Meet Hunky Male Model Charles Hackmann

June 27, 2012

Song of the Day: Bleed It Out by Linkin Park

I had so much fun learning about model Kate Duncan who posed on my novel BLOOD AND TREASURE, I thought I’d interview her male counterpart.

Meet Charles Duncan.

*You’re a personal trainer from St. Louis, professional MMA fighter, a United States Marine veteran and, oh, you do a little modeling on the side. Tell us more about Charles Hackmann.

Everything wasn’t always so glamorous. I grew up very poor, and was the one always wearing the same clothes to school, getting picked on, and dealing with an alcoholic step-father. You know, as a kid, you sit back and wonder why you have to be subjected to this kind of existence. I just always remembered no matter how rough it got, someday I would get the last laugh. My freshman year in high school, my aunt and uncle took me in and raised me, showing me not everyone treats others like garbage because of their childhoods. I took the example they led by and ran with it, vowing to never treat people with less fortune poorly.

People earn respect from me first, and then they get treated accordingly. I won’t tolerate bullies, or women-beaters or child abusers. I’ll make it a point to give them the same treatment they dish out to those who can’t defend themselves.

I am not a conformist. I don’t follow rules just because someone tells me to. If I think its bullshit, I say so. I’m very abrasive and say what I want, calling people out when they’re being fake.

I’ve done everything – college student, hard manual labor, fighting, serving in the Marines, driving armored cars, and personal training.

I learned very early if I don’t like something I won’t stay miserable. I’ll keep flipping through the cards until I find one that I want and play life out from there. Right now that card is personal training – taking a person with disabilities, low self-esteem, or someone that has been abused, and giving them the confidence to achieve their goals and dreams, leaving all the doubters and haters in their shadows in the process. My biggest piece of advice to anyone is don’t ask for an easier life, just get better at the one you have been given.

Great advice, Charles. We can be beaten down, or we can rise above what holds us back. The choice is ours.

*How did you end up modeling for Hot Damn Designs?

I met Kim of Hot Damn on Facebook. She had sent me a message about modeling. At the time, I was engaged and was so in love I gave up who I really was to please her. When I look back, its unfortunate. I gave up college, personal training, and fighting to work a 14 hour a day job for her. I never gave her a reason to believe I wanted anyone else. Life isn’t always a romance novel where you find a princess and run away to a castle, making love in the tower in the moonlight. Life is more along the lines of people taking each other for granted and never being happy enough with what they have. So a year after it ended, I decided to start doing everything I missed out on. I messaged Kim, met up, and she had me in her next shoot.

Break-ups can be devastating. I’m so glad you were able to overcome your setback and take life by the horns.

*I bet modeling has been a different experience for you than you are used to. How does it feel to see yourself on the cover of romance novels? What do your friends and family think of your posing for cover photos?

You know, in high school I couldn’t get a girl to save my life. I resorted to silly-ass pick up lines that never worked, and kept to myself. I took up lifting weights and consumed my life with fitness. By my senior year, the same girls who wouldn’t even talk to me, wanted me. I passed. It was a matter of principle.  If they didn’t like me before, then I didn’t need them when its convenient for them. I had done some photo shoots before Hot Damn, and escorted beautiful women up and down stage for a Partylite convention. But to actually be on a book cover is kind of cool. I usually use it to lure hot girls into giving me their numbers.  Like ‘Yo. I’m on a book.  Look how jacked and tan I am.’  They’re like ‘damn!’ and I’m like, ‘’Yeah, let me sign it for you.’

LOL! Looks like you perfected the pick-up lines. Ha!

This doesn’t always work. But, if they don’t have a sense of humor, I don’t need them around anyway. I’d rather be outrageous than boring. My family thinks being on book covers is cool, too.  They buy the books and keep them at their work.

Ah, the family is proud of you!

It’s a cool experience, all in all.

*I know it’s purely professional, but is it ever awkward to pose in those, shall we say, compromising positions with female models?

If I had to try this in high-school, I’d never had said yes.  I’ve been around so many gorgeous girls in my adult life through fitness, school, and clubs that it’s nothing new. Not going to lie, though.  A few times when they’re looking at you all sexy, I’m like damn! I need to throw this girl into the wall and ravage her.

Kind of getting caught up in the moment, eh?

