And Along Came Book 6…

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The concept for Book 6 had been percolating in my brain for some time–and not just the story, but also the cover. I knew I wanted a cover that featured Gregg underneath the title, but I didn’t have a model to capture the Gregg Hadyn I envisioned. I may have already stated somewhere in these blogs that I like my heroes bigger than life–very capable, literally the best at what they do–and I wanted Gregg to be my idea of the best looking guy in the world as well. We all have different tastes in physical attractiveness, both male and female, but Gregg is my “creation,” and I wasn’t about to settle for less than what I considered perfection in his physical appearance. As such, with the help of my new Design Cover Artist, Jeffrey Kosh [JK Graphics], Gregg successfully became a compilation of four different men, and I couldn’t be happier with his final look. I believe the cover for this book is nothing short of stunning, and Jeffrey also accommodated me with an even clearer picture of Gregg for the back cover synopsis.

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For the first time in six books, my audience gets their first glimpse of my hot, sexy, and incredibly talented thief. I think it would be a rare female who would not find this man attractive! In Book 1, Carly, the female lead of the series, makes a statement that summed Gregg up. She has just rejected his sexual advances, and Gregg, utterly at a loss, having never been rejected before, says, “You’re not attracted to me? I’m not your type?” Carly responds with what I believe sums up Gregg Hadyn’s extremely hot, physical attributes: [Text from Book 1] She couldn’t help but grin at his total incomprehension, the almost innocent inability to understand why or how anyone could resist him. [She says] “You can relax Adonis, you haven’t lost your touch… Your everybody’s type. Don’t pretend you don’t know that.”

Perfect response, because Gregg is physically perfect. So why won’t she sleep with him? You’ll have to read Book 1 for the answer to that.

The cover and pics of Gregg are only a part of what I love about Book 6, however. I had wanted to use this opener, the opening conflict in Book 6, for a while, but I knew I had to wait to establish Gregg’s union with the SIRU to do something this bold. I believe it is without a doubt the best first few chapters opener from all of my books, and many of my fans have agreed. Here’s one review in particular which very nicely aggregates all the other reviews I received:

“Once a Thief Is the Best One Yet! I really needed another star for this one.  …J. A. Devereaux just gets better with each book. Her character development is brilliant. I have already read this book twice and I will probably reread it again a couple more times because it is just that good.” B.A. Sutherlin.

I wanted a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat starter, and I believe Once a Thief  accomplished all of my goals and then some.

Check it out!

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Book 5 – Another Few Weeks in the Life of a Thief Stealing for His Government

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As I thought about writing this book, I had nothing, no plot, no title, nothing but a desire to showcase one specific admirable character trait in the hot, sexy thief Gregg Hadyn: Gregg’s ability to shrug off how other people–especially agents in the intelligence community–tended to dislike him just because he was a thief.

This was another world for Gregg, an opposite universe to his status in the thieving community, where he was beloved and looked up to. I wanted to highlight Gregg’s ability to work within a community with the opposite viewpoint of him, one in which people tended to mistreat him first and ask questions later. I had already thought about spinning off a specific character from Book 2 to vilify for the most horrible treatment of Gregg, and this seemed the perfect place to do it. Enter Richard “Dick” Jarus, (fictional) Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. But it wasn’t enough to show Gregg continually disliked and mistreated, or even how he reacted to it. I wanted to show how Gregg’s charismatic, likable personality changed the bad opinions when those holding them had the chance to get to know Gregg Hadyn.

That was it. That’s what I had in my head when I started to write Book 5. And I had no idea as to where to have the story begin, so I went with the most convenient place: exactly where Book 4 left off. As in all the books to this point, I had Book 5 pick up pretty much exactly where Book 4 left off–only four hours later.

And so it began. I have often described myself as the type of writer who “writes by the seat of my pants,” meaning each chapter plays out as I dig into it. I don’t use an outline or any predetermined, stylistic guide. So, when I decided to pick up four hours after the SIRU’s last mission–while they were still in Moscow–everything just flowed from there. I wanted a quick wham, bang start too, an immediate action-packed scene to grab my audience and hold them captive for the outcome. The idea of using drones for the main plotline fell in quickly, and all the subplots came together in a hurry as well.

Though Book 5 is my shortest novel to date, it was also the most fast-paced, action-packed. It was the book my husband said was his favorite–that I was getting better with each book I wrote–and that meant everything!

