Hey, everybody! I’m Kendall McKenna and I write m/m erotic romance novels. Last time I was a guest here was back in March, just before my vampire story, Nights In Canaan was released. I’m back now, with a completely different offering.
Let’s talk about book series. We’ve all read them. We all have at least one that we adore. Some of us prefer series to stand-alone stories. I admit, I like when secondary characters grow over time, or when something from an earlier book plays a part in the current story. But I’ve never thought much about them beyond that.
The very first title I had published is Brothers In Arms. It was never supposed to be a series. The very first review of the book was filled with praise, and a request for more stories about my main characters, Jonah and Kellan. The review also requested a story about a supporting character, named Corey. I was surprised by both of these things, but when I thought about it, I realized I could write more stories like this.
In the meantime, I wrote a paranormal story called Strength of the Pack. Halfway through writing this book, I realized one of my supporting characters was very likeable, and could easily be the center of his own story. It was easy to sketch an outline of a story for him, so I decided that I would develop a series and decided to name it The Tameness of the Wolf.
When I reached the point where I realized that I had effectively begun to write two separate series of books, I decided to name the contemporary military series The Recon Diaries. I also decided to give each series its own, distinct identity, beyond the fact that one has werewolves and the other doesn’t.
The paranormal series is much more standard erotic romance. It’s more or less a look at what might happen if werewolves lived in our world, we knew about them, and valued their contributions to our society.
The Recon Diaries is much different. Brothers In Arms is a book that is very different from most others in the genre. It’s plot driven, realistic and technically accurate. I based the plot on a real-world issue. The story is fiction, nothing that happens in the story has ever taken place. But the circumstances that lead up the events in the story are very real.
I decided that would be the hallmark of The Recon Diaries. Each fictional story would be based on something real, each story would deal with an actual issue that negatively impacts someone. Brothers In Arms looked at a possible scenario for how the military contractors obtained all of their lucrative no-bid government contracts. Fire For Effect, Book 2 of The Recon Diaries, deals with possible reasons why so few veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have been awarded high level medals of valor, when acts of a similar nature had been awarded Medals of Honor in previous conflicts. When Book 3, The Final Line is released in July, it takes an unflinching, realistic look at Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, and the need for treatment.
And that is how I’m going to set the entire series apart from any other I end up writing. I recently had a chat with my editor about plans for future stories and which characters will reappear. At least two future books will feature the nearly out of control incident of sexual assault in the U.S. military, and the kidnapping of U.S. citizens in countries abroad. It’s possible I may end up writing about the handler/canine relationship of military working dogs, and the backlog of VA claims for wounded warriors. I’ve got a full dance card for the foreseeable future.
Here’s a blurb and an excerpt from the 2nd book, Fire For Effect. If you’ve read Brothers In Arms, this is a continuation of Kellan’s and Jonah’s story. If this excerpt interests you, but you haven’t read Brothers In Arms, that’s where you’ll want to start, then move on to Fire For Effect. Get ready! Time is running out! The Final Line comes out July 4th (appropriate for a book about U.S. Marines!).
Hired to investigate the denial of a Marine the Medal of Honor, Kellan Reynolds and Jonah Carver try to untangle a web of lies, deceit, and heroism.
Two years after the events of Brothers In Arms, Kellan Reynolds and First Sergeant Jonah Carver are struggling with their bi-coastal relationship. Following the events in Iraq, Kellan’s expertise in national security is well established and he is hired to investigate the suspicious repeated denial of a KIA Marine the Medal of Honor.
Kellan brings Jonah onto his staff and into his home, but just as their relationship settles into a routine, their investigation heats up. What begins at the Pentagon, leads to Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan, and an ambush that threatens to destroy everything they’ve built.
They were so wrapped up in the information spread out on the table before them, they hadn’t bothered to change clothes when they’d arrived home. They’d gotten as far as removing their suit coats. Kellan stood now, rolling up his shirtsleeves but Jonah was still perfectly unwrinkled in his olive uniform trousers and khaki tie and shirt.
At some point, it had made sense for the rest of Kellan’s staff to pursue the case of systemic discrimination in the awards process. They would compile what Kellan would need to report to the Senate. That left Jonah and Kellan to figure out why Sergeant Miguel Restrepo was being denied the Medal of Honor, and exactly by whom.
