ll just take a moment…” He pointed at the screen.

Irritation hijacked her common sense, and she stepped into him. Because Drew was already standing close, they were now practically chest to…well, she was short…so boobs to abs. She still managed to squeeze her hand between them and poke him in the pecs with her finger. “Knock it off, Kerrigan. My recommendations are what we’re going with.”

Drew’s unnatural stillness filtered through her annoyance. A burning need in blue eyes now laser focused on her.

Sweet baby Jesus. The nerves in her body, already revved up, jumped right back to hot, luscious life as blood flooded every erogenous zone, including a few she hadn’t been aware she had.

“Cassie, Drew… You guys ready?”

Drew jerked his head up, straightening away from her at the same time, and Cassie whipped her head around to find Kevin at the end of the aisle waiting.

“Be right there,” she called, and hoped to high heaven Kevin hadn’t noticed her choked voice, how close she’d been standing to Drew, or the tension practically radiating off them both.

WIP Status Check

I used to share my WIP status a lot more. Lately, it feels like my writing life has sped up exponentially. When I first started, I’d spend six months on one book, and only work on one book at a time–not just the writing, but the editing, publishing, and marketing. These days, I’m on fast forward, juggling multiple projects at a time. And LOVING it!

In addition, as new events–like contracts–happen, my schedule shifts rapidly. At this point, primarily thanks to the combination of my agent and new contracts, my schedule is full up. Lol. Let’s take a look at what’s in the hopper at the moment and through the end of 2017 (at least as of September 26, 2017).

This list includes ALL my active projects, including paranormal romance as Abigail Owen and contemporary romance as Kadie Scott.

The Attraction Equation – Upcoming Release

Book 2 of my contemporary romantic comedy Love Undercover series release November 13th with Entangled! I am gearing up to start promoting in October as we do cover reveals and preorders. Super excited for this one. Max might be one of my favs. 🙂

Saving the Sheriff – Copy Edits & Cover Design

The first book in my contemporary cowboy romance Hills of Texas series with Tule is set for release in January. I’ve just sent in info to get the cover started (can’t wait!) and am waiting on copy edits to come my way sometime soon.

Inferno Rising #1 – Submitted to Editor

I’ve completed beta edits on the first book in this new paranormal series for Entangled and have turned the MS into my editor. I am on pins and needles to hear what she thinks. Fingers crossed it lives up to her expectations!

Resisting the Rancher – Writing 1st Draft

The second book in my Hills of Texas series with Tule is due to my editor in January. I’ve been waiting to write Will and Rusty’s story for years (while I found an agent, and then a publisher home for the series). I am about mid-way through the first draft, which I’m scheduled to wrap up by mid-October. That’ll give me three month to do additional drafts and beta readers.

The Boss – WIP Next Up

Starting in November (when I’ve finished Resisting the Rancher), I move into writing the first draft on The Boss. This is the first book in my recently announced 2nd dragon shifter series for Entangled. Chomping at the bit to get to it.

Don’t Open Until Christmas – In Query Process

I have a publisher interested not only in this story, but in starting a series with it. I’ve just submitted a rewrite of the MS to the editor my agent is working with, along with a synopsis, and a series outline. I’m not sharing who because I don’t want to jinx it. 🙂 Of course, with my commitments, it’ll be a while before we see this one out. Fingers and toes crossed!

That’s enough to keep me busy for a while. I’ll check in again in January with a look at 2018. 🙂

I Still Love Editing/Revising

Almost 5 years ago, between releasing my first book, Blue Violet, and getting ready to release the next book, Hyacinth, I posted about how I loved the editing process.

Now, years later, I’ve completed 13 novels, 3 novellas, and 3 short stories with more on the way. My writing style has changed over the course of writing those books. However, I can still say that editing/revising is still my favorite part of the process, and for pretty much the same reasons…

The Worst is Over

Writing the first draft is a personal form of long-term torture. It’s gotten easier over the years as I’ve morphed from a pure pantser to a hybrid who plots key parts and pantses the rest. But I walk around with a pit in my stomach until the bulk of the story is on the page. Pure relief.