I blink, collect my thoughts and think Charles, save that for the ones you take to your room. *g* Besides I’m in a gym 12 hours a day making little bombshells. I’m used to all of it. No one really gets me star struck anymore. Also my best friend, Stephanie, is a pro bikini model. I see her everyday at work, and so I’m used to hot bodies. 🙂

It must be grueling to work alongside all those sexy women. Much more grueling than KO-ing an opponent in the ring.

Honestly, fighting is a hobby. I take fights on in just a day or two notice. I like to compete and hit dudes. Really, personal training and making money is my main focus. But it’s a rush being in front of a screaming crowd punching someone in the face – not to mention girls get to see me topless. *wink, wink*

There is definitely something uniquely male about half-naked men pummeling one another that can get a girl’s heart pumping.

*What are your favorite poses? Favorite costumes?

The western poses are cool because I love horses. One of the girls I train, Shannon, got me into horses. Now I really enjoy riding them, watching them race, etc.


I also like the medieval looks because I get a sword.  I’m like William Wallace, running around slashing dudes in half and getting five princesses for my troubles. Those two are definitely my favorites.

Hmm…a man who likes to wield his sword.

*Okay, something a little different. While serving in the Marines, you were deployed to Iraq 3 times. Any stories you’d like to share about your experience there? You know, for the ladies who are now swooning over a military man. (And, by the way, thank you for serving our country.)

When I went in, I was all motto and proudly American. I wanted to make a career out of it. However, once I got in and saw how things really worked, I realized it wasn’t for me. There was backstabbing and a lack of brotherhood. It wasn’t like everyone believes. Like I stated earlier, I’m not a conformist and do something because I’m told. If it doesn’t make sense, I question it. I’ll be damned if I am picking up trash at 3 am in the rain wearing a gas mask because someone didn’t clean their room.

I just had a Private Benjamin flashback.

Also, once you deploy, it’s not the same as what newspapers report or what you hear on TV. I was there everyday and saw how stuff really works. A lot of it I didn’t agree with; in terms of us rebuilding and babying a nation while kids are starving right here in America. It didn’t sit too well with me. I made a few lifelong friends and had some fun experiences. But after my time was up, I didn’t look back. I have my own outlook and take on the government, but I still respect all the current and past individuals who made sacrifices to do the job and wear the uniform.

Semper Fi!

*Where can we learn more about you? What’s next for Charles? *Please say more modeling, please say more modeling, please say more modeling…*

I like to think of myself as a go-getter. Right now my passion is personal training. But if I hit an opportunity to do something I enjoy and make a ton of money, I’d do it – even if it meant porn. Lol! Realistically though, money isn’t everything. I train a few disabled people and I cut prices. Not because I have to, but because I want to. If someone that wasn’t given the best hand in life can make the most of it, the least I can do is extend my hand and help them along the way.

Very noble of you, Charles. You’ve displayed some traits I know many romance authors would eat up to write about. Thanks so much for being our guest here at MuseTracks.

You don’t get a cover model body without some hard work. Check out a pretty awesome (and gratuitously shirtless, at times) video of Charles strength training. Ouch! I’m trying to catch my breath and grabbing the Icy Hot just watching him. The video also shows him working as a personal trainer with some lucky gals.

Also, you can check out Charles in the ring.

Find Charles on Facebook

Got a question for Charles? Don’t be shy, ask away!

Steamy Pirate Love…for FREE!

May 30, 2012

I’ve been in such a celebratory mood lately that I thought why not blow out May with more merriment.

One year ago, BLOOD AND TREASURE hit the virtual bookshelves. The first book in my Romancing the Pirate series has done mama proud. To celebrate, BLOOD AND TREASURE will be available on Amazon for FREE.

Yes… FREE!

Just in time for summer beach reading!

But only for a very limited time.

Get yours today! Give it as a gift! Tell your family, your friends, your frenemies, your neighbors.  Shout it from the rooftops! What are doing still reading this? Go get a copy!!!

Steven Tyler, Noodling, and Pirate Dreams

April 11, 2012

Song of the Day: Dream On by Aerosmith

The other night I had one of those dreams that make you go huh? My best pal was Steven Tyler of  the awesome rock band Aerosmith. For you whippersnappers who don’t know who Steven Tyler is, I roll my eyes and blow out a frustrated sigh. Steven Tyler is that long-haired, hippy-looking judge on American Idol. But I digress and return to my dream. Steven Tyler and I were noodling for river monsters. That in itself offers all sorts of comedic innuendos. Go ahead and crawl that dirty mind of yours from the gutter.

