Change and New Identities….: A Guest Post by M. O’Keefe

I’ve written 26 books and novellas as Molly O’Keefe. I moved through three different Harlequin lines  and into single-title romance with Bantam writing under that name.

Fun fact:  It’s not my name and it’s not even one I picked. My first editor at Harlequin proposed it because my real name and every other one I suggested didn’t seem to fit the romantic comedy line I was writing for. (I had been pushing hard for Sarah Bell…when I was a kid dreaming of being a writer, that’s the name I wanted.)

In a nutshell – my name and Sarah Bell didn’t say the right thing.

And now Molly O’Keefe doesn’t say the right thing anymore.  So, I’ve introduced M. O’Keefe. Which doesn’t seem like that much of a change, but somehow it says all the right things for the new direction I’ve taken with the Everything I Left Unsaid series with Bantam.

So, what’s different?

Everything I Left Unsaid and The Truth About Him are more erotic than the Molly O’Keefe books. And Burn Down The Night – is the hottest of all of them.  In Burn Down The Night, Joan has kidnapped dangerous MC President Max and has him chained to a bed in a deserted Florida condo. She’s trying to convince him to help her save her sister – but Max is only interested in revenge against the men who tried to kill him.
So, while in theory Joan has all the power, she’s the one doing every dark and depraved thing he asks of her – all without ever touching.

It’s a pretty awesome power struggle if I do say so myself.

And while not strictly New Adult, all the books certainly have that “she’s coming into her own” vibe as well as a suspense-y tone.   The books are grittier and darker than what I’ve written in the past. I also decided to it in first person.

All of this seems miles away from the short, light, romantic comedies I started my career with.

It’s all very exciting and in so many ways liberating. As I continue to write as M. O’Keefe I find myself following darker story lines. Plots I might have flinched away from I now rush towards. Using sex as a tool to tell women’s stories is endlessly fascinating.

I quite like this M. O’Keefe author and I really hope you do too.


Wanna know more? Here’s an excerpt from Burn Down the Night.



I wasn’t watching him sleep. I was thinking. I was formulating a plan. An argument that would sway him, that would make him see things my way.

The tiny, white bikini I wore was a visual aid.

Because if there were any breaks I caught in this life, they were a rocking metabolism and Aunt Fern’s rack. I made this cheap, white bikini look better than it should.

Sitting on the dresser, I licked yogurt from a spoon and tried to think of what was going to really sway a guy like Max. What was going to make him give up on revenge and instead help me get my sister free.

He was sprawled across the bed, the sheets pulled up to his waist with his injured leg kicked out. Every once in a while he jerked, like the dream he was having had teeth, and the handcuffs rattled against the bed.

This was kidnapping.

I could add that to the list of shit I never thought I’d do.

Finally he stirred in earnest and I held my breath. Trying not be nervous. Trying not to show him that I was scared. Max was a wild animal and if he sensed fear he’d come after me.

He lifted his head off the mattress, his black hair, wild around his head. That spot on his scalp with the stitches was so pink and wounded. Tender. The only soft thing about him. The rest of him, his chest and arms, was rawhide and muscle and grit  covered with bright tattoos. And technicolor bruises.

Max was whittled down to the bone. No excess. I recognized it because I felt exactly the same way. Like there was nothing to feed me.

If we weren’t in this stupid situation, we might have been friends. Lovers for as long as we could make it work because we were the same kind of people. The same sort of wild and alone.

“Joan?” His voice was rough and deep. He lifted his hands to rub his eyes but the handcuffs stopped him.

“Morning, Max.” I licked my spoon. “How are you feeling?”

“I’d feel a whole let better if you let me go.”

“Not going to happen.”

He lifted his free arm. Stretched. Made a fist out of his hand and then relaxed it. “What’s your end game here, Joan? You’re going to keep me locked up here forever?”

“Only until you give up on this revenge idea.” And agree to my plan.

“Not going to happen,” he parroted my words back at me.

“How’s the head?” I asked.



He shifted in the bed and only barely winced. “Better.”

Good. This was . . . good.

“You think you could eat some soup without spilling it all over yourself?”

“I think I could teach you a lesson about having a smart mouth.”

I hummed in my throat as if disappointed in him and then dug up another spoonful of yogurt and put it in my mouth. He watched every motion. My tongue. My hands. He missed nothing.

