Freaking amazing!!! I am absolutely loving the bada$$ that Mina has become. She is glorious and I felt like I was experiencing Brian witnessing her ascent into her glory like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon! This was perfect, Brian has always been my fave and their new level of bada$$ery is even better than I had anticipated! Can’t wait for more from my favorite psychos.” – Amanda, Goodreads
“I can’t stand the thought that I make her unsafe, that my very existence somehow puts her at risk. I need to make her safe. I need to keep her with me forever.”
Mina, my dark phoenix rising from the ashes, the goddess returning from her descent into the underworld.
I will kill anyone who dares to threaten her.
But what if I’m the one who breaks her this time? What if I become her angel of death?
NOTE: This is book 2 in Brian and Mina’s Holiday Hits. These titles must be read in order. For the best reader experience, please read Broken Dolls before reading this series. (book 2 in the Pleasure House series) for this couple’s initial story. Note that Broken Dolls can be read as a standalone.
Meet Brian and Mina.
Two dark and broken souls coming together to… kill people?
An Unlikely Love Story.
The first in a 5 novella series revolving around this assassin couple’s “Holiday Hits”. The other kind of hit.
IMPORTANT: This one is going on 99 cents for release week, I just haven’t gotten the price changed yet. So if you want to read it and support me at full price you can do that now, and if you want to wait for the sale, you can do that. Just full disclosure because I don’t want someone to go buy it and then be upset when it’s 99 cents in a few days.
Okay… STORYTIME! It’s a long story, make some tea…
Brian was never going to have a story. Originally when I wrote Guilty Pleasures, the first book in the Pleasure House world, I thought it was a standalone. In fact, I have thought every book in that world was going to be the last one. (finally, after Twisted Fates, it IS done.)
I created Brian originally as a totally iredeemable villain, or so I thought. He was meant to be a foil for the other trainers so that readers would go along with the fantasy and not judge the other trainers based on “what would be bad in real life.” Making Brian so much more evil and villainous I thought would make it easier for readers to come along for the ride.
About a year goes by and suddenly Brian is in my head wanting a book. And I’m like “No, you psycho, absolutely not. Do I have to call security?” But he kept on. And in between writing other projects, this nagging thought of Brian needing a book keeps popping up.
Three years into this harassment, 🤣 Brian finally drops his backstory on me. Which would have been helpful WAY earlier in this exchange. (He’s pulling out the big guns now, no pun intended).
And then I’m like… “Awwww. F*ck you, fine.” But I still didn’t know how I was going to get this guy with an actual live human person and make that work.
Until Mina came along, and then I’m like. Oh. Ohhhhh. And then I was so excited to write this story, which became Broken Dolls.
So at this point, I’m on board, but readers have had no idea about this whole conversation with imaginary people that has been going on for three years. So I go to my readers and tell them I have another book for them in the Guilty Pleasures world (or that I’m writing it anyway). I say: “It’s Brian. I’m going to make you want to have his babies, trust me.”
Readers are like “BRIAN? Ugh, no. He’s terrible.” And I’m like… “Yeah, but you’re going to love him.”
This was met with more resistance: “You will never make me love Brian.”
So Broken Dolls is born and readers are: “OMG I can’t believe you made me love BRIAN!”
He quickly became the favorite hero of the Pleasure House world. Brian and Mina also make cameos in Surrender (book 3 in that world) and Twisted Fates (book 5). Brian is in Pretty Lies (4), but Mina isn’t because it’s a prequel for when the house starts and is Anton and Annette’s story since they’re already together in book 1.
A change occurs in Mina in Broken Dolls which I won’t spoil you on if you’re new to this couple and she goes from the broken shell she is at the beginning of that book to becoming a lot more like Brian in more ways than one.
Some time has passed inside the story between the events of Broken Dolls and Surrender, and when she makes the cameo in Surrender she’s basically a badass. But we don’t get to see the story of how that transpires or how she and Brian grow together. A lot of what you see from Brian and Mina toward each other at the house from Surrender onward is a show for the house. (Something you’ll understand via this series). They’ve got a lot of secrets they don’t want the whole world to know. (Well, outside of you guys!)
For a long time in the background I wanted to give Brian and Mina their own sort of mini-series. I knew how I wanted it to go… maybe 4 or 5 novellas about the various misadventures they get into outside the house. But I had no plots, no basic character or relationship arcs and no titles either for the individual stories or for the overarching series.
Then in November of 2021, the title: “Brian and Mina’s Holiday Hits” pops into my head and I laugh so hard. Because you hear this and you’re like… so… it’s a sweet story about a singing duo and the holiday songs they sing.
