MARCH

AUTHORS’ FAVORITE

1ST MEET or 1ST KISS

03/28 – Delsora Lowe, 03/30 – Lindsey Shillard

Monday, March 30, 2020

First kiss and yoga


Hey hey everyone! 

Thanks for stopping by for my first kiss post. I'm excited that I get to be 2x this month.
A 1st kiss is sort of a fairy tale moment...


Have you every wanted something? I mean really really wanted something? Then you get it and your disappointed? Well, Aislynn is in that boat. She’s spent centuries watching humans and is intrigued by us – especially our emotions. When she’s granted a week to become human, she’s all about that.

However, she's about to learn not all first are great. Sort of like when I went to a yoga class. I’m so jealous of the flexibility people who do yoga have. And I own a lot – I mean A LOT – of yoga pants so I decided I should give it a shot. I mean – peace, flexibility, and 45 minutes grandchild free. How could this NOT be amazing???

Well, first of I knew none of the positions. So, I was always looking at the person next to me until it sort of started to get creepy. I mean you twist yourself into some explicit positions and then to have someone staring at you. Well, it gets awkward. Minutes into the class, I started planning murders using yoga positions. What can I say people die in every book I write (except my sweet Christmas novella).

So sadly me and hubby will never get this first kiss ;-)


Aislynn wanted to experience all the things and she just KNEW they would be great. Well....this is Aislynn’s first kiss….

"Huh." She pulled back.  "I thought a kiss would spark more reaction than a bruise." Disappointment filled her face causing her brows to knit together. "Maybe it's you. Do woman usually feel emotions when they kiss you? Do kisses only work with certain males? Should we try it again?"

Finley drew in a shaky breath, too bad such a sexy woman and totally crazy. He knew of no law forbidding the kissing of a mentally instable person but on the humanity scale it was well below slimy. "Let me contact the police for you."  He placed his hands on her shoulders and with regret pushed her back creating a space between them.

"Why?" She shook her head. "I have no need for your law enforcement. I'm not so dissatisfied with your kiss I wish to see you placed in jail." Standing, she smiled. "Good bye. Thank you for sharing pain with me and a awful kiss." 

Where I haven’t tried yoga again, Aislynn does goes on to experience human emotions (and does find a good kisser).

What was your first kiss experience? Did you feel would be amazing to only have it fall short of your expectations?



Blurb:
Aislynn is a mermaid who has watched humans from afar for thousands of years.  A negotiator for Neptune, she wonders, what it would be like to feel anything but especially passion the way humans do when they have sex. The truth is mermaids can't feel emotions of any kind and hot sex is one of those experiences she wishes for.  When the opportunity to become a human - temporarily - presents itself, she takes it.
Finley McCormock is a hard-core, tough as nails divorce attorney who represents rich women leaving their husbands. He has no time to do pro-bono environmental work like his colleagues or to fall in love himself. Why bother? He knows how marriages end.  But, his new housekeeper, as odd as she is, gives him a hard on he has to take care of.  The good news is Aislynn seems more than happy to oblige. She is his sexual fantasy come true, from the mid-day office visit that includes a spanking session to the trip to Trinker's Sex Toys. Aislynn is willing to try anything.
But, when Aislynn's past catches up with her, Finley will have to decide if his attraction for Aislynn goes further than the surface of the water. Does he really want to get in deep with his mermaid?

Ebook: A Mermaid's Wish

See everyone in a few weeks!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Celebrating the First Meet for Carter and Lynette ... by Delsora Lowe



I am not a plotter. As I sat down to write Carter’s story, I really had to think about the kind of woman who would be the most likely to NOT be his type. I already knew a lot about Carter, as he is the brother of Carla, the heroine in The Prince’s Son, book one of the Cowboys of Mineral Springs series. Carter has a prominent role as a secondary character in book one.
Truthfully, I can’t explain how my mind works. Or how the image of Lynette Mercer popped into my head. I think the scene idea came first, placing Carter in an awkward position as the oldest, serious brother in a ranching family, who was tasked to do something totally out of his comfort zone. It is in this scene that Carter meets the woman who is different than his usual date and not what he envisioned as his perfect wife. He deems her totally wrong for him. Of course, now he can’t get her out of his mind.

I hope you enjoy finding Carter, the ultimate, serious rancher, being thrown into a world so feminine he’s a nervous wreck. And then to meet an angel so far out of the realm of his dreams of a perfect mate, well…read on.

