Tag Archives: Deadly Valentine

Jack Valentine Interview

Jack Valentine is the romantic hero of the Valentine Mystery Series. He’s all alpha male — handsome, smart, funny, rich, with just enough arrogance to make him endearing. And he’s completely devoted to Tess, although some readers wonder why. In this interview, Jack answers questions about his love for Tess, his feelings towards Daniel, and his fear of flying.

Warning: There are a few spoilers. If you haven’t read Deadly Valentine, you might want to first.

Q: Most readers love the unequivocal devotion you have for Tess, but a couple people have questioned what you see in Tess, especially since she was so cool toward you sometimes in the beginning?

Jack: Really? Hmm. Well, first, you have to remember that I met Tess long before that fateful night at Asa Worthington’s house. When I first met her, she was outgoing, witty, always willing to go on an adventure.  She was different when we reunited, but I could see she was still in there. A few hard-knocks made her guarded, but deep down, she was the same.

Q: How did you and Tess first meet?

Jack: I was meeting with my lawyer, Brad Chancellor. This is before he came to work for me. She showed up at the end of that meeting.

Q: On several occasions, you make it sound like love at first sight.

Jack: It was pretty close, which was difficult because she was engaged to Brad then. And Brad wasn’t just my lawyer, he was a friend.

Q: So what was it about her that had you falling so fast for a woman you couldn’t have?

Jack: I can give you the list of attributes – she’s smart, fast with a good retort, beautiful – but many women are. There was just something that grabbed me right in the gut. I suppose some people might call it chemistry. I don’t know how to explain it, but I remember feeling it deep in my soul. I’d never had that happen before.

Q: Did she feel the same about you?

Jack: You’d have to ask her. I think there was something, but again, she was engaged to Brad so it wasn’t something either of us considered pursuing. I had to settle being her friend.

Q: Didn’t she indicate there could be more between you two after she and Brad broke up?

Jack: She had initially come to me seeking support and comfort…a shoulder to cry on. It could have become more, but I think she would have regretted it. It was a difficult decision on my part to push her away, but I didn’t want to be the rebound guy or the way to get back at Brad.

Q: Did you have any sense of how profoundly that night effected her?

Jack: I knew she was hurting. She’d had experience rejection and betrayal before, and I think she saw Brad and my actions as reinforcing that. But I didn’t get at how deeply that pain went. Or how much it would alter who she was. I might have if I’d been able to stay in touch with her, but my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer right after that, so my priorities were caring for her.

Q: So you love Tess for her wit, adventurous spirit and that je ne sais quoi?

Jack: Among other things. I love that Tess doesn’t care about status or money-

Q: I guess that was always an issue with other women. You didn’t know if they liked you for you or your money.

Jack: Oh, I could tell. There was a time it didn’t matter, but I knew that in the long run, I wanted someone like Tess.

Q: What else attracts you to her?

Jack: I love how she challenges me and she gets me. And it doesn’t hurt that she’s beautiful.

Q: And she has good taste in lingerie.

Jack: That’s a perk, yes.

Q: How do you feel about her relationship with Daniel?

Jack: Ah, Daniel. I have Jekyll-Hyde feelings. I like that he was … still is there for her. He and his family are important to her and I respect that. But, I am a man, and like most men, don’t like having other men eying the woman I love.

Q: You never asked her to stop being his friend.

Jack: No. First of all, she wouldn’t take it well. I think Daniel found that out when he asked her not to see me. But he’s important to her and I have to respect that.

Q: Did you ever worry that Daniel might win Tess’ heart?

Jack: I didn’t worry that he’d win her heart, but I worried she might choose the safer route. I know she loves and cares for Daniel, but not in the same way she loves me. Our love is intense and passionate, which also makes it riskier, scarier. I  worried she wouldn’t take that risk.

Q: Is that why you rejected her when she tried to mend your relationship after she broke up with you?

Jack: No. I’m impulsive and am willing to risk a lot if I think there will be a good outcome. I rejected her because I was hurt and angry. I still kick myself for that.

Q: Because she nearly died?

Jack: That’s one reason. But even if she hadn’t nearly died, she could have decided I wasn’t worth the effort after all and rejected me when I apologized.

Q: You and Tess seem to get mixed up in murder a lot. Did that happen before and do you worry that you two seem to attract trouble?

Jack: Except for my dad getting killed in the line of duty as a police officer, I’d never had a personal experience with murder. I’d only seen murder in the movies until Asa was killed. But I don’t worry that Tess and I have seen more than our fair share of dead bodies. It’ll take more than murder to keep me from her.

Q: Do you think you’ll have kids? Your lives seem a little dangerous for that.

Jack: Yes, we’ll have kids. But it will be awhile. I’m not ready to share Tess yet.

Q: Well, it’s clear you’re a romantic. But you can’t jet off to romantic places because you don’t like flying. Have you always been afraid to fly?

Jack: Yes. Actually, I’m not afraid to fly, I’m afraid to fall. It has nothing to do with heights. It has to do with crashing. It ruins the macho image, I know. But … well…I can’t be perfect.

Q: I think Tess thinks you come pretty close to it.

A: I hope so.

Do you have questions for Jack that I didn’t ask? Ask them in the comment section below and he’ll answer them!

