Luck-and-Charms-Axl

I’m totally grateful to offer this Luck and Charms Hashtag post from Axl Goode, author of Primal Desire from Ellora’s Cave Publishing. Axl is greatly loved and often perved over from his notoriety as an Ellora’s Cave model and Exotic Dancer from Dallas, Texas. I really liked his novel and I have wanted to promote it for sometime but I haven’t had time to do a review on it yet. In lieu of the book critique I asked him to do a Hashtag and he was happy to do so. Please read this personal tale from Axl! Un millon de gracias, mi hombre. (I don’t know why I’ve gone from talking in Japanese to Spanish; I live in San Diego though and I’ve been watching Telemundo so that might be the culprit. Languages via osmosis?)

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Luck and Charms

Writing this post is a bit cliché for me because although I do believe in luck and certainly try to practice charm when I can, I believe both are more quantifiable and controllable than most people believe. Let’s talk about luck first then I’ll try to tie that in with charm and how I use both with my characters in my book Primal Desire.

Have you ever been speeding down the road and you have to swerve to miss a car that pulled out in front of you? Wipe your forehead and say “Whew, lucky I missed that idiot!” Or maybe you dropped your phone and gave a sigh of relief when you picked it up and saw that the screen wasn’t shattered into a million pieces. Good luck right? On the flip side what if you hit the car, and what if your phone was shattered? Bad luck?

It could be a little of both, or maybe it’s something else. People are always asking me about my life, how I live it, how I handle everything I do. Well I want to give a little glimpse into my model of action and how I create the luck and charm in my life. To do that I need to start with the antithesis to luck, which for me is responsibility.

When I was twenty years old I had a conversation with a world-renowned futures and commodities trader that changed my life. It was a cool night in Incline Village where I was visiting with my father and stopped in to say farewell to whom I’ll refer to as the Jademaster. He was sitting on his computer doing research on the market which meant reading the news. He uses a model based on trends in the market, which ultimately refers to mass psychology.

The previous day my father and I had a scary experience swimming in one of the alpine lakes around Lake Tahoe, and embarrassingly got helicoptered off an island we swam to. (Shaking my head. I can’t believe I’m telling this.) Entering the Jademaster’s office the conversation started off quickly.

“I’m glad to see you’re doing better than you were yesterday,” the Jademaster says.

“Yeah, that was pretty scary, guess I got lucky.” I can feel my face flushing recalling the event.

The Jademaster chuckles knowingly, almost in a condescending manner like he had just heard a child say something ignorant. He had.

“You really think it was luck that saved you?”

“I don’t know. How was I to know the water was freezing and once I made it to the island I wouldn’t be able to make it back? I guess it was lucky someone was around to call a ranger for us.” I’m a little taken aback at his approach.

“Once you got yourself in the situation, you took action to get yourself out of the situation but was that really luck or taking responsibility for the fact that you made a mistake? You realized what you had done and took action to remedy it, I wouldn’t say that’s luck.”

“I see your point, but it’s not really my fault for getting in the situation. I just wasn’t aware of how cold it would be or that I couldn’t breath near as well in the high altitude. They should have a sign or something warning people.”

“There you go using political terms to assess blame from yourself to something or someone else.”

“I don’t follow?”

The Jademaster turns in his chair slowly to face me, instead of the computer screen. There’s a glint to his eyes, as if he’s about to enjoy what follows.

“There is no such thing as blame or fault, only responsibility.”

I turned that over in my head for a moment pondering the implication. Nope, if someone shoots a gun recklessly and it hits me because of their lack of discretion they’re definitely to blame. I argue back.

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“I’m going to give you a powerful model to live your life by, okay?” I nod, waiting for him to continue. “There is no such thing as fault or blame. We’re inundated with that everyday, we see it on tv all the time. Some politician is blaming someone for something; someone always has to take the fall. It’s all to avoid a lack of responsibility. If you take responsibility for everything in your life then there is no blame or fault and if you live your life by that model you will be infinitely more successful.”

“Alright, so to clarify, if I’m driving down the road and a semi moves over on me, pushing me off the road and causing an accident, then that’s my responsibility?”

“Yes.” I’m a little aggravated. That’s not right. That truck driver made the mistake right? I’m not giving up easily.

“But it’s their fault, they moved over on me,” I say.

“There you go with the whole blame thing again. You managed to get yourself beside that semi and at the time when they moved over. If you hadn’t it never would have happened. Responsibility.” The Jademaster smiles, and I fire back.