Wanted: A Suitable Wife

Workaholic cowboy needs hardy woman to manage household and motley family.
“Girly” widows, with small children, who sell naughty lingerie need not apply.

 EXCERPT 
The Rancher Needs a Wife

First Meet

“Damn.” Carter Peters' heart slammed in his chest. He removed his Stetson and shoved his fingers through his hair. What did he think? Lacy and frilly things would jump out and tangle around him the second he stepped foot inside. Yet, he stood rooted to the sidewalk in front of the Pink Petunia and muttered another curse. Then looked up and down the street to make sure no one in town saw him.

He straightened. He could do this. Didn’t mean he couldn’t curse out his entire family while he did.

Why did he always end up drawing the short straw? What did he know about women’s lingerie? He should’ve insisted his sister come with him. But when he suggested it, Carla laughed. “On your own, buddy.”

At least his brothers could have helped. Or his middle brother’s wife. or his other brother’s on-again off-again girlfriend. Any of them could have done the birthday shopping. Jeez, even his youngest brother’s talent for picking out gifts for women beat his. But no, they all refused.

And why did they insist the gift be lingerie?

He tried to remember the order of the family deliberations. Of course, he’d had his head bent over a pile of bills when his three brothers and sister invaded the ranch office for the family meeting. Keeping track of their conversation hadn’t been a high priority. That is until he pulled the shortest straw and found out the duty of buying something frilly for his stepmother’s sixtieth birthday fell to him.

He had pulled his head out of the pile of paperwork and shoved his chair back to stand and argue, only to see his sister’s grin, wide and mimicking the evil Cheshire cat—the same grin she tormented him with their entire childhood. They were adults now. He vowed at the next family meeting to change the rules from drawing straws to reaching consensus.

Double damn. He’d lose either way.

He stared at the storefront.

Lingerie. And for his stepmother, no less. He was going to kill Carla and his brothers.

Every time he thought about lace and silk and satin, all he could think about was the scanty kind he liked to see on a woman. A shudder ripped through him. Not going there.

That jolted him back to the present dilemma.

Growling another damn, he internalized the rest of the litany of curse words buzzing through his head. He’d rot in hell before he bought his stepmother night clothes resembling anything one of his dates might wear. Not that he had many lately, but none of these dates ended with the showing of sexy underclothing.

Carter looked down either side of Silver Street’s sidewalks once more, thankfully quiet for an early August morning. He shoved against the shop door. The last thing he needed was to get caught walking in or out of the Pink Petunia.

And who in the blazin’ saddles would name a shop Pink Petunia?

Tiny panties, lacy bras, and silky nighties in pinks, purple, and other girlie colors spread out around him. In the middle sat an entire display of see-through black things—whatever they were called.

Totally out of your element here, buddy.

He’d bet his favorite stallion that Carla and his sister-in-law were behind the insane idea of lingerie. Why would a sixty-year old woman, especially Madge, want anything this frilly…or pink?

Gripping his Stetson, his fingers beat a nervous path around the rim. Other than soft music, silence cloaked the place.

Did anyone work here?

“Are you looking for anything in particular?”

Simple words uttered in the voice of an angel. Words that meant the cavalry had arrived. The cavalry that clearly had not grown up around here—not with that deep southern accent.

His gaze skimmed the beautiful and put-together woman. He was so out of his element. He, a ranch boy through and through. She, citified and sophisticated.

Carter turned away. His cheeks burned as he repeatedly tapped his Stetson against his leg, and scanned the shelves and racks in another section of the tidy and compact store. “Thank you, ma’am. Truth is I’m not sure what I’m after.”

“Maybe I can help? Can you describe your wife—how tall, weight? You know, so I can figure out her size.”

Wife?

He shook his head, a knot forming in his belly. He didn’t belong here. Maybe Hal down at the feed store would know what he should ask for—he was married, and his wife’s figure was about like Madge’s. Before he headed back to the ranch, he had feed to fetch and lumber to load. Then he could call up and order something.

Get his ass out of this frilly, feminine hellhole.

Carter glanced toward the door and tried to think of an escape line. But when he looked back into violet eyes, his tongue wound round like spooled fencing wire.

Her hand landed warm on his forearm, reminding him of why he stood in this shop filled with frilly feminine apparel. “Do you know her size?”

“My stepmother?”

She smiled. “Oh, your stepmother.”

The tug on his arm compelled him deeper into unknown territory. Cattle herds he understood. Lingerie? Surrounded by acres of the stuff—no.