You may be asking what in the world is noodling. Noodling is fishing for catfish using only your bare hands. Yeah, I know. A little unsettling. You may also be wondering why I was noodling catfish with Steven Tyler. Got me. I’ve no idea why. But wow – what an imagination.

Dreams can offer a great springboard for inspiration. Much like a photo (insert shameless plug for MuseTracks’ popular Hump Day Kick Start), a movie scene, a quote, a song, or even a passing stranger, a vivid dream can uncover a fount of creativity.

My debut novel (insert another shameless plug) BLOOD AND TREASURE is an example. Long before I became a writer and before Pirates of the Caribbean hit the silver screen, I dreamed nearly the entire first chapter of BLOOD AND TREASURE. It was such an adventure that it defied what dreams do when we wake. It didn’t fade away like fog in the morning sun. Instead it clung on until I finally wrote it down on paper months later.

In the same vein, I once had a dream starring Johnny Depp. I bet I’m not unique, right ladies? (And I suppose if I was being honest, I’ve had more than one dream of the sexy actor.) That dream spawned a romantic comedy short story. This was also the story that had my creative writing college professor challenging me to become a novelist. Silly professor. I never back down from a challenge. Since, I’ve penned several more short stories based on the antics I live through in the realm of Slumberland.

Now, you may be curious to know if Steven Tyler and I were successful in noodling for catfish. I’m happy to say we were. We also caught several electric eels.  And we celebrated with a cold beer. Ah…good times, good times.

Have you ever had a wild, crazy dream you’d like to share? For authors, have you written a story based on a dream? I’d love to hear from you.

The Superstitious Minds of Pirates

March 14, 2012

Song of the Day: Cue the Twilight Zone theme music.

Click cover to pre-order your copy!

In my Romancing the Pirates series, I mention superstitions often. Superstitions fascinate me. The oddity of these beliefs, how they originated, and the stories linked to them. And because superstition was so prevalent with sailors and pirates, naturally I incorporated bits of maritime myths in my books.

Like all sea dogs worth their salt, most of my characters are highly superstitious. One recurring belief tale after tale was that women on board were bad luck. By the antics and trouble that befall the crew time and again, I tend to agree.

In A Kiss in the Wind (shameless plug: release date March 26th!), there are several events surrounding superstition that has the crew all skittish and affright. One such event involves seagulls flying overhead while our fearless pirate captain comes upon a ghost ship. Seagulls and albatross were believed to carry the souls of dead sailors. Killing one of these birds was considered very bad luck. Stand down animal lovers, no birds were harmed in the making of Kiss. But these birds did fly above the masts in groups of three—a sure omen of death.


Some of the superstitions I slipped into the story but said nothing of the beliefs surrounding them. Flowers are considered unlucky to have on board as they could be used for a funeral wreath. Therefore, many sailors believed flowers on a ship also meant someone would die on the voyage. In Blood and Treasure, I deliberately used flowers as a representation and foreshadowing symbolism.

Here are a few fun lesser known beliefs:

  • No whistling on board – stirs up the wind bringing storms.
  • Naked women on board were considered lucky – as they shamed the seas into being calm (think figureheads) I know, this is a direct conflict to not having women on board. Pfftth–men.
  • Don’t set sail on Fridays – Christ was crucified on that day.
  • A shark following a ship was a death omen. (Na-na-na-na-na-na-ahhhh! Jaws!)
  • A bell ringing by itself surely meant someone was about to die. (Sheesh, choppy waters must be a bitch)
  • Wine poured on the deck would bring good luck. (Just think of all the poor sailors’ tongues with splinters in them.)
  • Rats leaving a ship meant the ship is doomed.
  • Black cats were considered good luck.
  • A silver coin placed under the masthead would ensure a good voyage. (Kind of like a bribe, I’d say.)
  • Avoid redheads.
  • An anchor tattoo will keep a man fallen overboard from drifting away from the ship.
  • Gold earrings keep a sailor from drowning; it also ensured payment across the River Styx. (Boy, sailors sure are into bribery.)
  • A baby boy born on a ship was good luck; it is suggested that a boy born on the gun deck is referred to as a “son of a gun”.
  • Never say pig – it’s bad luck and brings strong winds; it’s also bad luck to mention say rabbit, hare, or fox (the captain’s name in Blood And Treasure is Fox – tee hee)

    Red skies at night, sailor's delight; red skies at morn, sailor be warned

  • Don’t disrespect the sea – never throw a stone overboard.
  • Bananas were bad luck, having bananas on board caused ship to disappear.
  • A stolen piece of wood linked into the keel will cause the ship to sail faster. (Because no one wants to be caught stealing.)

