BOOK COVER BLURB-CORE OF STEEL-BOOK 1
Staff Sergeant Bea “Mic” Michaels is the leader of Steel Corps, an elite group of the finest men in the American Armed forces. Commissioned by the United States Government to do what other units cannot, existing both above and outside the law.
A new recruit, Corporal Chris Jordon, has just been delivered, but before he can call himself Steel, he must pass every physical and mental test Mic throws at him. Orders for a mission have come down and Mic must train Jordon faster than ever.
Their team is thrown into a desperate mission to rescue an undercover operative in the heart of Colombia. Forced to take down the head of the Fernando Cartel and the mysterious Frenchie, their mission is complicated when Mic and Jordon are lost to their team.
Digging deep within herself, Mic will need every ounce of her strength to save both her team, and herself.
BOOK COVER BLURB-HARDENED BY STEEL-BOOK 2
It’s been two months since one of our own was killed in front of us. Two months of training and waiting. Time is up and another new recruit is due to arrive any minute; the cousin of the man who betrayed us all. The guys aren’t going to like it, but my superior has overridden my protests.
Just when I didn’t think things could get any worse, my contact with Aunt Beatrice is discovered and my actions have put her in mortal danger. A hit was ordered from a cartel in Mexico. Led by the cousin of Diego Fernando’s widow, the Vega Cartel has a blood debt to settle and they have come to collect.
Jordon is becoming more attractive to me by the day; as my feelings for him continue to grow, our situation becomes even more complicated when our connection is discovered by one of the team. Events spiral out of my control, forcing me to face my demons and darkest fears. I find myself teetering on the edge of good and evil, poised to fall.
A sinister message has me racing to Mexico, trying to beat the dawn. What I find waiting for me there may spell the end of my life and Steel Corps itself.
I must decide; am I hard enough to make this choice? Is my soul a big enough sacrifice for the lives of innocents? There is no question. I am Staff Sergeant Michaels and I am Steel.
***Hardened By Steel picks up where Core of Steel leaves off and it is recommended to read the books in order.
BOOK COVER BLURB-FORGED BY STEEL-BOOK 3
I’m Staff Sergeant Michaels, the leader of Steel Corps. We’re the best America has to offer and we’ve been dealt a heavy blow. I’m fighting to recover; struggling to be the leader my men expect me to be – need me to be.
It’s been five days. Five days since my men rescued me from that basement in Mexico. My body is healing and I’m stronger than ever – eager to go to Russia and end this terror haunting me.
Secrets burden our team like lead weights around our necks. We must strip them free and bind ourselves together anew. These revelations have the power to rip us apart, forever changing Steel.
Will it be for the better? Or will Steel Corps burn?
I can’t decide our future alone, but Chris Jordon is at my side, watching my back – chasing the shadows away, whether I want him to or not.
An unexpected visitor forces our hands and sends Steel on a mission from which we may not return. I may get my way, but at what price?
Only one way to find out…
Steel Corps is comprised of the finest men the American Armed Forces has to offer. They exist in the shadows, apart from society and the comforts it offers. Sanctioned by the government to operate outside the law, the do the hard things, the necessary things, and most of all; the things John Q. Public doesn’t want or need to know about.
They go after sex traffickers, hate groups, terrorists, any scum bag on the planet that needs to be eliminated. With this power comes a heavy burden and a damaging cost. With no families or spouses outside of their specialized unit they only have each other to rely on.
Led by Bea “Mic” Michaels and her team of soldiers, Steel Corps follows the missions and orders handed down by the Department of Defense; for the most part. Master Sergeant Jackson has been known to give Mic free reign when the situation calls for it. Their strength and determination are their biggest assets, but tragedy and betrayal can touch anyone. Even Steel.
STAFF SERGEANT BEA “MIC” MICHAELS
The first member of Steel Corps, she was hand-picked by Master Sergeant Jackson. She joined the United States Army directly after high school and quickly showed an aptitude for leadership and a keen intelligence. Schooled in tactics and interrogation techniques she originally worked as military intelligence but after a mission in Iraq went sideways, she was recruited for Steel.
She was named for her Aunt Beatrice though it was shortened to Bea. She got the handle Mic in basic training and has used it ever since. She comes from a broken home with a traumatic childhood, the details of which are revealed in Hardened by Steel, Steel Corps Book 2. She is 29 years old and never tells anyone when her birthday is.
Her true loves are music, her Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and Guinness. She has broad tastes in music and listens to everything from Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash to Korn and Rob Zombie. Her favorite song and band changes daily or according to her mood.
She tries to keep a few things about herself feminine. She favors pink underwear in all its forms.
She loves to take her Jeep out, bouncing around in the mountains takes her mind off of everything. It allows her to just lose herself in her music and the forest. Before every mission it’s her ritual to go out alone. She tries not to form deep emotional attachments. Her biggest fear is being killed on a mission and being the cause of someone’s grief.
Her team is her family, as she is theirs. She is the glue that holds them together as a cohesive and deadly unit. She would sacrifice everything and anything for them, including her life. Her pride in the team she and Jackson have assembled drives her, pushes her to test their limits. Every mission tightens the ropes of brotherhood closer together, until the only thing that can loosen them is death itself.
Interview with J.B. Havens
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I suppose in high school. I dabbled in poetry (very BAD poetry) and started making up stories. I wrote a trashy romance short story as a gift for a dear friend and it sort of always stayed in the back of my head. Until I got the inspiration for Mic, that is, after that I just couldn’t stop writing
How long does it take you to write a book?
