Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
Ring in the New Year in Style

Wishing You a Year Filled with Love & Fireworks

The Eight

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays
from Our Families to Yours!

May the Peace and Light of the Season Touch Your Heart 
This Year

The Eight

Sunday, December 14, 2014

On the Side

The last time the Rockville8 featured my friend and critique partner, Lavinia Kent, was September 25, 2011. She had a fabulous cover then...the But she has THREE fabulous covers, now.


If she wasn't such an awesome person, I could almost see myself being a tiny bit jealous.

But she IS awesome, as well as a fabulous writer, so I am very happy to bring her back here, to talk about those tricky side characters... and don't forget to leave a comment, if you want a chance to win an electronic copy of Mastering the Marquesswhich will most certainly whet your appetite for her January and February releases!


How often, when reading a book or watching television, do you come across a character you want to know more about?  I don’t mean those not-so-hidden hints that tell you who the next book is going to be about, but some side character who isn’t quite traditional hero/heroine material, but rather offers a slightly different view of the world?

As a writer, I am always tempted to fill in the blanks.  I lie in bed at night thinking of these character’s stories, both from my own writing and from other sources of inspiration.  I’ve built elaborate plots filling in how thief Bela Talbot escapes from hell in Supernatural and finds redemption; how Jenny, the Doctor’s daughter in Doctor Who, goes off to have her own adventures; what actually happens to Buffy.  (I know that there are graphic novels that fill this in, but I had my own stories before I’d heard about them, and I did not want to face a different reality.)  And I can’t even begin to think of the number of romance triangles in which I have fixed what really happens to the other guy.
Faith after

When it comes to my own writing, this can be a little bit trickier, because the side characters that I love have a way of taking over scenes and then must be beat back.  My most recent character to run rampant was Ruby, Madame Rouge, in Mastering the Marquess.  She was firmly designed to be a side character, someone to provide support and conversation, a sounding board for difficult conversations.  I certainly couldn’t imagine writing a book with a brothel owner for a heroine.  I’ve read those books and enjoyed them, but they weren’t the stories that filled my head.  But Ruby, with her deep husky chuckle, had different ideas.  From the first scene she entered, she let me know that she had a story to tell and that it was far more interesting than anyone else’s. 

I tried to fight back.  I cut her scenes.  I forced her to stay in character.  I didn’t let her wander off on her own.  She refused to go away.

I finished writing Mastering the Marquess, while firmly keeping her in place, and I thought that would be the end.

And still she didn’t leave.

And so, as I waited for my revisions, I began to play, writing a scene or two about her, discovering her dual personality, the one she showed to the world and the far softer one she only let out when alone in her room at night.  I discovered what had led her to become the woman she was, and what she secretly longed for in the futureand those few scenes grew and developed, until suddenly I had finished Revealing Ruby, my novella that will be released in January.

Writing Revealing Ruby allowed me to explore and have fun, while pushing at the boundaries of how I’d always imagined my heroines.  Ruby showed me that sometimes the side stories do need to be told, and that there can be some wonderful surprises along the way.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that Ruby didn’t fight for more space in Bound by Bliss, the second full-length book of my Bound and Determined Series (coming in February), or that she isn’t still fighting for her own book.  She is quite determined to ride (or sail) into the sunset of her own happily ever afterand I am beginning to agree with her.

What fictional side character would you like to know more about?  Who has stayed in your mind and made you pray for her reappearance?  Let me know and I’ll gift one lucky commenter with an e-copy of Mastering the Marquess.

Thanks for having me,

Lavinia Kent

Monday, December 8, 2014

Santa Baby

The incomparable Eartha Kitt, singer of "Santa Baby"
and the best cat woman IMHO.
Photo credit:
I always have visions of a perfect Christmas. I really, really do. But then reality sets in. Between the frantic traffic, the zip-up robe for your mother that you can’t seem to find anywhere, and the awkward work holiday luncheon that you have to attend even though management says it’s optional, the holidays can be a difficult time. But in-between wrapping presents in the eleventh hour and sweating over the oven, I like to reflect on what I would like Santa to bring to me. Marjanna listed the things she was thankful for a couple of weeks ago. This is my wish list, Santa Baby.