There are loads more mariner superstitions. Can you name another?

Cover me! I’m going in!

January 25, 2012

Song of the day: The Way You Move by Since October

I’m a woman. I’m a writer. So it stands to reason that I am fickle and never quite satisfied. Shocking, I know.

Something has been burrowing in the back of my mind for some time now. It wasn’t until recently I decided to confront the gnawing little critter. My debut pirate romance Blood and Treasure has a couple of flaws. *gasp* The longer I tried to ignore it, the louder the flaws scratched, chattered, and hollered at me to fix them. I became obsessed by those damned errors. Now we authors know that no matter how polished and shiny our masterpieces are, we will find something we want desperately to change or improve. It’s the nature of the beast.

I could stand the incessant badgering no longer. The past couple of weeks, I poured over Blood and Treasure correcting wayward punctuation and banishing anachronistic words that somehow, either by oversight or blind eye, made it into the novel. The result? A breath of relief reviewers and readers didn’t find my faux pas—or found them serious enough to string me up by my toenails. Over dramatic and paranoid? Perhaps.

That’s not all. As much as I love my cover, I realized something very crucial. The cover need to be revamped. This became glaringly obvious once I saw the new cover for my latest pirate tale Beneath the Water’s Edge (forthcoming – I promise). These covers needed to match in tone, mood, setting, font, and heat level. Especially since they belong to the same series. As much as it hurt to let go of the current cover, it was imperative to move on. (I’ll miss you, Jimmy! Please don’t forget me. I’ll write every day! ) It’s marketing. And it makes sense.

The downside – all those print copies and trading cards sitting in my closet. I feel a sale coming on!

So what do you think? If you want to know who created the cover, check back for my next Link of the Week.


A Book Signing to Remember (despite the spinning room)

December 28, 2011

Song of the Day: She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5

A few weeks ago, before the madness of the holidays consumed me, I participated in my first ever official book signing. with romantic suspense authors Melissa Ohnoutka and Will Graham. It was a grand event held at Drew’s Pastry Place. A pastry shop you might ask.  Yes, we meet there, along with fellow MuseTracker, Stacey, every Friday. Drew’s support of our merry band affectionately dubbed The Usual Suspects is amazing and it only made sense to have our signing there.

Like relatives who cause you severe mental anguish by forcing upon you an endless slide show of their vacation to *insert boring, mind-draining destination here*, I am sharing my experience with you. And what a great turn-out we had! So many family, friends, and even a few fans came out to support us.

Let me begin with a reminder. You may remember from a previous blog post, Dressing the Part – Corsets, Torture, & Voyeuristic Pirates, that I intended to dress as a pirate wench for books signings and bought a corset. Investment, I said. After my dear hubby cinched me up and I was on my way to the signing, I learned a valuable lesson. Corsets and driving do not mix. Take a moment, if you will, close your eyes and visually imagine my distress –back straight as an arrow, boobs doing the steering, cursing each right light…

I digress.

For your viewing pleasure, I give you a pictorial of the book signing.

Quick! Take the blasted picture before I pass out! breathe...

The Authors in question. Melissa Ohnoutka, Will Graham, and yours truly.

The set-up. Each of us were given flowers, a lovely gift from a fellow writer. Thanks, Nancy!

It all felt surreal. I iz real author now.

Supportive friends!

Who's that behind Melissa? Best-selling author Christie Craig showing us the love.

Enjoying a rum ball. Yum!

The beautiful cake Drew whipped up for us.

We couldn't cut the cake without Drew. I won't mention why he was grinning so, but I will say it wasn't because we gushed about his creation.

The Usual Suspects. It was so wonderful to share the signing with such great friends.