Core of Steel took me nearly a year. I stopped for almost six months before getting back into it. Hardened by Steel I wrote in just over two months. My muse is a fickle bitch.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
For the time being, I write full time. Though I wrote both books one and two while working evenings and weekends in a soul sucking retail job. I have three kids who keep my busy too. I try to maximize on nap time!
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I keep a bag of wintergreen lifesavers on my desk and I am constantly munching on them when I’m lost in thought or the like.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I’ve taken great care in my research and have tried to be as accurate to the military as possible, while still keeping with my story line. I talk to veterans, follow veteran website/blogs, and use google a lot. Often, things will just hit me, I get ideas from everywhere. People watching is a big one. I just let my imagination run away with me and see what happens.
When did you write your first book?
I started Core of Steel almost two years ago I think, but it’s been live on Amazon for going on a year now. October is the anniversary of its release.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Spending time with my kids and family, watching horror movies with a good friend, and reading
What does your family think of your writing?
For the most part they are really proud of me. My husband brags about me all the time. A few family members have made it into the books as well. Some of them don’t really understand it, but they support me anyway.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That’s a hard question! I guess, mostly that there is still so much to learn. I learn new things about writing styles, publishing, advertising, all of it, every day. Also, a big one for me is that not only did I do it and realize my dream, but people actually like my books!
What is the name of your favorite book?
Oh man. I can’t pick just one. The Stand, Zombie Fallout, Indian Hill, The Giver. I could go on for hours.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Ask me questions mostly and tell me how much they love Mic. It always shocks me. I don’t know if I will ever get used to people being excited to talk to me or wanting to meet me.
What do you think makes a good story?
Characters. A great story, no matter the genre, writing style, or whatever—must have deep, well thought out, ‘real’ characters. I’ll read just about anything as long as they grab me.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I bounced between an archeologist, anthropologist, infantryman (I was really pissed when I found out girls weren’t allowed in the infantry).
Did you have any goals for this collection when you wrote it — to get published, or just to finish, etc.?
I wanted to get published. I tried to be published traditionally but after dozens of rejections, just decided to do it on my own.
How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
I’ve always told stories in one form or another since I can remember, even if they were just in my head. It seemed natural. I don’t have any hidden messages in my books, I write purely for the entertainment value.
What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I love Mark Tufo, Cristin Harber, Samantha A. Cole, Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling. I could go on and on. Laurell K. Hamilton, Tufo, and Cristin Harber had a big influence on me for different reasons. Mark Tufo for his violence that is so well done and his engaging characters. How he interjects humor into even the most horrifying of situations. It’s a balance that I strive for. Cristin Harber because she’s totally self-published and has made the NYT Best seller and USA Today Best Seller lists. If she can do it, I can.
Do you write every single day?
No. I try to but often fall short of the mark. I have days where I can sit and write 8k words. Then other days I can hardly manage a paragraph. I’ve found that if I force myself to, what I write is usually garbage.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
Haha. That’s a hard one. I’ve done everything from office work, to being a janitor, to day-care. I’d have to say working as a maid in hotels. Its dirty, hard work and I wasn’t a fan.
What’s more important: characters or plot?
Characters. Hands down. Don’t get me wrong, if you have a crappy plot no matter how great your characters are they can only do so much. But I think really excellent characters can overcome a lot of short-comings.
How did you come up with the titles for your books?
Core of Steel was a play on words. Steel Corps-Core of Steel. Then, after that it was something to do with what Mic and the guys go through. Hardened by Steel, she faces some of her biggest challenges yet, and in Forged by Steel, Book Three that releases in August—Mic and her team have to really huddle down and show the world what they are made of. Book Four, Bound by Steel, which I am currently working on, is a little more self-explanatory. After all of the challenges they face, they are still bound together.
J. B. Havens is the author of the military thriller book Core of Steel (Steel Corps Book 1) , the first book in a series that follows the main character, Staff Sergeant Bea “Mic” Michaels, as she leads her elite force of black-ops on missions that don’t exist to the public’s knowledge.
Born in Colorado, J.B. moved with her family when she was young and grew up in central Pennsylvania. She loves watching her favorite hockey team, the Montreal Canadians and is also a Steelers fan. When not reading or watching her favorite sports teams with her family she is researching all things military.
Her love of books started when she was young, reading the Little House on the Prairie books and Goosebumps, and graduated into Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. Her favored books span the spectrum of genres, everything from Stephen King’s The Stand to Cristin Harber’s Titan series.
J.B. has always been fascinated with the military and wanted to explore how a strong female lead would affect a special forces operation. This birthed the idea for J.B.’s first book, Core of Steel, which hosts a strong female lead character, Bea Michaels.
Hardened By Steel, the second book in the series released in March 2016. It continues to follow the team on a mission to Mexico and Mic must make a choice that could spell the end of Steel Corps and Mic herself.
The third book in the military thriller series, Forged by Steel is, slated to release on August 26, 2016 and no doubt she will continue to frustrate her readers with the unrealized relationship between two favored characters, Mic and Jordon.
J.B. Havens can be contacted on her website: http://jbhavens.weebly.com/
On Facebook www.facebook.com/jbhavens
You can subscribe to her newsletter on the website and get all the forthcoming updates on her third novel. Coming soon!