He straightened. Get your act together, cowboy. “I’m picking up a birthday present.”

Her smile widened, reaching all the way to those miraculous eyes. “Not a wife, then.” Tiny specks of sunshine danced among the violet in her eyes. “Tell me about your mom, ah, step-mom.”

 AUTHOR BIO

~ cottages to cabins ~ keep the home fires burning ~

Delsora Lowe writes small town sweet romances and contemporary westerns from the mountains of Colorado to the shores of Maine.

Author of the Starlight Grille series, Serenity Harbor Maine novellas, and the Cowboys of Mineral Springs series, Lowe has also authored short romances for Woman’s World magazine.

 


 


https://www.amazon.com/Rancher-Needs-Cowboys-Mineral-Springs-ebook/dp/B07YXB5C4W/









Friday, March 27, 2020

My Favorite "First" came a little later in life than expected! by Peggy Jaeger

So, this month's topic is Favorite Firsts. I had so many things swirl around in my head, that deciding on what to write about was a bit more difficult than usual.
Should I tell you about my first love? First memory? First apartment? First job?
See? Lot's of things to talk about, but I decided that since this is -- at its essence -- a writing blog, I would tell you my absolute favorite first - my first published book!

I came a little late to the world of published book authors. I was 55 when my very first novel - a romance - was published. I could have self published years earlier, but didn't want to. I grew up with the cache of what being a traditionally published author meant and I wanted my very first foray into the publishing world to be with the backup of a known publisher.

You may think that the reason this is my favorite first is because it finally got me in front of the the reading world. Well, that isn't really the reason. I'd been a successful non-fiction writer for years, with many credits in Nursing journals and newspapers/magazines devoted to parenting topics, child care, and nursing/health issues. I'd also had a stream of good luck with fiction short story publications in Literary magazines and anthologies.

No, the reason this is my favorite first is because it came about in Cinderella fashion ( which also happens to be my favorite fairytale, so double SCORE!)

In 2013 I decided to enter a romance writing contest I found listed in a writing magazine. I submitted the required 3 chapters of a story I'd written while in the throes of menopause induced insomnia. Long story short - I won my division - contemporary romance category. Yay.


I thought that was the end of it and went back to not sleeping and sweating like a farm animal in the dead of summer.

Two weeks later I received an email from Rhonda Penders, the publisher of The Wild Rose Press.

She had been my judge for the contest. She asked me to send her the completed manuscript for possible consideration for publication. I did. A WRP editor read it and asked for a few changes. I made them. Then I received the email that changed my  life forever: WRP wanted to publish my book and wanted to know if I had any others.

Um- you betcha I did!!

That book, SKATER'S WALTZ, launched my second act and my writing career. I quit my day job ( really, I did!) and have been a full-time writer every since.


20+ books  and 5 years later I am now almost 60 and I have never been happier. I am a  better writer every day and every day I thank that damn menopause insomnia for giving me something to do when I was wide awake from midnight to five a.m! Hee hee

Fairy tales come true all the time you just don't hear about them.  This was mine.

Bio and Social links:


Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer!

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, she brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"

Social Media links:



Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0



Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Fun Firsts - a book tour

by M. L. Buchman

I wasn't a reader as a kid. Okay, I wasn't exactly a reader...I was a re-reader. Somewhere along the way I got stuck on The Little Engine That Could and Winnie-the-Pooh. And I stayed stuck there until I hit third grade.

I've often wondered about that over the years. I came from a huge reading family. We sat around most of every Sunday, each in our spot in the living room and read. Mom in her deep wing-back armchair with a murder mystery. Dad in his simple padded chair with a Henry James novel and the dog lying across his feet. My sister reading literary novels, art, philosophy of the 60s (as it was happening), and me with "The Bear."

I've always enjoyed rereading and rewatching movies. For me there's an emotional comfort. A safe place of knowing what's coming, yes. But much more I think it's about reliving an emotion I enjoy (to this day I still get desperate fits of giggles when Roo gets the hiccups in the middle of Pooh's party).

Third Grade
There was a problem with my third grade teacher, Mrs. Kaye was already a friend of the family and knew just how smart I was (I sure didn't). I spent almost the entire year at the table in the corner. Not because I was being bad, but because she was giving me a different curriculum than the other kids. Dad was an IBM engineer, who for some reason had bought a house thirty miles from the plant in a tiny farming community. So, while my classmates were destined for their parents' farms, Mrs. Kaye decided I was destined for more than that.

