Bud and his wife, Leslie have sailed the Caribbean for years on their yacht. Between writing fiction, Bud also writes fascinating real life accounts about his sailing adventures on the Play Actor.
Bud Dougherty’s Connie Barrera Thriller series is a spinoff from the Bluewater Thrillers that features Dani Berger and Liz Chirac, two kick-ass heroines who regularly defeat the villains who target their yacht, Vengeance. The new series features a love story that has its challenges, mostly other villains that must be 'dealt with" by a savvy scam-artist heroine and her ex-cop partner, Paul Russo.
Bud likes to let his characters speak for themselves; they often write guest posts on his blog. When I invited him to do a guest post on my blog with some facts about the characters in the Connie Barrera Thriller series, he delegated the job to Connie and Paul. With Connie's famous temper, Bud took a risk, but he's a brave man. Here’s the result:
When Diane invited Bud to do a guest post about the Connie Barrera Thrillers, I was excited. The third book in the series was released a couple of weeks ago; the timing was perfect. Then Bud told me he couldn't do it because he was busy with Dani Berger and Liz Chirac on their ninth Bluewater Thriller!
My legendary temper almost got the better of me; it's a good thing he was out of my reach. I mean, come on. Nine books! Don't get me wrong. I owe Bud my very existence, and Dani and Liz are my best friends, but still, he's written 9 books for them, and only 3 for me. Then he suggested that I could write the post myself, so here I am.
If you haven't guessed by now, I'm Connie Barrera, the co-owner and skipper of the charter yacht Diamantista II, and until recently, I was the quintessential loner. My background has a lot to do with my penchant for keeping to myself. I didn't have an easy life in my early years.
I'm not complaining, but you should know that until recently, I held the view that people could be divided into two classes: scammers and their marks. I didn't consider the boundary between the classes to be rigid, either. One person's mark was often another's scammer. That was what made life fun; that, and scheming to come out on top every time.
I believe in fair play; I always have. I never fleeced anyone who wouldn't have done the same to me, but that left a lot of room for maneuvering. I have a better life now, thanks to hard work, an open mind, and a little luck. It's a mistake to discount the importance of luck in determining life's outcomes, but I always work hard to minimize its effect.
Luck caused my life to change for the better when I met Dani and Liz a couple of years ago. I was in a hurry to depart from Nassau without leaving a trail, and I chartered Vengeance, their yacht, to make my escape. That story is told in Bluewater Ice.
Unqualified friendship was a new experience for me. Dani and Liz were watching my back for no reason other than their sense that it was the right thing to do. What an awakening that was! The idea that they were in my corner with no quid pro quo stunned me. As I said, it changed my life. I liked it so much that I stuck around with them for their adventures in Bluewater Betrayal.
They introduced me to sailing, which is pure magic. Harnessing the wind to make a 50-ton boat go where you want is an experience like no other. You can't overpower the wind and the sea, but you can adjust the way you deal with them so that they assist you in achieving your goals. If you can get what you want from Mother Nature, getting people to go your way is no challenge.
Besides teaching me to sail, Dani and Liz introduced me to Paul Russo, the love of my life. Paul's a life-long sailor, and he happened along when I had decided to buy a yacht and go into the charter business. He had just retired from the Miami Police Department, and he was looking for something to do. Next to sailing, his other favorite thing is cooking.
Paul agreed to help me get started. That was in Love for Sail, the first Connie Barrera Thriller. In Sailor’s Delight, the second book in the series, we got the business going and worked out some personal problems. Now we've bought a nicer boat and we're going to marry.
I'm still astonished by that. I've had men in my life before Paul, but always on my terms and only to further my goals. I wasn't looking for love back then; I was recruiting talent for my schemes.
There was an element of that in my relationship with Paul, but it didn't last long. Until I met him, the men I knew had been trying to use me. Not that I wasn't doing the same, but this time, I’m in love.
We've had some rough spots in our relationship, and Bud keeps throwing external conflicts in our way to keep things exciting. Most recently, in A Blast to Sail, he involved us in a terrorist plot to nuke Manhattan. In spite of the hurdles Bud puts in our way, we're going to make it, Paul and I are. We're committed, aren't we, Paul?
We sure are, captain. I'm Paul Russo, Connie's fiancé. I'm also her first mate and chef aboard Diamantista II. When Connie decided to buy her own boat and go into the charter business, the boat was easy enough, but she needed a competent chef. She’s a woman with a lot of talents, but none of them involve food preparation.
We met aboard Vengeance, when Connie was sailing with my friends, Dani and Liz. Connie isn’t a direct person; she’s manipulative. When she saw me sharing the chef's duties with Liz, she began her scheme to Shanghai me. Until now, she had no idea that I knew she was conning me. Not that I was resisting, you understand. My two favorite activities are sailing and cooking.
Besides, I was enjoying Connie’s company; she’s charming. Neither of us was looking for romance; we’d both been burned a few too many times. People who venture out into tropical thunderstorms are never looking to get struck by lightning, either, but ...
Before Connie even got the first Diamantista to the islands, we figured out there was more to our relationship than sailing and cooking. Our early days were complicated by drug smugglers in Love for Sail, but we got through that and decided to get married.
Our romance hasn’t been all smooth sailing and Caribbean sunsets. There was something eating away at Connie during our second charter, the one that’s described in Sailor’s Delight. I never figured it out, but I think it had something to do with an orange thong she found in my drawer. Whatever it was, we’re solid now, but we still have our differences.
Connie’s got a temper, and I’m often too quick to speak my mind. Nevertheless, we went in together to buy Diamantista II, so we're partners in the business as well as in life. We're still feeling our way in both areas; we had a misunderstanding at the beginning of our last adventure. I managed to get my face slapped pretty hard in the first few pages of A Blast to Sail, but I think we’re getting used to one another’s quirks, right, Connie?
Thanks, Paul, but next time, stick to the script approved by management. I'm getting used to your quirks; I don't have any. But I'm committed to you, even if you sometimes forget who's the captain. And we're both committed to entertaining the people who like to read about our adventures. We wouldn't be here without you all. Thanks to all who read and enjoy our stories, and thank you, Diane, for this opportunity.
It was my pleasure to host your posts about the very interesting series. I'm glad you two got everything ironed out as I enjoy reading about a spicy romance. Readers can find these books at the following links:
Love for Sail http://amzn.to/1DHyM2U
Sailor's Delight http://amzn.to/1Imhl96
A Blast to Sail http://amzn.to/1KsguHG
Read more about Bud's other books on his blogs:
Voyage of the Play Actor