“Okay, so if a meteor crashes through the atmosphere and into this house right now, then that’s my responsibility?”

“Yes. You managed to get yourself here, at this point in time and space. If you had taken appropriate action to inform yourself on the possibility of a meteor then you could have changed the situation.”

“But you can’t control everything. That’s completely out of my hands.” I’m trying not to get flustered but does he really expect me to believe what he’s saying. He continues knowingly.

“I never said that this model is correct. I never said that the truck driver shouldn’t take responsibility as well, but that’s not how our society works. We assess blame to make ourselves feel better. What I am telling you is this is the most powerful thinking model to get results. I’m not saying that is has anything to do with correctness, only that it gets results.” Okay so if it’s not correct, then what makes it right?

“So if I take responsibility for everything in my life, then I’ll get better results in everything?”

“Precisely,” he shoots back enthusiastically. “Responsibility could also be rephrased as the ability to respond. This is the model of thinking the most powerful people in the world use. It doesn’t mean that when something happens they don’t blame someone still, but it does mean that they’re less likely to have an outcome different from what they were wanting in the first place.”

“Hmmm. It still sounds a little weird to me.”

“What are you wanting from life? You can be normal or you can be exceptional. If you want to be exceptional then you need to live a life of action that is results oriented. You need to focus on the solution and take responsibility for everything. When you do that, you will then live a results oriented purpose-driven life, and you can’t help but get the outcomes you desire.”

“Hmmm. I’m going to have to think on this.”

The Jade Master gives a little knowing smile. Inception, that’s what he’s has just done to me and he knows it. Little did I know at the ripe age of twenty years old that he had just given me the most powerful model that I would come to live my life by. The conversation kept on for some time we discussed different models of action and approaches to life, but in the end I realized what he was saying was a hundred percent true.

As soon as I started implementing that model in my life I saw results, and let’s face it, that’s what we want in life, right? To give some examples, I was in college still and when I would take a test and other students would gripe about how material was on there that wasn’t covered, I didn’t. I studied harder, asked more questions, and my grades soared. Instead of blaming others for my problems I looked at them and asked myself how I could change them. I rode a sport bike at the time, and I can’t tell you how many wrecks I avoided by using that model. It wasn’t luck that saved me, it was taking responsibility.

Now when something doesn’t go the way I want, I step back from the situation and ask myself how I could have changed my action to get the appropriate response I desired. By doing this, I’m able to live an exceptional life and have more experiences than I could have ever imagined. I’m a full time dancer, a romance novel cover model, an aerialist, an author, and have countless other hobbies. I juggle more than I thought I’d ever be able to handle, and it’s only because of that method.

To bring this full circle, I now try to improve my “luck” in life by taking responsibility and attempting to put myself in situations where I can have only “good luck.” It doesn’t mean that I don’t still have plenty of problems—I do. However, I know plenty of people that consistently say, “I have such bad luck in life,” and they proceed to list off problems that could easily have been avoided. I’m victim to this myself, and I wish I were better. It’s an extremely hard model to live by but also extraordinarily effective.

No one enjoys admitting that they made a mistake or took inappropriate action, and no one is perfect but by being honest with yourself, you can live your life in a manner that allows you to bring yourself more good luck than bad.

So how does this tie in with charm? Well what is charm exactly? Is it a lopsided smile, or a friendly tone? Perhaps prolonged eye contact? I’d say it’s all of the above, and honestly charm is something I think everyone has a little bit of in their own way. If I’m taking responsibility for how I come across to others, and want to improve my luck then I certainly realize that charm is something I need. It’s helped many a person go far in life even when they lacked skills in other areas. Simply speaking it’s pleasant to be around someone charming. I could try to break down what it is, but it’s different for every person.

Charm isn’t tangible and is relative to who you are. There are some universal truths but for the most part it’s adapted to the environment of the audience. The great thing about charm though is that it can be learned and molded. Some people are naturals and others are even better and excel at it because they change their charm to fit their environment. I certainly know a little charm has helped me get lucky a time or two (chuckles to self).

I’m an idealist but also a realist. When I write, I like to write characters that are real, but also have idealistic traits that inspire people to be better than who they are.

In my book Primal Desire I wanted characters that were charming and heroic but also had to work through personal issues I think most people can relate to. Bad things happen to good people, and sometimes there is no way to avoid it but how someone handles a problem is where the story is at for me. That’s exactly what Primal Desire is about. It’s a mystery erotic romance that also has a solid plot with characters using a little luck, and a little charm to work through a bad situation. Oh and yes, there’s plenty of steamy sex along the way ;-).