1. Peace on Earth. Enough said.
2. A really sexy pair of shoes that is also comfortable. I think that this is like searching for Sasquatch who, if he exists, never wears shoes. This thought somehow pisses me off more. Better move on to number three…
3. A small hovercraft that would fly me to work and land me next to my desk. I hate commuting. I hate fighting to get there, wearing work clothes and dress shoes and then fighting my way home. Please refer to points one and two for further clarification.
4. One last chance to talk to the ones I love who have died. I’d make sure that they knew how much I love them, how they live on in those they left behind, how grateful I am for what they gave me and how I look forward to seeing them again. Plus, maybe one of them can explain the JFK assassination, what happened to Jimmy Hoffa and what anyone ever saw in toe socks.
5. Time to read. I mean really read, quietly, with no distractions, no worries and plenty of snacks in arm’s reach. One day, I’m going to go on a sabbatical for the weekend at an Embassy Suites with a stack of books and a ready supply of my favorite snacks. The free breakfast will satisfy me then I can sustain myself with snacks while I kick back and read all the books that I’ve been wanting to get to.
6. That my car would last me to old age. I despise car payments, thinking that as soon as I drive this over-priced beast off the lot, it drops in price in leaps and bounds. And I double hate looking for said beast. Haggling over prices and options makes me feel as dirty and used as a hooker on Saturday night.
Eartha Kitt, at the height of her power. She
died on Christmas Day in 2008.
Photo credit:
7. That my child will have a good, happy and productive life where she uses her skills to the utmost of her abilities, reaches her incredible potential and finds the love of her life who will be good to her and to whom she will reciprocate the love and caring. This is the prayer of most parents I know.
8. A red toy poodle name Lucy. Yes, I already have two dogs. This would be my last. But I have this strange, homesick feeling that someone is missing.
9. My husband will continue to be who he is. Despite all of the hard things that happened to us in the last couple of years, we can still laugh like teenagers over something silly, which we did today. I mean out of control, wheezing and eyes tearing. We were at our daughter’s recital, something funny happened, and with one look at each other, it was game on.
10. That I am as good a friend as my friends have been to me. I hope to live up to the incredible people whom I’ve been blessed to call friends.

Santa, I know this is a tall order. I understand if you can’t do it all. Even one of those would be great. After all, you have a lot of other wishes to fulfill.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Conversation with Nic's Main Character

This week, the Rockville 8 and I rock the house as we celebrate my debut, The Kill List: A Jamie Sinclair Novel! To kick-off the ebook’s launch, I imagined sitting down for an interview with my main character, Jamie Sinclair. Over a cup of piping-hot coffee and a sticky, sweet treat at an M Street patisserie in Georgetown, our conversation might go like this:

Nichole Christoff: Jamie, like a long line of Mystery, Thriller, and Romantic Suspense protagonists before you, you’re a private eye. But your business card also says you’re a “security specialist.” What comes along with that job description?

Jamie Sinclair: I’m glad you asked, Nic. I serve high-risk, high-profile clients who call me when their safety is on the line—and calling the police isn’t an option.

NC: Wow. You mean like that big city mayor who ran for president a few years ago? Or that sports star who’s in all those underwear ads?

JC: I can’t really comment on the identities of individual clients. But you've got the right idea.

NC: Well, in The Kill List, you tangle with a TV news anchor’s stalker before your ex-husband claims he needs a security specialist when his little girl is kidnapped. To help him, you return to the army post where you were raised by your tough-as-nails father. Why on earth did you decide to take this case?

JC: I’d have been happy if I never saw my ex again. But this child's in danger and it’s not her fault her father is a jack—I mean, a crumb. Besides, her disappearance hits a little too close to home—and the secret reason my marriage fell apart.

NC: In the course of your investigation, you meet the fictional military police commander at the post, Lieutenant Colonel Adam Barrett. The two of you make quite a pair. He certainly makes it clear he thinks the world of you!

JS: No comment, Nic.

NC: Okay, okay. To keep this interview rolling along, I’m going to steal—ahem!—borrow a question my pals Evie Owens and MacKenzie Lucas came up with. Johnny Lee Miller, Robert Downey Jr, or Benedict Cumberbatch?

JS: Cumberbatch. Definitely.

NC: Hmmm... Back to Adam Barrett… Will you be seeing more of him in the future?

JS: You tell me. You’re the author.

NC: I’ll rephrase the question. Do you want to see more of Adam Barrett in the future?

JS: *blushing* I, uh…well…hey, isn’t my sequel coming soon from Random House?

NC: That’s true! Jamie and another familiar character return in The Kill Shot on March 17, 2015.

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen! Thanks for celebrating my debut with me. Read on for a bit more about The Kill List: A Jamie SinclairNovel available now everywhere ebooks are sold.

In this taut debut thriller, Nichole Christoff introduces a savvy private investigator with nerves of steel—and a shattered heart.

As a top private eye turned security specialist, Jamie Sinclair has worked hard to put her broken marriage behind her. But when her lying, cheating ex-husband, army colonel Tim Thorp, calls with the news that his three-year-old daughter has been kidnapped, he begs Jamie to come find her. For the sake of the child, Jamie knows she can’t refuse. Now, despite the past, she’ll do everything in her power to bring little Brooke Thorp home alive.

Soon Jamie is back at Fort Leeds—the army base in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens where she grew up, the only child of a two-star general—chasing down leads and forging an uneasy alliance with the stern military police commander and the exacting FBI agent working Brooke’s case. But because Jamie’s father is now a U.S. senator, her recent run-in with a disturbed stalker is all over the news, and when she starts receiving gruesome threats echoing the stalker’s last words, she can’t shake the feeling that her investigation may be about more than a missing girl—and that someone very powerful is hiding something very significant . . . and very sinister.