Making It Better

I see revising and editing as a way to make my story the absolute best I can make it. I use the time to fill in details, make sure I’ve covered plot holes, build the world, make sure my characters are consistent, check the plot and pacing, and set the stage for future books. Yes, I do a ton of that on the first pass. That pass is about laying the foundation and the walls, the second and subsequent passes are about adding those little touches that make it a home.

Feedback & Learning

Working with my beta readers and especially with my editor, I love getting more sets of eyes on the pages after I’ve gone blind to it (or have started to hate it, which happens with every book. Lol.) I love getting that feedback. Even when it requires major rewrites, it’s still about making the book better. I also look at these edits as an opportunity to learn. Believe me, I am constantly learning, changing, and growing as an author.

Final Product

I love knowing that the final book that you see as a reader is the best possible book I could write at that time. Knowing how much it’s improved from that first painful draft to the last version makes me proud and shows me how all that time spent on revising and editing was well worth it.


At the moment I am at varying stages on 4 different projects.

  1. I just wrapped up copy edits and am waiting for the final galley for The Attraction Equation, the 2nd book in my Love Undercover romantic comedy series.
  2. I am in the painful first draft process on Resisting the Rancher, the 2nd book in my upcoming Hills of Texas cowboy contemporary romance series.
  3. I am doing a revise and resubmit of my cowboy contemporary romance Don’t Open Until Christmas.
  4. And I am about to start apply beta reader edits to the 1st of my new Inferno Rising dragon shifters paranormal romance abefore sending it on to my editor.

And I’m LOVING every second (except that darn first draft lol).

I know a lot of authors out there can’t stand the editing process. I wish I enjoyed the first draft more. It’s not that I hate it, I just agonize through it, anxious to get to the really fun part of editing and making it better! 30 years of writing and 7 years of publishing my books later, I have to wonder if I’ll still love it 30 years from now. 🙂



Tuesday Teaser: Love Undercover

To celebrate wrapping up edits on The Attraction Equation, book 2 of my Love Undercover series which will be out this November, how about I share an excerpt from book 1, The Wrong Kind of Compatible?Drew and Cassie are about to find out just how sexy a server room can get…

(Don’t worry, excerpts from book 2 are coming soon!)


“Don’t you ever—” She cut herself off and glanced around the office. No one was paying them any attention, but she still gave a frantic look around before dragging him across the floor and around the corner where she opened a door marked as the server room, hauling him inside by the arm, and closing the door behind them.

Racks and racks of Data Minds’ proprietary servers hummed as they did the extraordinary work for the company. The room wasn’t as big as it could’ve been as Data Minds did a good deal of their work in the cloud, but these machines were where most of his and Cassie’s work was housed.

She visibly shivered as the colder temperature in the room hit them both. He couldn’t miss how her nipples peaked against her shirt in response to the chill. His mental image of lifting her shirt to suck those hard peaks into his mouth disappeared as she rounded on him.

“Don’t you ever undermine my analysis in front of anyone again. We agreed—”

He stepped closer, refusing to back down. “No. You dictated and assumed I agreed.”

She plonked her hands on her hips, angling her face to look up at him. “But you apologized.”

“For stepping on your toes. Not for being wrong.”

Her lips flattened. “Why didn’t you argue more if you felt so strongly about it?”

“I believe your words were, ‘Knock it off, Kerrigan. My recommendations are what we’re going with.’”

“And then you threw it in my face in front of our boss?”

Damn she was amazing when she got all worked up. The deep v of her shirt showed her breasts rising and falling with each agitated breath.

Suddenly the space felt way too intimate, closing in on him. The hum of the machines all around them provided a strange sense of being worlds away from the office that lurked just on the other side of the door. Her jasmine scent curled around him, and the distance between them needed to be increased. Immediately.

