Skylar: Thanks for stopping by, Michelle, and for answering all of my questions. First, why did you start writing romance?
Michelle: I started writing completely by accident. Ten years ago (I can’t even believe it’s been that long already). I was watching an episode of Deadliest Catch and something they were talking about on screen sparked an idea. After walking around with this idea nagging me for three days, I mentioned it to my husband. His response was write it down and it will go away.
Well, it didn’t go away. In fact it grew and eventually became my novel Northern Lights. After I finished I realized I wasn’t satisfied. I needed to write something else, and that’s how my career as an author began.
Skylar: Who are some of your favorite romance authors?
Michelle: Nora Roberts is my idol when it comes to romance authors. I just love how she has such an ability to weave a tale in such a way that you’re sucked in within the first couple of pages. I also enjoy reading Linda Lael Miller and Maya Banks.
For edgier romance I really enjoy Cherise Sinclair’s work. I just LOVE her Shadowlands books.
Skylar: What inspires you?
Michelle: My inspiration comes from many places. Like I mentioned above, I started writing after watching an episode of Deadliest Catch. My ‘On The Ropes’ series I’m currently working on was inspired by watching professional wrestling with my daughter.
I’ve also read other authors books that have given me inspiration. Cherise Sinclair for example. After reading a few of her Shadowlands books I decided to try my hand at writing BDSM and that’s how my ‘Circle of Masters’ story came to be.
Just driving from one place to another or people watching can give me ideas. Inspiration is all around.
Skylar: What do you consider the most challenging about writing?
Finding balance within the story. Sometimes it’s so difficult to get just that right amount of plot, description, characterization and inner voice without having one overpower another. Usually, it’s the characters I struggle with, as many times I have a hard time making them as three dimensional and life-like as what I’ve had the pleasure reading in other author’s stories. It’s a constant learning process and one I hope I’m getting better at with each story I write.
Skylar: What are you working on at the moment?
I actually have several balls in the air at the moment. Besides promoting the release of Book 1 ‘Leap of Faith’ in my ‘On the Ropes’ series. I have book 2 in edits and book 4 in rewrites for submission. I’m also toying with the idea of a new pen name and a series of BBW books.
Skylar: What is your favorite quote and why?
“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – The quote comes from Apple creator Steve Jobs and I keep a couple copies posted at both my EDJ and my home office. I love this quote because in those moments when I’m down it provides me with inspiration and hope.
Skylar: Do you intend to make writing a career?
I hope to one day be able to make writing my career. While it would be nice to reach the ranks of a Nora Roberts or Stephen King, I’d be perfectly happy just making a living off what I write. Right now that remains a dream, but one that hopefully with a lot more hard work and a little bit of luck, I’ll eventually achieve.
Content with her life as Ultimate Extreme Wrestling Vixen. Lexi Blackwell isn’t looking for love. Considered a legacy in the business because of her legendary father, she’s well respected and liked by many. She has only one focus and that’s her career. Years ago she fell in love with a fellow UEW superstar only to suffer a lot more than just a broken heart. Unable to completely recover from the hurt, Lexi swore never to travel down that path again.
Professional wrestler Logan Lanier is a rising star in the company. He’s spent years working to reach the top and excels at everything he does. Once in the big leagues Logan quickly realizes just how lonely the existence can be. Feeling a connection with Lexi, he sets his sights and his heart on the pretty little vixen. He knows she’s been burned before and is determined to do whatever it takes to prove that not all men (or wrestlers) are created equal.
Can Logan win her trust and ultimately her love, or will the cruel hand of fate strike again?
Lexi checked the schedule sheet a second time, then glanced at her watch. Six hours until the show went live, and she still didn’t know what this notation on the sheet marked THE TRIBUNAL ENTERS meant. When she agreed to take on the temporary tasks of the backstage coordinator, the one stipulation she’d made was no surprises. Guess she shouldn’t be shocked that the agreement hadn’t lasted. Gene and Mark would have promised her the moon to get her to say yes.
Of course, no one, especially Lexi, expected Emma, the current backstage coordinator, to suffer acute appendicitis and be out for at least six weeks. Emma’s absence left management scrambling to cover one of the most important positions in the company. Jackie, the assistant coordinator, had taken on only as much work as she’d wanted, and it far from covered everything that needed done.
With Emma facing a slow and painful recovery, the last thing Lexi wanted was her friend worrying about work and letting management down. When Emma recommended Lexi to step up and take over, Lexi had said yes out of loyalty, both to her friend and the company.
Growing up in a wrestling family and spending nearly all her life immersed in the business, Lexi knew not only the ins and outs of the business, but how difficult Gene could be to work for. Still, Gene and the entire France-Lane family had done nothing but treat her with the utmost respect since she signed on seven years ago.
She’d come to love this company, and there was little she wouldn’t do for it or the France family, including setting aside her wrestling career to take on the task of coordinator. In return, Mark had the writers provide Lexi with a personal storyline and some onstage time by creating an up-and-coming team for her to manage. Still, she’d rather go back to wrestling full-time beside her cousin Aubrey and representing their family in the ring.