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Primal Desire Synopsis:

Money manager Brenley has always dated intelligent and stimulating guys who could keep up with her both mentally and in the bedroom. She’s the best in her field and she owes that to her keen insight and understanding of people. That’s why when she meets playboy actor Zane Anthony she knows instantly he’s not worth her time. There’s more to Zane than meets the eye. He’s wealthy, intelligent and completely enthralled with the aloof blonde who seems to cut him down with her every glance. Fueled by a need he doesn’t quite understand, he’s determined to get over her walls and under the sexy suits she wears that drive him crazy. Brenley doesn’t know if she can trust Zane or the electric chemistry that sizzles between them. But when she finds herself in hot water with powerful enemies, she realizes he could be her only ally.

A Romantica(r) contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave.

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Primal Desire Excerpt:

Zane drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and forced himself to focus on the road instead of the throbbing erection in his pants. The mere thought of Brenley Myers drove him crazy and he didn’t know why. He contemplated his motives for having an interest in the girl at the bank. It could be a number of things, yet Zane couldn’t pinpoint precisely what made her so irresistible. He wasn’t particularly fond of women in suits but something about the way her slender body fit into one set him on fire.

There was more to it though. She’d seen him at the bank plenty of times yet always brushed past him like he didn’t exist. He never even had the chance to speak to her, which only compounded his desire. Unfortunately it also frustrated him to death. Tightening his fist around the gear shift, he made a sudden right turn. Today was the day he would confront his desire.

Zane strolled confidently into Bank of Dallas. He’d banked there for years and loved the personal care and small-town feel it offered. Inside the bank, tellers stood attentively behind counters and financial adviser’s desks scattered the open-concept first floor. The air was cool with a crisp feel to it from the air-conditioning.

He liked the layout and being familiar with both who and where everyone was. He was somewhat of a local celebrity to most of the staff here. He even brought donuts or gift baskets for people’s birthdays because he enjoyed being friendly. Though the main reason he came was to see the girl on the second floor. Despite his efforts, there was hardly ever any reaction or acknowledgment of him from her.

Brenley Myers always sat in her office on the second floor, looking busy. On several occasions, he had caught her glancing down through the open glass at him. She looked young, especially to have such a prestigious position in the bank. Not to mention the attitude she has, he thought.

Zane had subtly started to inquire about her, trying to mask his deep desire to know more of who she was and what she did that made her so important. Naturally he played the role of an innocent guy who knew nothing about banking. It wasn’t a hard role to play, even if it was completely untrue.

Zane had been modeling for years. Although he could’ve gone to model in New York or Los Angeles, he was satisfied to stay in Dallas. He had been featured in numerous commercials, high-profile print ads and magazines. He supposed it helped that he possessed a look not many did, being six foot four with shoulder-length dark brown hair and chiseled features. He received plenty of attention from women and loved every bit of it. However, it always perturbed him the way Brenley looked down from her office like she was too good for him. Today he had come to remedy that.

Zane exchanged a few casual greetings as he made his way to the teller’s counter to make a deposit in his account. Afterwards, he went over to Jennifer’s desk. He thought of her as his personal handler at the bank. She took care of all his needs. She was a nice girl with fair skin and a warm personality.

If she weren’t married I could be interested in her. Still, he enjoyed flirting with her when he came in. Not to mention he loved seeing the way her cheeks turned red when she blushed.

“Good morning.” He greeted her and sat in one of her chairs.

“Good morning to you too, Zane,” she replied with a broad smile.

“How has business been for you lately, sweetie?” She always blushed a little when he used a term of endearment. He gave a little smile when he saw it, also noticing the sparkle in her eyes. He loved making people happy.

“Oh, you know, it’s always the same around here. Just work as usual. How about you, darlin’?” she replied with what Zane had always thought was such a sweet- sounding Southern accent.

“Same here. Just doing what I do, trying to make ends meets.” He tried to take a humble approach with people, always playing down any sort of wealth he might have. “I was looking at my savings the other day and thought I should start trying to invest some of it. The problem is, I don’t know very much about that sort of thing. I understand everyone speaks very highly of Brenley Myers. Do you think there is any way I could speak with her about putting something together for me?” He saw her mood darken briefly before her cheerfulness came right back.

“Well, she can be a little difficult to deal with sometimes. You might have better luck talking with me or one of our financial advisers. There is no doubt she gets really good returns, though. Also, she only deals with larger clients, so you would need a fairly sizable amount to invest. I don’t know her exact numbers but I would estimate you would need at least a hundred thousand.”