And maybe it was because he was imagining what it would be like to kill me.

But I preferred to think he was wondering what it would be like to fuck me.

It was a long shot considering his injury, the fever, his being handcuffed to the bed. But I was banking on him being a dude.

And the white bikini. I was banking on the white bikini pretty hard.

“What are you doing?”

I shrugged.

He lifted his eyebrows at me and slowly pushed himself up farther up the bed. He leaned against the cast-iron headboard, exposing all of his skin, which was covered in dark tattoos. He looked like some kind of leopard. Some sleek animal that if unchained would tear me apart.

He would tear me apart.

And I could not wait.

Burn Down the Night is available on August 9th from Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.




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Haley Kral
Haley Kral
08/03/2016 1:38 pm

I think this is interesting because I was recently looking into the pseudonym issue. Did you feel like you had to use one? I worry I would be sad to never see my real name on a book I spent countless hours creating, but it seems so common in the romance genre.

Molly O'Keefe
Molly O'Keefe
07/27/2016 5:21 pm

Caroline Russomanno!! Thanks so much for the comment!! I’m so glad you liked the books by Molly O’Keefe and M. O’Keefe – I’m glad you can see a difference too. I sometimes get a little hazy with the difference as I’m writing…

Caroline Russomanno
Caroline Russomanno
Reply to  Molly O'Keefe
07/27/2016 9:36 pm

I read M. O’Keefe as more strongly internal as far as the character’s perspectives. The ratio of action to inner life/reaction is more strongly to the latter, if that makes sense. Which I appreciate very much, since these books are also more explicit, and erotic books desperately need inner perspective. Character inner life is largely what distinguishes porn from erotica for me.

Molly O'Keefe
Molly O'Keefe
07/27/2016 5:20 pm

Thank you so much e.b. whitman! I have often let me own children watch just one more episode of whatever the hell it is they’re watching just so I can read one more chapter – old timey and all!!!

Caroline Russomanno
Caroline Russomanno
07/27/2016 12:32 pm

I loved your M. O’Keefe short story in The Devil’s Doorbell anthology and DIK’d it here: https://allaboutromance.com/book-review/the-devils-doorbell-an-erotic-anthology/

I immediately went after your backlist and yes, I definitely see the difference between M. O’Keefe and Molly O’Keefe. I liked the Molly O’Keefe contemp fiction – interesting and intelligent characters with some grit, and stories which remind me of SEP or Julie James. But I love the M. O’Keefe. I am very excited to see more from that identity.

Em Wittmann
Em Wittmann
07/27/2016 11:20 am

Since I can’t edit my post –
1. I know the book is Everything I Left Unsaid – not what’s up ahead. duh.
2. I’m not Irish or old timey – I meant to say …the decision to let my children watch…

Em Wittmann
Em Wittmann
07/27/2016 11:16 am

… I quite like this M. O’Keefe author and I really hope you do too.

I love her!

I finished Everything I Left Unsaid at about 2 am last night and picked up The Truth About Him this morning. I think both books are terrific & I can’t wait for Burn Down the Night. I’m not big into MC stories (I haven’t read any – so by not big, I really mean I know nothing about them) but you’ve piqued my curiosity. Might be willing to try another one! I’m struggling with the decision to let me children watch ‘just one more’ episode of The Amazing World of Gumball (don’t judge me) – when really, I just want to say yes so I don’t have to put my book down.

When I reviewed your novella Redeemed, for the Gambled Away anthology, it was the first time I read any of your stories. As you may know, was my favorite. I enjoyed it so much I had every intention of reading Seduced and Tempted right away but I got distracted by some of the other books I’ve been reading for AAR. Imagine my surprise when I saw Everything I Left Ahead & The Truth About Him at the library yesterday! And then saw that Burn Down the Night was just around the corner. I’m so glad I decided to check them out & was rewarded with such an intense romance.

Best of luck as M. O’Keefe; I think your writing is terrific using either name!

Molly O'Keefe
Molly O'Keefe
07/27/2016 10:34 am

hey Dabney!!! Thank you for having me today!! No – I’m not done as Molly O’Keefe. I write historical western romance under that name and I have some re-releases of some old Harlequin Duets hopefully coming out this year!!