“Would you stop looking at your watch? Jackie snapped. “You’re not going to slow time, you know.”
Lexi let out a sigh. Too bad she couldn’t really figure out how to slow time, because right now she needed at least an extra hour to get everything on their list completed before showtime. “I know, but this ‘Tribunal’ notation is making me nervous. Why hasn’t anyone told us what this is about?”
Jackie shook her head. “I have no clue, but I figure if they wanted us to know, they would have told us by now. Why worry about it?”
Lexi barely refrained from rolling her eyes at the younger girl’s statement. Sometimes she wondered how Emma worked with Jackie on a daily basis. That girl had a lazy streak a mile wide and an attitude to match. “I think as the people in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly, we should be privy to even the most secret of storylines.”
Jackie shrugged. “Obviously upper management doesn’t agree. Why sweat it? If something goes wrong, you can simply say you were following orders. You can’t be blamed for what you weren’t told, right?”
“Wrong,” Lexi argued. Why did Jackie always take the path of least resistance, then use the “but I was just following orders” excuse when something went wrong? Didn’t the girl have any pride in her work? “It’s just possible that the writers and management didn’t realize or think about us needing to know this info. How can we make the show better if we don’t know what we need to know? Maybe somebody should have a sit-down with management and explain what it is we do and don’t need to know.”
Jackie leveled an annoyed look in her direction. “Well, why don’t you go tell the writers that?”
“Why me?” Lexi asked.
“Because you’re Lexi Blackwell,” Jackie argued. “Daughter of the great Nick ‘The Bruiser’ Blackwell. You carry weight here while I’m just a hired no-name who is supposed to shut up and do my job.”
“Fine.” While she was in Mark’s office, she’d also talk to him about replacing Jackie with someone more driven to give their best to this company and actually do her job. Jackie’s shut-up-and-do-only-my-job-and-nothing-more attitude would eventually cause huge problems. If Jackie wasn’t going to do anything, then Lexi would. “I’ll be back.” She turned and ran smack into a hard wall of muscle. Shock infused her body, and a gasp slipped from her lips as her forward motion suddenly reversed with the impact.
She took a step back, trying to regain her balance, but it was the two hands that grabbed her by the arms that in the end kept Lexi from falling on her ass.
“Easy, sweetheart.” A low, sexy, and totally unfamiliar voice rumbled above her, causing a reactionary shiver to ripple through her system. Heat gathered deep in her belly, and her skin tingled with awareness. For a moment she froze, too stunned by her body’s response to move. As reality began to return, she shifted her gaze to the man who’d kept her from falling. Well-defined muscles hidden beneath a tight-fitting black T-shirt held up a set of broad, strong shoulders and bulging biceps. Impressed, she allowed her gaze to travel higher and noted the squared, chiseled jaw beneath a dark goatee. Full, supple lips appeared to tip up around the edges, as if he found the situation slightly amusing, though his piercing blue eyes staring down at her revealed something other than amusement.
The intensity in his gaze held Lexi in place. Caught in the crosshairs of his dark blue eyes, she barely remembered to breathe as she stared up at the fine specimen of man before her. Who was this buff, handsome stranger with the sexy gaze and an aura about him that stirred her long-dormant libido?
“Lexi.” Mark’s words broke the spell, and she slowly turned to look at her friend and boss. “You okay?”
“Um.” She raked a now shaky hand through her hair and glanced back at the tanned, sexy man still standing way too close for comfort. “Yeah, I think.” Refocusing, she turned her attention back to Mark.
“Good.” Mark gave a nod. “Then I’d like to introduce you to three new wrestlers who will be joining our roster.” He motioned to a thinner man with light brown hair. “This is Cole Collins.” He turned to another man standing next to Cole. “Jason Rivers.” Then he motioned to the man standing behind her and smirked. “And you’ve already met Logan Lanier. Gentlemen, I’m sure you all know of Lexi Blackwell. Lexi is not only one of our more prominent Vixens, but she’s our jack-of-all-trades.”
Lexi’s gaze darted from man to man. “Gentlemen,” she replied, slowly regaining her composure. “Welcome to the Extreme Ultimate Wrestling.”
“They will be working together under the name The Tribunal,” Mark continued. “Their angle is that they’re here to erase the corruption plaguing EUW.”
Wide-eyed, she shifted her attention back to Mark. “So the mystery is finally revealed.”
Mark chuckled. “I suppose you could say that. I meant to get over here sooner and explain, but things have been crazy today. Anyway, they’ve already been briefed about the show tonight and know what they’re doing, so just go along with whatever happens. After tonight, you’ll need to get with them and bring them up to speed on procedures and such.” He turned to face the men. “If you guys have any questions, Lexi is also the go-to person.”
“Good to know.” Logan’s sexy voice carried over her shoulder, and awareness skittered up her spine as she glanced back at him. For the second time in nearly as many minutes, he pinned her with a piercing look. Desire flared through her system, heating her body from the inside out. Her mind scrambled to regain control. What was it about this man that caused such a reaction deep within her? More important, how in the hell was she going to control it?