Zane unintentionally tapped his foot with impatience. He thought it was higher than that but decided to play along.

Giving a low whistle, he responded, “That sounds pretty intense. Well, I’m not sure I have the capital on hand to handle that but I would like to at least meet her to check things over.” Leaning in towards Jennifer’s desk, he lowered his voice for dramatic effect. “Did you know that out of all the times I’ve been in this bank, she has never said a word to me? It would be nice to finally meet her, plus maybe she will like me enough to help.” He flashed his disarming smile that always did the trick for him.

“I guess it can’t hurt to see,” she replied. “I don’t think she usually sees people without an appointment but you’re practically part of the family here. I’ll be right back.”

Smiling to himself, elation shot through his insides. I can’t believe I’m finally doing this! Eyeing Jennifer out of habit as she walked away, he watched the way her hips swayed temptingly. Mhmm. That doesn’t hurt my feelings. Somehow she did nothing for him though.

He started thinking about Brenley, then quickly realized he needed to stop before he had to walk upstairs with a hard-on. He wasn’t sure what to expect but he had never liked people who looked down on him. Normally he wouldn’t even give them the time of day but something about her nagged at him. He shifted in his seat, attempting to think about something else before Jennifer returned.

Brenley always appeared to be wearing the same black business suit with her blonde hair hanging down past her shoulders. They had made eye contact on several occasions when she passed him on some errand or another. He thought that might be what intrigued him—how she looked at him.

She gave him an openly condescending stare, which clearly conveyed the opinion that she was better than him. She did a marvelous job of hiding the rest of her emotions, though. Only her eyes revealed the well of emotions hiding behind whatever steel wall she had erected to hold them back. The rest of her body language was polite and professional. How intriguing.

He wanted to meet Brenley to show her he was actually a decent person. If she only took a moment to speak with him like an adult, she would see there was no reason for the walls she had erected against him. Then he could hopefully get over these feelings he kept having for her.

People often judged him as being unintelligent and overly conceited because of his looks. That never really bothered him—until now that is. He couldn’t explain why he cared but he did. Something about her made him want to prove himself, to show her that he was a better man than she thought. Incidentally, that same enticing something kept entering his thoughts during masturbation and he was finding it impossible to ignore her any longer.

Jennifer walked back to him, looking a little irritated and flustered but put on a smile before she made it back to her desk.

“Sorry that took so long. Brenley said she has a meeting in a little while but will be happy to see you for a few minutes. Why don’t you let me walk you up there?”

He put on his dazzling smile. “Absolutely. Thank you for helping me.”

As they walked into Brenley’s office, she rose from behind her desk and walked around to greet him. Even though she smiled on the outside, there was a look of disinterest in her eyes. Jennifer quickly introduced them then left the room. He looked around the office as she walked back to the desk—her position of power. The desk was sparse, with only a computer and an extra monitor on it. To the side there was a bookshelf filled with financial books of all sorts.

How odd. She doesn’t have any pictures in her office. That’s definitely different.

Brenley sat with a quizzical look on her face as Zane surveyed the room. Taking all the surrounding details in, he then turned his attention to her. Damn. Where do I go from here? Most women treated him warmly, melting to his charm. However, he didn’t perceive any warmth radiating from this woman. She looked younger than he had thought before. He guessed she was no older than twenty-seven or twenty-eight.

How she had managed to rise so high, so fast was a mystery to him. She left no doubt about her thoughts as her eyes narrowed pointedly with an attitude of superiority. He thought it would be best to see if he could break her countenance a little, to show her he was actually a nice person.

He started with his best smile. “How are—”

“Let’s not waste time with formalities. I’m a very busy person.” Without giving him a chance to respond she continued. “I understand you are looking to invest your money. The bank offers several options for private investors. Each option has varying degrees of security and risk, which usually defines the rate of return. Unless you have a large sum of money it’s usually better to stick with the safer options which are handled by the financial advisers downstairs.”

Right to business.

She had totally blown him off without even showing him basic courtesy. There was no way she treated other people like this. Popping his knuckles one by one, he tried to vent some of his frustration. The only emotion she seemed capable of showing him was disdain. He decided to take a different approach.

“So what is it you do that’s different from the financial advisers downstairs?”

“I’m a money manager. That means I personally invest money for my clients. The financial advisers downstairs help people decide how they want to invest and for which options. On the other hand, I take your money and invest it how I see fit. Then you get the return, minus the percentage the bank and I receive.” She stirred in her seat like she was uncomfortable, then stilled after brushing her hair behind her ear. “I doubt I will be of any help to you but seeing as you’re quite popular here, I thought it was only proper to explain the difference to you in person.”