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The SIRU went from Moscow to St. Petersburg in Russia and then on to China for the main plot in Book 5. A lot of fun research went into learning about various places in China as well as learning about the Predator and Reaper Drones. It’s a whirlwind of a ride for readers who love action-adventure/crime-heist/espionage books. I guarantee it!

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Book 4 – So Where Do We Go From Here?

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With the pilot story completed, I was ready to launch my readers into Gregg Hadyn’s new normal, and by this time, I had established the fact that he wanted to be exactly where he was–with Carly, if not entirely with the SIRU.

I specifically wanted a story that was very “spy-like.” Though, technically, the ribbon of espionage that ran through the three-book pilot was deemed legitimate, it turned out to be a ruse, a con, not at all a legitimate terrorist threat. This time, I wanted Gregg proving he could run with the high-tech spies…actually, that he could outrun them.

My son gets the credit for the RSA code plot. A grad student in Math at Western Michigan University, Stephen explained the RSA code, the world’s premier banking code, to me in a way I could grasp and use–much the same way an adult explains a hot stove to a toddler.

Steve's Grad Defense

I also wanted to feature a character mentioned in Book 3– Anika Greshnev, aka Niki Grey– the cunning female thief who had been Gregg’s girlfriend.

But the storyline again became a con, and I didn’t want the story to end the same way the pilot had ended–with no real threat. So I thought about it some more, and decided…what’s more spy-like than the KGB? Enter a connection between the RSA code’s rocky future and a terrorist threat to every true-blue spy in the USA.

Book 4 ~ Out of the Grey showcased Gregg’s many talents as a thief and a genius. And I honestly owe this plotline all to the man, my son, who I can now, as of September 7, 2017, officially call Dr. Stephen Devereaux — Ph.D. in Mathematics!

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Book 3 – Completion of the Pilot to the Ongoing Series

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The first three books in the REQUISITION FOR: A THIEF Book Series, though each an individual book and story in their own right, also serve as one pilot story to the ongoing series. As such, I do not believe a reader can get the full gist of the series without reading the first three books. I make that rather obvious with the cliffhangers at the end of Books 1 & 2. Book 3 – A Diamond Worth Its Wait wraps up the full pilot and launches the reader into the ongoing series.

I’ve been asked about the strange title of Book 3, specifically what appears to be a misspelling of the word “Weight” or a misuse of the word “Wait.” Let me assure you, it is not. Wait/weight are homophones–types of homonyms–and I use “Wait” specifically for that effect. The pilot books all begin with “A Diamond…” and the “diamond” always refers primarily to Gregg–the thief himself. Thus, in the last book, Gregg becomes the diamond whom Director Denny Garret finds has been worth waiting for. However, since Gregg is a jewel thief, I made the play on the word weight/wait–i.,e., carat weight versus the wait for… say a fine wine (or, in this case, the fine thief). The cover picture also lends itself to help the reader understand the dynamic by featuring an hourglass and a diamond on the weighing scales.

Everything that was left hanging in the first two books is wrapped up in Book 3. Technically speaking, a reader could stop there, but, in my opinion, that’s where the series really just begins! The world’s greatest, most renowned thief working for the good guys…. stealing for the U.S. government. The genre becomes: Action-Adventure/Crime-Heist/Espionage. The best of all three!

Take a look at the Book 3 wraparound cover!REQTHIEF - 3 - JPG Covers

Book 2 – The Thief Procured

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Warning! This is definitely a spoiler if you want to read the entire series. Read Book 1 – A Diamond for the Taking first!

When writing Book 2, as with all the books in this series, I began by asking myself what I wanted to see showcased–specifically in international jewel thief Gregg Hadyn’s character. With Book 2, that was clear from the very beginning. Gregg is a unique man in so many ways. I like my heroes bigger than life, and I wanted my audience to see a man of impeccable character (yes a thief, but not a bad man), but also one who had been raised to despise the feds who were chasing him. Yet, Gregg never really despises Director Denny Garret. He dislikes the Bureau, but he respects Denny. Denny Garret was the only FBI agent able to keep up. Even though Denny never caught Gregg, Gregg admired the man who had been more than capable of matching wits with him–even though Gregg always won.

I also wanted to show Gregg’s laid back attitude and outlook on life. He chose this life with his eyes wide open, and he knew the risks. Once “caught,” Gregg accepted his fate and rolled with it. Once the storyline gets into how Gregg and Denny need to develop a working relationship, and how difficult the idea of that becomes, things heat up in a hurry between the fed and the thief. Showing that tension and working through it was some of the best times I had writing this series.

Here’s the wraparound cover for Book 2, with back cover synopsis.:

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