He turned away, intending to leave before he did something ill advised.

“I’m not finished,” she snapped.

Her words had him swinging back around. “What?”

She stalked toward him, stealing his breath with every step closer. When they were toe to toe, she glared at him, opening and closing her mouth a couple of times like she wanted to tell him off, but couldn’t find the right words.

“This can’t go on,” she finally muttered.

Then, in a move that stunned the hell out of him, Cassie stepped into him, tugged his head down, and proceeded to press those lush, fantasy-inducing lips against his.


Hurricane Harvey & How YOU Can Help!

I’m a Texas girl. Raised and still live in the Austin area. I may not have been personally affected by Hurricane Harvey, but many friends and loved ones have been. My heart goes out to everyone affected, and I’m choosing this small platform as just one way I can try to make a difference.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long estimated Monday that 30,000 people may need shelter, and some 450,000 may qualify for federal flood victim assistance. Those numbers are growing as other areas in East Texas and Louisiana are added to the list. Even as the rain stops, there’s still a ton of clean up that has to happen.

If you are wondering how you can reach out and help the tens of thousands affected, below I’ve come up with a list of tons of different legit ways to pitch in.

I have pulled these organizations from lists compiled by CNN, NPR, and other trusted sources. I am not associated with any. Please choose the right one for you, and thank you in advance for any help you can give.

In Person Aid

If you’re in Texas and can physically help, here are some different ways…
  • Donate bloodSouth Texas Blood & Tissue Center
  • Donate food: See Food Banks below or contact
  • Donate items: See organizations below that will accept physical items from clothes, to diapers, to toys, to blankets, to items to help with reconstruction, etc.
  • Local organizations: Get involved with your church or other local organizations to see what aid they are organizing and how you can help
  • Volunteer: Most of the organizations listed below will take volunteers.

Donate to Help

If you are not in Texas, but still want to give, here are different organizations to choose from:

General Aid





Clean Up & Recovery

My Wishlist for GOT Happily Ever Afters

We’re coming up to the season finale of Game of Thrones, and even knowing that everyone probably dies by the end of the show, I’m still rooting for a few happily ever afters for several characters. Can’t help it–I’m a romance writer. Here’s who I’d like to see get their HEAs…

Jon / Daenerys

Yeah, yeah. Everyone saw this one coming, and the show is doing a decent (if rushed) job building it this season. So I won’t spend too much time on it. All I will say is that, like killing off Daryl in The Walking Dead, if the show creators don’t make this happen and stick (they don’t have to rule, just end up together and alive), then the women watching GOT might riot. Just saying.

*Amended post season 7 finale, because ewwwwww.

Brienne / Jaime

Let’s just kill of Cersei now and then Jamie can pull is head out of his behind. Brienne is the only one who can redeem Jaime, an almost irredeemable character (just can get over his pushing a boy out of a window).

Sam / Gilly

The relationship there is obviously solid. Let’s see them end happily with him as Lord Tarly. Jon can do it.

Arya / Gendry

He was so nice to her when she was pretending to be a boy. Now they are both grown up and obviously about to be reunited. I bet he could soften some of her edges, plus he’d be on board for helping her with that list.

Missandei / Grey Worm

Another relationship well established. They’ve both finally found freedom and purpose and each other. Let them keep it. Please!

Sansa / The Hound

That poor girl has only wanted one thing, a strong, handsome husband to take care of her. The Hound is one of my favorite redeeming characters in the show. Sansa needs someone plain spoken who obviously only wants to protect her. Classic beauty & the beast.


Unfortunately, I know I’m breaking a few hearts. I’d really love to see Tyrion end up with someone nice, but who? Ser Jorah can’t end up with Daenerys, but that’s as it should be. If Brienne doesn’t end up with Jaime, then I hope she gives in and ends up with Tormund, just because I like him. 🙂

Okay, that’s mine. GOT fans, what about you?