Publisher’s Weekly Review of Deadly Valentine

The bad news is that Deadly Valentine didn’t make it to the semi-finals in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award. The good news is that the Publisher’s Weekly reviewer had nice things to say about the book. The first part of the review is a recap of the book, which gives some of the secrets of the book away, so I won’t print that part (in case there is anyone who hasn’t read the book yet). The review finishes with:

Written with precision and care, this intriguing romance/murder mystery is a fun read that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

I was worried about this review. Book tastes are subjective, which makes reviews difficult. Deadly Valentine has 43 reviews at Amazon, some who rave about it and some who are ho-hum about it. Same book. Different reactions. I was happy that I got a reviewer who understood what I was trying to do and enjoyed it. Even if the book didn’t score high enough to get into the semi-finals.

During the contest I received two other reviews from Amazon Vine readers. Since they were complementary, I thought I’d share their feedback as well. I put a couple of comments (in italics) responding to the reviewers.

ABNA Expert Reviewer One:

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt? : It gets right into the characters. Not too much description. It’s easy to picture the setting. It drew me in and I wanted to know more.

What aspect needs the most work? : It was unclear as to how all of a sudden Tess was feeling so ill. Was something slipped into her drink? (I’ve heard this before and while I mention a 24-hour bug later in the story, perhaps I need to make that clearer in the beginning)

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt? : This was a very good start. The characters were introduced smoothly and the murder was being set up very well.

ABNA Expert Reviewer Two:

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt? : The strongest aspect of this excerpt is the tension between Tess and Jack. He is from her recent past, a relationship that didn’t last. He is back now in her life but she is trying to resist his charms.

What aspect needs the most work? : It would have been nice to get a little more of a back story on what happened with Jack and Tess in the past. That can sometimes help to get a feeling for the character and how they behave. (This is dribbled throughout the book because the not-knowing is part of what leads to suspicion of Jack.)

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt? : Overall, I think this is a very good story. I would love to keep reading the finished book. It is a story of romance first and foremost but there is also a murder mystery involved and secrets from the past. In this excerpt I was left very interested in knowing what would happen next.

Have you read Deadly Valentine? If you did and you enjoyed it, please leave feedback at Amazon! I’d appreciate it!

Deadly Valentine – Quarter Finalist in Amazon’s Novel Award!

When Deadly Valentine was released in August 2012, I’d hoped that people would like it. The members of my writer’s group and my mom and sister were all positive about the book, but they are biased, right? A few agents said nice things about the book, which gave me hope, but none wanted to take a chance on it. I decided to publish it myself through Amazon and find out what the market thought. After all, it’s the readers who determine a good book. There are indie authors everywhere making good money on great books that traditional publishing passed on (but are now trying to get!).

Most reviews of Deadly Valentine at Amazon are good (4 and 5 stars). Others aren’t so great, but seem to be based on reading preference. A few offer critiques that I’ve studied to determine if I should make changes (so far I haven’t). But the overall consensus is that Deadly Valentine is a fun, little romantic mystery. It’s not Hemingway, but then it wasn’t meant to be.

Bolstered by the book’s success so far, I decided to enter it in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Contest. The contest started in January and every month, cuts are made for each round. In February, from a maximum of 10,000 entries, Amazon cut that down to 400 for each category based on a pitch. Today, Amazon released the next round winners, cut from 400 down to 100 in each category based on a 3,000 to 5,000 word excerpt. I was so excited to see my name and Deadly Valentine on the list of 100.

Having readers buy and enjoy Deadly Valentine is awesome, and I’d rather have that than not make sales but win awards. But moving up in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest from 10,000 to 100 entries is a validation. Like I’m a “real” writer. I’m not sure if Deadly Valentine will make the next cut in April, which is from 100 entries down to 5 based on the full manuscript, but I’m thrilled to have made it this far!

If you haven’t read Deadly Valentine, Amazon is offering a free excerpt.

Deadly Valentine Free Two Days

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, you can get the book that started it all. Deadly Valentine is FREE Feb. 12 and Feb. 13 in anticipation of the Feb. 14 release of With This Ring I Thee Kill.

Tess Madison walked away from her two-timing fiancé, a multi-million dollar trust fund and a cushy corporate law job to pursue the single life indulging in chocolate and fancy French underwear. But her newly reordered life comes unraveled when she reluctantly accepts an invitation to a dinner party and stumbles upon the host’s dead body. Now Tess is in the middle of a murder investigation pitting her wannabe-boyfriend police detective against Jack Valentine, a man from her past with blue-green eyes and sinful smile that causes her to rethink her self-imposed celibacy. Tess has many reasons to avoid Jack including the fact that he’s the prime suspect in murder. But Tess doesn’t believe Jack’s the murderer and with an honest attempt to keep her hormones in check, she agrees to represent him. With Jack’s help, she uncovers a 30-year-old secret someone is killing to keep hidden and discovers sensual delights that don’t include chocolate or French underwear. But when her professional and personal relationship with Jack threatens to ruin her career and end her life, Tess has to decide if Jack, is worth the risk.

Deadly Valentine is the first in the Valentine Mystery series featuring Tess Madison a chocolate and French underwear connoisseur and Jack Valentine, her handsome, environmentalist love interest.

Don’t miss out! Grab your copy of Deadly Valentine now.

The book is free through Amazon Kindle, but you don’t need a Kindle to get or read the book. You can read Kindle books through the Kindle app for your computer, smartphone or i-devices.

Vote for your favorite Valentine romantic/love scene?

I’m madly finishing With This Ring, I Thee Wed, with a publication date of February 14, 2013 (Valentine’s Day). As the day approaches, I thought it would be fun to find out from you, what your favorite romantic or loves scenes are from the first two books. If you’d like to weigh in, please take the poll below. It’s anonymous and you don’t need to submit any personal information.