Message From The Author

Author's Message

The Braggs Are Back!!

Brenda Joyce, writing as B.D. Joyce, returns to her old stomping grounds
in a new suspense series!

They say you always remember your first love. For me those were my Bragg books. Its been 13 years, 21 novels and 4 anthologies since, but my original audience, whom I think of as Bragg fans, has never stopped asking for more Bragg books. In the meantime, I had realized it was time to move on to bigger plots with more intrigue, more suspense and absolutely no
rules, and I began writing contemporary womens suspense novels with a historical mystery at their center (The Third Heiress and House of Dreams). But the clamors or more Bragg books never ceased, and one day while snowshoeing alone up the back of a mountain in the Rockies I had a Eureka! moment. I mean, the entire idea for a series hit me all at once, like a bolt out of the blue (or rather white, as it was a blindingly
bright day and I was at 8,000 feet elevation).

I had long been an admirer of the J.D. Robb suspense series, but it never crossed my mind to try my hand at something similar until that day. The inspiration to do a mystery series set in turn-of-the century New York Citymy favorite time and placeand these two characters were suddenly just there, Francesca Cahill, an intrepid, educated young woman who refuses to follow in her mother's glamorous socialite footsteps, and this sexy police commissioner. And he, of course, had to be a Bragg.

Fortunately, this solved so many problems for me. My big books are hard, demanding, even frustrating. But I need the challenge. Yet I dont want to lose my old audience who love the Braggs almost as much as I do, and I dont want to go back to straight historical romances, either. The Deadly series is funand romantic with a capitol R. I can just let my romantic side go wild! I feel certain that my old Bragg fans, as well as Amanda Quick, Jude Deveraux and Catherine Colter fans, to name but a few, will enjoy it. Theres just enough plot to keep the reader interested, yet Francesca and Rick Bragg are at least on every other page as they clash, collide, solve crimes and slowly but surely fall in love with one another.

But first, there were logistics to consider. I had to figure out if there could be a Bragg in turn-of-the-century NYC, and just where in the vast Bragg family tree he fit in. Also, the police department at this time in NYC was notoriously corrupt. Fortunately, in 1902 there was a Reform administration, with Reform police commissioners.

Make no mistake about itRick Bragg is a Bragg through and through. He may be a city boy, and born on the lower east side of New York, but that only makes him as tough and strong as the rest of his relatives. His father, by the way, is Rathe Bragg (Violet Fire). Rathe obviously got some cheap woman pregnant before he met, fell in love with and married Grace ORourke. Rick Bragg grew up running with gangs and avoiding the law until he was 11, when his father found him and brought him home and thus he
and Grace raised him with their other children. So Rick has experienced the advantages and disadvantages of both worldsthe poor and the wealthy.

He is a classic Bragg hero, extremely intelligent, with a strong personal agenda and a burning passion for that agenda; he will always succeed in the end. He is strong, courageous and determined. He can use his fists if need beno one had better mess with him. He has the highest level of integrity imaginable: he is honest, sincere, loyal, and his word is written in stone. Bragg men are also easy on the eyes, thoroughly sexy, and lets face it, great in bed. They are magnets for the opposite sex. And of course, like all the Braggs, one day Rick is struck by Cupids arrow and that is it. When a Bragg man falls in love, it is once and forever, with no regrets.

Its also swift. The entire story for DEADLY LOVE takes place in about a week and a half. Rick and Francesca meet for the very first time in the middle of chapter one. So obviously they are not riding off into the sunset on the last page, roughly ten days later. At the end of this novel, a heated mutual attraction is obvious, and Francesca has realized she is falling in love. To be continued

I am envisioning at least ten books in the series. Theres so much to do! Of course, in every Deadly novel, theres a mystery for the two of them to solve. The fact that Bragg doesnt want Francesca involved, and she is now a determined crime-solver extraordinaire, is an inherent conflict for them. Their courtship will slowly unfold over the course of these books. Plus, they are surrounded by other wonderful characters, and their stories are slowly unfolding, too. In DEADLY LOVE, we meet Francescas older sister, Connie, and her gorgeous husband, Lord Montrose. We quickly realize the marriage is in trouble, and frankly, I leave my readers hanging on that one, too. And what about Francescas dashing brother, Evan, who is forced into an engagement to the oh-so-nice but oh-so-meek Sarah Channing? (Hint: The black sheep of the Channing family, the flamboyant Bartolla Benevente, the widow of an Italian count, is about to arrive on the scene.) I may even have some romantic plans for Maggie Kennedy, the mother of Francescas street-smart hoodlum sidekick, the kid, Joel. There is just so much to do!

But I do promise my fans this much. Francesca and Rick will tie the knot one day and live happily ever after, and my other characters will triumph eventually, too. After all, I couldnt abandon these characters that so completely captured my heart.

Not only did I fall in love with Rick, Francesca, and all my other characters while writing DEADLY LOVE, but I am officially smitten with New York City, the greatest city in the worldboth now and at the turn of the century. I just close my eyes and I can see the city shimmering as it once didthe trolleys with their ringing bells, the elevated railroads with their noise and smoke and soot, the tunnels being dug for the subways, the work on the Williamsburg Bridge. I can hear the pigeons cooing on the rooftops, the horse hooves on the cobblestones, the carriage wheels turning. Before me, I see the tenements, ugly and dirty and crammed to overflowing with the Irish, the Germans, the Russians. I watch them after work, going to and from the saloons and in the various outdoor markets, which was as crowded then as it is today. And then there are the gorgeous, palatial mansions lining Fifth Avenue, home to the likes of Carnegie and the Astors. I do not need opera glasses to peek inside, to see the women in their couture gowns and jewels, sipping champagne from crystal flutes, or the men in their dinner jackets and tuxedos, clustering together and talking politics. It is so breathtakingly real that I often wish I could step right into the picture in my head.

Needless to say, I have had a wonderful time writing DEADLY LOVE, and if you, my readers, have just half as much fun reading it, I will be pleased, indeed. Happy Reading!

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