One thing she did was she just kept handing me books. I'm sure there were dozens upon dozens, but the first one that struck was one I pulled off our own shelf at home. Jack London's Call of the Wild. You want to see an eight-year-old kid weep, it was me at the end of that book. It is not the death of Buck's human friends that got me, nor the sense of belonging that he found with the pack. It was that immense loyalty, when he returns each year to mourn his lost friends. Writing this I now see where my adult loyalty comes from. It's very black and white, just like Buck's. I'm intensely loyal, unless you cross me and then I'm done with you. (No, I don't rip out people's throats like Buck, I just move on. Just sayin'.)

I still own three books from my childhood: 2 Winnie-the-Poohs, and that volume of Call of the Wild. I've carried it with me for over 50 years, but I've never reread it. It's one of those memories that's just too right the way it is and I don't want reality messing anything up. (Curious side note: my peculiar reading habits meant that the first time I read any other children's books was when I got a stepkid of my own. I discovered Goodnight Moon right alongside The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Harry Potter.) 

From Call I ripped through London, plunged into Melville, and discovered non-fiction in the form of biographies about Arctic exploration. Tenzing took me to the top of Mt. Everest and I followed Captain Bligh across the seas (both the Nordhoff and Hall full trilogy, and Bligh's own account).

A First of a New World
Then one day, I believe I'd just finished Moby Dick (and sorry, it's not some symbolic journey about the madness of revenge, it's a story about a whale, yawn [and yes, I reread it as an adult, I still don't "get" it])--which would make it 5th grade--and as I set it down, Dad finished a slim novel by Arthur C Clarke called The City and the Stars. Mrs. Kaye's indoctrination that what you did with a book was "pick it up and start reading" launched me into another world.

Is it a great book? Not really. But it's about a boy who billions of years in the future is...different. As he discovers why, he also saves the future of humanity against all odds. Unlike Call, I would reread this book many, many times over the years. I wanted to be Alvin, I felt like I was Alvin and just needed a world to save.

I was hooked. It would be years before I read in any other genre. Ninth grade English A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? "Would it be okay if I did a book report on Stranger in a Strange Land instead?" Grapes of Wrath? "How about the Foundation Trilogy?" I always got away with that, until Senior English.

An Old World
This was the second great teacher of my life who changed my reading. Mrs. Kane taught "Adventures in English Literature." The poets never hooked me. But Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Miserables, and the complete works of Shakespeare (the last would take me a while). That she was trying to introduce me to the poetry of Shelly and Byron just never quite seemed to work, but I'd discovered the classics. However, none of these stood out for me as a "First" the way The Call of the Wild or The City and the Stars did.

An Older World
The third great teacher, for a college student in geophysics, was Professor Cole. He brought ancient Greek history to life and suddenly I was in the world of Plato, Aeschylus, and all the others. But while I loved it, it didn't affect me at that "first" level.

At about the same time though, I stumbled on James Clavell and Ayn Rand. Tai-pan taught me more about action-adventure and other cultures, but Atlas Shrugged is probably my favorite book of all time. I'm always, out of sheer loyalty, fighting the good fight past any reason. Am I happy with the false leaders or the ending choice of going on strike against the world? Not really. But the battle? The fight for justice against all comers? OMG! I've read ever piece of fiction she ever wrote and some of her essays.

A More Exciting World
Shortly after college I stumbled on another first, The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum. The next five years were completely about thrillers for me (well, thrillers and science fiction). Sure I read The Hobbit and the other essential fantasy novels, loved them, but they weren't world changing the way Bourne was. A man who didn't know himself, surviving against impossible odds. He lead me to Three Days of the Condor and The Eye of the Needle, but it was Bourne who still reigns clear in my mind decades later.

A Loving World
I had one more real "first" waiting for me. The small publisher of my first fantasy novel wanted to prove that men wrote romance, I didn't. Still, she took me and three other guys to Romance Writers of America National Conference. We were four of the 7 men among 1,800 women passionate about their genre and their craft. I read a half dozen romances at the conference (mostly at night, I don't sleep much at conferences).

But my "first" romance was handed to me over a year later by a woman I was dating (who I've now been married to for over 20 years. No correlation there, I was totally nuts about her before she handed me the book.) But it was a book that ultimately launched the first 50 novels of my writing career.

Laura Kinsale's The Prince of Midnight (with a close second of Susan Wiggs' The Charm School). A flawed hero, a headstrong heroine who finds bravery despite all the reasons not to... I was a goner!