I know you’re expected a show don’t tell king of blog post here, but not today. 🙂 The other day I posted a question on social media. I wanted to know readers’ favorite ways to show/read chemistry and build up of tension between the hero/heroin in a romance novel.

I got some great answers, so thought I’d start a list. That way when I get stuck or feel like I’m repeating myself, I’ve got a resource. So here we go, favorite ways to show chemistry:

  • The moment when they’re eyes meet and they connect for the first time.
  • The way they avoid each other, even though they are attracted to one another, but still have to be in the same room or elevator.
  • The first casual touch. It doesn’t have to be sexual. (But not a handshake) It can be as innocent as a hand on the arm, or a hand on the lower back to guide them.
  • Where you can tell they really, really want to kiss, but neither will make the first move. Then they’re interrupted and the moment is gone, but they’re both just SMOLDERING.
  • That “will he/won’t he” moment when you’re hoping he will.
  • When they’re laughing and then the chemistry kicks in and they stop abruptly
  • That shared joke or inside piece of information that no one else in the room knows about, but you see them connect over it.
  • When they share a vulnerability, fear, or experience that builds intimacy and connection.
  • When the other person sees more than everyone else.
  • Becoming hyper-aware of each other. Both physical – the sweep of her neck, the way she blushes, his strong forearms, and personal – the way she’s nice to everyone, how he defended her when he didn’t need to.
  • A feisty dialogue exchange where the underlying tension just screams through both words and actions
  • Their inner thoughts reveal that they both WANT but can’t HAVE, but still WANT

Okay – that’s what came from Facebook and Twitter (and me lol). What else? Help me add to it!

Summer Insanity is Almost Over

On August 17th, the kids go back to school, and our fantastic but totally nutty summer comes to an end. Boy did it fly. I find it funny that the advent of school will actually slow us down. Here’s what happened over the last few months, starting at the end of May!

Estes Park, Colorado

We spent 10 days at my favorite place in the world doing all my favorite things. Spending time with family, hiking, eating, shopping. Loved it! Nothing better in the world IMO.

Book Release–The Wrong Kind of Compatible by Kadie Scott

My first romantic comedy, The Wrong Kind of Compatible, under my Kadie Scott pen name, released with Entangled on June 12th. I’ve been thrilled with the feedback and really enjoyed all the release festivities (blog tour, Facebook take overs, Facebook parties, etc.)

Birthday Parties

We celebrated birthdays for kids, parents, and friends over the course of the summer. February through July for us is insane birthday season. Now we have a “break.”

Dallas & St. Louis

We visited my hubby’s fam in Dallas and all drove up to St. Louis together for a lovely family wedding. We also did all sorts of fun things, including a Cardinals game!

Signed Entangled Contract–Inferno Rising

I signed a contract with Entangled for a 4-book paranormal romance series, tentatively titled “Inferno Rising” under my Abigail Owen pen name. This one I contracted on proposal, and I am obsessing over it. The world is so alive in my head! #TheDragonsAreComing!

Summer Camp

My oldest went to summer camp which involved transporting him to Dallas. And then heading back up there a week later for the parent presentations and to pick him up. It was a STEM camp and they did cool things like learn to be a CSI, build and program a robot car, and dissect a cow’s heart. Super cool.

Time with Bro & Fam

My brother and his family lived in our house all summer. They are between digs at the moment, and they house sat and watched our dogs while we were gone so much. In between trips we got to spend a lot of wonderful time with them.

California Friends

We went back to our old home in El Dorado Hills, CA to visit friends there. We got up to Lake Tahoe for a day, and otherwise took it easy and had a blast seeing our buddies. That’s what I miss most about CA…our friends.

Writing Inferno Rising Book #1

I signed that contract and have been writing book 1 since June. I’ve finished the first draft and am working on second draft right now. Close to 85k words done with 90k being the goal. Seriously, when I say obsessing, I mean it. I am deep in this on and LOVING it!