I couldn’t have asked for a more spectacular book signing.  Despite the corset, I didn’t pass out from lack of oxygen and managed to stay quite coherent throughout. Once my boobs drove us home, I was so glad to have hubby un-harness me. But you know, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Unicorns, Profanity, and Sexist Pirates – The Bright Side of a Bad Review

September 21, 2011

Song of the Day: Cold by Crossfade

It was bound to happen sooner or later. It was only a matter of time.

Last week, I found that I had been pirated. I’m wondering if this means I’ve made the big time now that bootlegs of Blood And Treasure are  available? So, I Googled my name. That’s when I saw it.

My first unfavorable review. ACK!

Don’t get me wrong, I knew I’d have to face the inevitable. I’m not so disillusioned to think someone wouldn’t come along and burst my shiny bubble floating around my castle in the sky and scare off my herd of magical unicorns. Even the greats like King, Roberts, and Patterson get dissed. The nerve. Fact is, as this novel made its round in the contest circuit, judges either loved it or hated it. Rarely was there an in-between. It goes without saying the same would likely hold true with reviewers.

The voices in my head warned me not to click the link. But did I listen? Hell no. I had to know how Blood And Treasure fared, especially since this was a pretty well-known review site and I hadn’t sought out their service in the first place. (The review site will remain anonymous to protect the innocent.)

So what did the critic say?

The reviewer chose not to finish reading the book. Ouch! Someone call a medic. I’ve just been hit.

Okay, okay. So, it just wasn’t her cup of rum. Got it.

She went on to say that sexist comments caused her jaw to drop and left her

Stacey & I wondering WTF. You didn't know we look like celebrities, did you?

thinking WTF. I was having my own WTF moment reading this. Then she pulled an excerpt from the book to prove her point. It’s an internal thought by the pirate hero, Captain Zane Fox.

“Possessive, helpless, maniacal, devious, selfish, any one of these words could describe a woman. They could be tender in your embrace or calculating in your bed. And never to be trusted. […] And yet, Lianna was different.”

It dawned on me, albeit slowly, that she just did something for me. She quoted my book. Cool! Still, I was bummed. Maybe I’d take up drinking heavily. Oh wait…

Moving on. Upon closer inspection of her review, I realized it wasn’t so bad. She didn’t say the story sucked wind or that a second-grader has better grammar. In fact, it seemed she had nothing else to say about the book at all. Just that I’m sexist.

Jack Sparrow - Is he politically incorrect? Do you care if he is?

I do take exception to the name calling. Or rather, Captain Fox does. I did mention he is a pirate, right? A pirate! WTF? Whoever heard of a politically correct pirate? Aside from that, let’s not forget the time period. Newsflash. Unjust as it was, women were historically viewed as either manipulative creatures looking to trap a man in her snare, a vessel to brood children, or tarts to shag. Gasp! Did I just say that? Perceptions of women didn’t fully change until recent decades. (Here, give me a hand down from this soap box, will ya.)

All in all, I don’t think my first bad review was all that bad. She is certainly entitled to her opinion, and I completely respect her appraisal. I raise another cup of rum to her and thank her for the exposure.

Do you have a bad review you’d like to share? How about a WTF contest comment? I’d love to hear from you.

Blood & Treasure

May 18, 2011

Song of the Day: Celebration by Kool & the Gang

Since the inception of this blog, I’ve been giving my unique thoughts, tips, and advice on writing. I’ve also bared my soul as I trek down the road to publication. Documenting my journey, I’ve rejoiced, bemoaned, reflected and cracked a few jokes along the way.

Some months back, I came to a crossroads of sorts. Do I continue to pursue my dreams of being traditionally published? After all, I’ve generated pretty good interest in the industry with my stories, winning a few contests to boot. Or do I want to get off this path weaving through an endless, if not frustrating, labyrinth and self-publish? Weighing the two avenues is the subject of so many blogs and debates. Ultimately, it is a personal decision.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a control freak. (I hear some of you snickering.) Being in control of my career just makes sense. I’ve done my time and I’ve done my research.

And so, with my face to the sun and a spring in my step, I took the self-publishing road. There is still uncertainty ahead, but I am sure of foot and confident in my travels.

Without further ado, I give you BLOOD AND TREASURE, book #1 in the Romancing The Pirate Series.

Available now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Thank you to all the MuseTrackers out there who have supported me.