A Career
I peer back through a glass darkly:

  • The Prince of Midnight - romance
  • The Bourne Identity - thriller
  • Atlas Shrugged - action-adventure thriller philosophy(?)
  • The City and the Stars - science fiction 
  • The Call of the Wild - action-adventure
  • and even the old Bear himself - fun
I've written 50 romances about "Strong Women and the Men They Deserve." And I've had such a great time doing it.

Now with action-adventure thrillers, I've just hit the USA Today Bestseller list with a story in an anthology and Amazon #1 bestselling novel, both in my Miranda Chase series. Am I moving back through my "firsts" as a reader? Am I eventually going to be back into science fiction? Or perhaps an action-adventure-SF-romance-philosophy? 

I don't know. But I do know that we are deeply shaped by what we read, by what our "firsts" are and that emotional journey that books make us take inside ourselves.

I've changed my writer's motto to include my thrillers, "Strong Women and the World They Deserve." But it all actually traces back to my most core beliefs, "To Champion the Human Spirit." It's something I try to place at the core of every action and choice I make. I like to think that Kinsale, Ludlum, Rand, Clarke, London, and even the old Bear himself would all approve.

I'd love to hear which books were your "firsts" and maybe even how they changed you.

USA Today and Amazon #1 Bestseller M. L. "Matt" Buchman has 60+ action-adventure thriller and military romance novels, 100 short stories, and lotsa audiobooks. PW says: “Tom Clancy fans open to a strong female lead clamor for more.” Booklist declared: “3X Top 10 of the Year.” A project manager with a geophysics degree, he’s designed and built houses, flown and jumped out of planes, solo-sailed a 50’ sailboat, and bicycled solo around the world…and he quilts. More at: www.mlbuchman.com.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

First Time Through the Pet Door by Sarah Raplee

MARCUS WITH A HAIRCUT
We'd been promising our dogs a pet door since we finished installing a fence around the side yard a year ago. A couple weeks ago, we finally ordered one to install in the back door. Last week, we installed this portal to freedom (theirs to go outside, ours to not have to let them outside). We bought a top-of-the-line,  weatherproof, double-flapped model because the winter wind often blows toward our south-facing door.

Obviously, we were pet door first-timers, or we might have chosen a less intimidating model for our two ten-pound rescue dogs, Mac and Marcus. Hindsight is always 20-20.

Little did we know most dogs don't go through dog doors without training. Hours, often days of training. You have to break the process down into small steps and give each dog as much time as he requires to become confident.

The dogs watched the installation process, and after a few cautious sniffs they decided to ignore the weird alteration their crazy humans had added to a perfectly good door.

FRECKLES AND MAC
The cat, who had been napping in the basement, was understandably freaked out when he went to the back door to be let out. I opened the door for him as usual, and after much hesitation he dashed outside.

The first two or three days after installation,we kept the pet door closed with it's slide-in panel locked in place. After all three pets were consistently ignoring the new addition, we went to the next step in the training process.

That morning, we removed the locking panel and taped the two thick, clear vinyl flaps open with duck tape, one on the inside and one on the outside. With our pockets full of treats, we rounded up the dogs and began encouraging them to walk through the open portal. They eyed the opening suspiciously.

My husband, Chuck, sat on the outside of the door while I sat on the inside. He held a treat through the pet door and gave it to Marcus, who is very food-motivated. Mac hung back, suspecting a (non-existent) trap. Every time Mac worked up the courage to try to get a treat from Chuck's disembodied hand, Marcus darted in to grab the food first. When I made the mistake of saying, "No!", both dogs backed away. The light dawned that I would have to hold one dog while the other went through his training.

MAC  HESITATES
 After that, things went pretty smoothly for Marcus. He'll do anything for a treat. Soon he was jumping happily back and forth through the open pet door after  the yummy morsels we tossed through. Then it was Mac's turn.

Mac is suspicious of anything or anyone new. He approached the hand with the treat slowly, but pulled back when the treat was withdrawn through the opening. This happened several times. Chuck suggested I toss a treat through the opening instead. His hand disappeared.

Before I could dig a treat out of my pocket, the cat walked in through the opening as if he'd used a pet door all his life!
Go figure.

After much encouragement and praise, Mac finally stuck his head through the opening and ate a treat placed on the mat outside. After several times, Chuck put the treat far enough away that Mac had to step through to get it. Once Mac was sure there were no dangers awaiting outside the door, he walked through. Of course we made a big fuss about what a good boy he was. When Chuck tossed a treat back through to the inside, Mac followed. Hooray!!!