She’s full of herself. Why am I even here? To be talked to like a child?

He was beyond frustrated with this woman. She had the audacity to completely write him off without knowing anything about him. Even though he was highly irritated, he always preferred to play it cool. Resisting the urge to grind his teeth, he continued.

“That sounds very interesting. Why do you think you wouldn’t be any help to me, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“For me to accept any new clients, they have to be willing to invest a quarter of a million dollars and let me control their money. They get quarterly statements and that’s it. They aren’t allowed to hassle me or try to pull out anytime they want. I just don’t think you seem like that type of person.”

This is fucking bullshit. I drive over here on the spur of the moment because I can’t take my mind off this girl. Now that I’m here, I can’t even think of what to say. None of my usual tricks work and why the hell do I have a full hard-on? God, the way she looks in that suit makes me keep picturing what kind of lingerie she’s wearing underneath. There must be something wrong with me. I just need to play it cool and win her over to team Zane so I can quit thinking about the way she treats me differently. Smoothness is the key, don’t let her get to you.

“What type of person do I seem like to you then?” he replied, losing his composure just a little.

“No offense, Mr. Anthony—”

“Zane. Please.”

“No offense, Zane, but my clients are very rich and powerful people. I’ve seen you in here and on your commercials and I’m sure you’re a wonderful guy,” she said with a bit of sarcasm, “but this is business and I think I would’ve heard if you had the kind of capital needed to invest with me.”

Seriously! Who does she think she is? Just ’cause I’m wearing jeans and a T-shirt and don’t keep large sums of money in my account here, she thinks I’m not good enough.

“Why do you treat me differently than other people?” he asked, agitation seeping into his voice.

A little flustered at the question, she responded, “I most definitely do not treat you any differently than anyone else. I’m only trying to do my job.”

“You have never once greeted me when I’ve seen you introduce yourself to others in this bank. Why is that?”

“I have never had any reason to introduce myself.”

“It would seem polite to at least, but I guess your courtesy doesn’t extend that far. Do you have something against me?” Her face flushed at the accusation.

“Absolutely not. Why are you asking all this? Do you feel neglected because I haven’t flirted with you like every other woman in here?” she asked in a heated tone.

“Maybe. Or maybe I saw how you look at me in that condescending manner and finally decided to come up here and see if I could change that. Clearly that is not the case.” He stood, openly displaying his frustration. “You’re not better than anyone just because you sit behind a glass window and wear a suit, you know.”

“I never said I was better. You just think because you’re a model and can charm people that you should get special treatment. I’ve worked for everything I’ve gotten and nobody has helped me along the way. I think I should get the respect I’ve actually earned.”

Shit. Well this is an epic fail. Talk about a crash and burn. Time to defuse the situation before it gets worse.

“I’m sorry I came up here. Clearly I should go to someone else with my investing needs,” he conveyed with a tone of sincerity.

“Jennifer is a very resourceful person. I’m sure she can take good care of you. Now, I have a meeting to attend and I need to finish preparing my notes.”

Walking back downstairs Zane composed himself and waved goodbye to Jennifer as he departed. Climbing into his dark blue Camaro he thought that the situation had gone totally wrong. He rarely got frustrated but now he was almost livid. Brenley didn’t know him at all or anything he had been through, yet she assumed because of his outward appearance that he was different from who he really was.

Why did he even care what she thought? He had a life most could only dream of. He had plenty of women and got to travel around and do photo shoots or filming. He enjoyed the work but also enjoyed the attention he got from it. He was well-known in the Dallas scene, respected even. Of course that meant he had plenty of people who didn’t like him too. So why did he care if some girl at a bank accepted him?

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Meet Axl Goode:

Axl Goode is an author, and a romance novel cover model, as well as a Caveman for Ellora’s Cave Publishing. He dances at LaBare in Dallas, Texas. He is currently working on his next novel, and is planning a sequel to Primal Desire. If you would like to follow him on social media the links are provided below.

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Axl Goode’s Web Tracks:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon Author PageEllora’s Cave Profile

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Axl Goode on All The Things Inbetween:

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Reader, writer, gamer, nerd, and kpop lover; Ms. Ali Cat lives deep in her own imagination within the grand city limits of San Diego, CA. A proponent of afternoon naps, kitten cuddles, and hashtags, she will be voting: #COFFEFFORPOSITIVECHANGE in the next presidential election.
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