Not that kind of hits, my dear. We’re talking hitman hits, here. So now I had a story frame, these various jobs they go on around these different holidays. But I wasn’t going to be able to get anything out in time for Christmas so I thought I can start with Valentine’s, but in the end Valentine’s day had to be the last one. It’ll all make sense when we get there. I quickly figured out my holidays, the order (which is… you know… the order of the holidays, LOL, but I had to figure out where we were starting and stopping.)
I certainly don’t expect this book (BTU) or this side series to be a break out hit, not because I don’t think it’s amazing, but because you really need to read Broken Dolls and The Easter Hunt first and not everybody is caught up with that yet.
Also “Brian and Mina’s Holiday Hits” is just a confusing as hell series title… for new readers. For fans of Brian and Mina, it works. If you’re a totally new reader who has never heard of me or this couple and you’re not in on the joke, you’re not in on it, but if you know Brian and Mina you know immediately what this is going to be. And since I wrote this for the fans of this couple, that works for me.
And to be honest I didn’t want to give it a more “easily marketable name” because it just NEEDS to be their “holiday hits”. It’s just bizarrely important to me. 🤣
You could start with Guilty Pleasures but seriously, you will most probably hate Brian in that one, and it’s just tedious to have this conversation about having his babies again. I’m not here to convince you. Either you get on the ride, or you don’t. But if you do, please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.
So brand new people can’t just start with BTU. I’m happy to welcome anyone into this world who wants to join us, but I’m writing this series for me and for the ride or die hardcore fans of Brian and Mina. And I just don’t care how that translates into sales. Yes, I have to eat, but I am an artist first and foremost.
I’m not here on this earth to cater to people who haven’t even made up their mind about me yet. And it has taken me a long time… like years and years to realize what makes me unhappy about this work is trying to “convince” people who are casual about me and just not invested. And I’m not going to punish FANS for people who just can’t make up their mind about me. Sure I’ll market and seek out new readers, but I’m just not prioritizing people who don’t prioritize me.
Plus there are certain things I’m working on (like the subscription), to build a stable business that doesn’t require that I fight for the attention of a bunch of random strangers with a thousand books on their TBR list and no particular reason to prioritize mine.
The main reason I believe I’ve survived this business 15 years is that I have put most of my energy into the loyal hardcore readers, the people who love what I’m doing and who I don’t have to convince to do anything. I would obviously love more of those people, but I would rather have the number of ride or dies I have right now than a million casual readers because casual readers who can take me or leave me, who are just filling time and “quantity” on their reader goals, don’t make me happy.
I don’t want to be your dancing organ grinder monkey or like a used car salesman yelling at you to buy my book. I want the readers who hear my name and are like “Well, that’s a one-click!”
I know there has to be that first book that gets you there, which is why I’m happy to inform you, give you teasers, etc. But at a certain point you just have to get into the pool if you’re getting in. But I’m no longer wasting time trying to coax people in when I can focus my energy on those who already understand how fun the pool is.
After Valkyrie not doing what I had hoped it would even though I know it’s some of my best work, (owing to the fact that I have no strong audience built in that genre and am competing like a new baby bird with the other gazillion books out there now) I had to have a long chat with myself.
And I determined that I can’t care anymore about how any one individual book “does” in the world. And I can’t let that control my art. Because I can’t control people. I can’t tie you down and hold your eyes open Clockwork Orange style and make you read even if I know you’ll LOVE it. And I don’t want to. I don’t want readers I have to convince. I want readers who are like “Hell, yes!” I’m not going to drag you kicking and screaming into a great book. Either come along, or don’t.
So my Brian and Mina Hell Yes, people… see you on the other side of Blowing Things Up, you’re gonna love this ride! And I’m so excited about this world.
To new people who haven’t yet joined us, Here’s your reading order:
The Easter Hunt
Bl$wing Things Up
(I had to put that dollar sign there because I’m genuinely not sure if the email will be deliverable or if I’ll end up on a “list” for typing that out a bazillion times in email. 🤣)
(Note: the entire Pleasure House series where Broken Dolls is, is in a box set called… The Pleasure House so if you want to read all of them, that can save you some money.)
If you absolutely don’t want to read a whole other “origin story” novel (Broken Dolls) you can start with the Easter Hunt and not be “lost” but also not have the full impact of where these characters have been and who they are becoming together.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk. Talk to you on Monday for official release day which is coming 2 days earlier than originally planned. I was done and just twiddling my thumbs and had to decide… so do I just sit on my hands here, have a longer pre-order, or have an earlier release? And here we are.