Lots of editing going on at the same time. A combo of working on proposals for new books, and working with my editor on The Attraction Equation (book 2 in my Kadie Scott Love Undercover romantic comedy series).

RWA in Orlando & Disney

In July I attended RWA Nationals in Orlando, rooming with my buds Nicole and Tracy, attending workshops, giving one of own workshops, etc. Had a BLAST! And rounded it out with a day at The Magic Kingdom.


Placed 2nd in PRISM Awards

My paranormal romance novella, Her Demigod Complex, placed 2nd in the PRISM Awards for novella! Honored and thrilled to even be a finalist. Thank you so much to FF&P for running such a fantastic contest.

AOAD Business Growing

Authors On a Dime continues to grow and grow. I’m getting lots of great business. Anything from book covers (probably what I do the most), to other marketing graphics, to editing, to Facebook parties. Love working with all those fantastic authors and having a different creative outlet!

RVing at Krause Springs

We rented an RV and went to Krause Springs, TX for a few days to “relax.” And it was lovely. The kids had a blast. Other than the cottonmouth snakes and the big thunderstorm that rolled through the last night, so did we! 🙂

Prepping for School

With only a week to go, I’m now deep in prep for school time. This includes cleaning my entire house. Doing a ton of laundry (remember we’ve been traveling all summer). Buying school clothes. Getting kids hair cuts. A massive grocery shopping (again, all that being away from home). And my daughter wants me to help her start and Endangered Animals Club this year.


I’ll be sad to not have the kids to myself during the day, but returning to a routine and slowing down a bit will be nice. We had a wonderful summer, enjoying each and every trip. But I will say it was a little too much. Next year we’re limiting ourselves and spending more time at home. Lol. I hope you also had a wonderful summer, and, if you’re like me and prepping for back to school, best of luck to you!

Fast Times @ RWA Nationals 2017

If you missed the tweets and FB posts, I spent the last week in Orlando, FL, at the Swan & Dolphin Disney Resort have a blast at the 2017 RWA National Convention!!!

Here are a few highlights…


I roomed with my author friends (and A-Game Team) Nicole Flockton & Tracy Goodwin. They made this year especially fun, sharing laughs and workshops and ideas. xoxo

linda-schadtina-canonI truly enjoyed seeing friends old and new…from TWRP and Entangled, my FRW adopted chapter, my ARWA home chapter, and my FF&P and CRW online chapters, AOAD customers, friends from prev conferences, and especially my FF&P mentees, Linda Schad & Tina Canon. I’ve truly found my people.

I was hugely honored to have placed 2nd in the FF&P PRISM awards with my paranormal romance novella, Her Demigod Complex. Congrats to Kathy Lyons on her well-deserved win (I devoured that book). I also had a lot of fun helping (errrr if you call what I was doing helping) with the tech for the awards.

I felt like my”Org Your Writing Life” workshop went well and loved the format. The 20/20 was a cool change up–more intimate and allowing me more time to answer lots of questions.

I attended terrific workshops. I particularly enjoyed Virginia Kantar’s workshop on Emotion and Damon’s Suede‘s on Power Couples. Damon Suede you are the boss! Head swimming with wonderful ideas to go rock on latest WIP.

rebecca-zanetti-2017I snapped my 3rd annual conference pic with my author idol Rebecca Zanetti – Author. (2015 on FRW cruise, 2016 @ RT, and now 2017 @ RWA) It’s become a part my conferences. Like sports stars with their streaks.


It was also hugely cool to see my Authors On A Dime stuff around (book covers, banners, postcards, hand sanitizer, etc.) Seriously…really fun in an oddly fan girl kind of way. Hope you each loved your swag!

Rounding it all out with a little Epcot and Magic Kingdom was just the cream cheese icing on my red velvet cake.


I flew home late Sunday night and slept most of the day yesterday. Now back to real life (and applying all those workshop notes to my latest WIP).

A huge thank you to RWA and all the volunteers who ran the conference. You guys are amazing!