Kellan had been hungry for awhile, but each time he was about to call for a break to fix dinner, Jonah would connect another piece of the puzzle. Kellan ended up typing information into his notes, tagging document files and moving items into different folders on his hard drive.
Jonah stood at the long end of the table looking over the paperwork he had stacked and organized as he’d worked his way through the complicated mess. He balanced all of his weight on one leg, bent the knee of his second leg, and fisted his hands on his narrow hips. Jonah’s handsome brow was marred by a frown of concentration as his intelligent blue eyes darted from photos to written reports. Jonah was tall and lean, built like he was made to wear the uniforms of the Marine Corps, and Kellan found him sexy as hell.
He may not have left the Corps so that he could explore a physical relationship with Jonah, but it had certainly gone in the ‘pros’ column when he’d been weighing his options.
“You’re staring at me,” Jonah said suddenly, startling Kellan out of his reverie, but not looking away from the organized chaos of their dining room table.
“Uh huh,” Kellan replied, not at all ashamed at being called out.
“Staring at me isn’t going to help us figure out why Restrepo is being blocked from receiving the MOH.” Jonah finally looked Kellan in the eye.
“No, but it’s a damn fun thing to do.” Kellan smiled. He decided he was done with work for the night. Dinner first, then crawling into bed with Jonah were the only two things left on his agenda for the night.
Jonah snorted a laugh, one corner of his mouth lifting in the smile that always made Kellan’s stomach twist in ways it embarrassed him to describe. “If you keep looking at me like that, we won’t get back to this tonight.”
“Yeah, well, there’s always tomorrow.” Kellan grinned, openly flirting. He saved and closed all of his secure files, then he got up from his chair and moved into the warm circle of Jonah’s arms.
“You haven’t gotten tired of having me under foot twenty-four-seven, yet?” Jonah asked, running his palms over Kellan’s back. The question seemed casual, even humorous, but Kellan suspected it was a diversionary tactic.
“Not at all,” Kellan replied with conviction. “You don’t regret taking an office job, do you? Not wishing you’d promoted to Master Sergeant and stayed with a combat unit?”
“No,” Jonah replied so quickly, Kellan nearly doubted him. “I hate having to wear the service uniform—fucking ties—but I like using my brain this much. This is important work, too. This matters.”
“I’m glad you think so,” Kellan said quietly against the warm skin of Jonah’s throat, relief washing through him. He inhaled and caught the scent of the cologne Jonah had begun to wear. He hadn’t asked but Kellan assumed Jonah had never worn cologne regularly because he spent so much time getting sweaty, dirty, or just plain wet. Marines were amphibious, after all.
“Are you coming to the same conclusion I am, about all of this?” Jonah’s question confused Kellan momentarily.
It took several moments to realize Jonah was referring to the issue with Restrepo. “Probably, but what conclusion are you reaching?”
“Someone has been lying about what happened inside that house in Fallujah,” Jonah replied. “We might need to conduct our own interviews.”
Kellan had been coming to that conclusion over the last several days, yes. He was still hoping to find a way around it. “If we want to continue pursuing this; if we want the truth, regardless of what that truth is, I believe that is what we’re going to have to do.”
Jonah made a frustrated sound. “Send someone else, this time.” It sounded almost like a plea.
“I’m not sending anyone to do something I’m not willing to do myself.” Did Jonah expect anything else from him?
“Yeah, I know,” Jonah replied with resignation. “I’m going with you, you know.”
“You are my military aide.” Kellan pulled back to meet Jonah’s eyes. They were standing in the dining room of a small house in Virginia, casually discussing the fact they were going to have to head directly into a war zone.
Kellan sighed inwardly. Always a Marine.
“Don’t get kidnapped this time,” Jonah said in mock annoyance.
“Why not? It was such a fun experience the first time.”
Jonah rolled his eyes. Kellan laughed.
“I’m getting out of this monkey suit,” Jonah said, heading for the bedroom and stripping off his uniform tie.
“Oh, hey, wait for me!” Kellan chased after Jonah. “I want to help!”
Information on where to buy Fire for Effect can be found here http://kendallmckenna.com/books/the-recon-diaries/
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