HOORAY FOR MARCUS!!!

We repeated this lesson twice a day for two days to build Mac's confidence. By the end of the second day, both dogs were going in and out the open pet door at will--just like the cat.

Next step was to only tape the outside flap up. One of us held the inside flap out of the way, but let it fall on the dog's back as he went through. Even Marcus was a little unsure about that. The flaps have a steel bar attached to the bottom that adheres to a magnet when it shuts. This keeps the wind from blowing the flap open. The bar is heavy enough to startle the dog until he gets used to it.

After several training sessions, the dogs were still hesitating to go through for a treat, knowing the flap would fall on their back. It seemed this step was going to take quite a while.

Unfortunately a storm rolled in last night, so the dogs had to wear their raincoats this morning to go outside. I held the inner flap up. After only a moment of hesitation, Marcus squeezed through, raincoat and all. Mac soon followed. I'd been worried about nothing!

It was too windy to leave both flaps up. I let the inner one fall. Mac came back and pawed the flap. I lifted it so he could come inside. After drying him off and removing the raincoat, I walked to the kitchen to fix their breakfast. A moment later, I heard the flap snap shut! I returned to see if the wind blew it, and Marcus pushed it open and came inside without help! Mac followed him in. The noise I'd heard was from Mac going outside on his own!

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
This small miracle gives me hope they will quickly adapt to the final step, which involves passing through both flaps. We'll tackle that one in a few days.

Wish us luck!  ~Sarah, Chuck, Mac and Marcus (and Freckles, the cat)

PS: Have you trained a dog or cat to use a pet door? If so, what was your experience like?

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Brush Off the Dust for a First Meet

By Courtney Pierce


I don’t normally write spicy romance. So when I incorporated a sparky first meet in Indigo Lake, the second book of the Dushane Sisters Trilogy, I piled on unexpected complications. The result was good clean fun, especially for me.

I write for the Baby Boomer set, of which I’m a card-carrying member. My characters have rich histories, and as a result, they drag a boatload of emotional baggage into whatever they do and say. That’s no more apparent than with my protagonist Olivia Novak, the central star of the Dushane Sisters Trilogy. She’s a widow, having suffered the loss of her husband of 35 years to a hit-and-run car accident. On the surface, she's the pinnacle of success as a best-selling romance author, but inside she’s an emotional wreck. She spends every spare minute searching for the culprit who killed her husband, and then some. Then after the death of her mother, she finds a manuscript for a murder mystery among the papers in the safe. Of course, she and her two sisters get it published. And when it becomes a bestseller, royalties spell trouble.

Olivia and her two sisters get sued for their mother’s book by a money-grubbing distant relative. Enter Woody Rainey, the small-town lawyer who filed the suit on behalf of his mother. He’s about to find out that this lawsuit is no slam dunk.

Given that Olivia has infinite patience (Not!), she storms into Woody’s office in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire with her sisters and a therapy dog in tow.  Little does she know that her life is about to change.

Here’s the first moment of discomfort from Woody’s point of view:

Olivia crossed her legs, trying too hard to act relaxed. Woody knew body language, and this
woman was wound tight.

“Why on earth didn’t you contact us before sending that threatening email to my publisher?” Olivia said. “We aren’t difficult to find—obviously—since you appear to know all about us.”

She was good. The way she cocked her head to the side made her appear genuine, her lips genuine, hint of cool smile genuine. At this moment, Woody viewed himself as a fraud.

“Going forward was at the insistence of my client.” He spread his hands in surrender. “That course wouldn’t have been my personal choice.” 

The dog trotted to him and sniffed his suit jacket. Woody assumed the dog had been dispatched for cross-examination. A team effort.

"Speaking of which, I couldn’t help but notice you have the same last name as your client.” Olive picked up his name plate and turned it to face him. “How are you related?”

“She’s my mother.”

“Ah . . . ” Olivia nodded. “No conflict of interest there.”

Woody's no longer convinced he's the smartest one in the room. The cat-and-mouse volley continues until Olivia makes an offer that Woody’s unable to refuse.

Olivia fingered Woody’s business cards in a hand-forged pewter dish. She picked one from the stack and flicked the corner with her fingernail. “After we check in to our hotel, do you want to meet us for a drink, maybe dinner, to continue our discussion?”

The situation wasn’t at all what Woody had envisioned when these women walked through his front door. He stood and rubbed his chin.

The fun part of writing this first meet is that neither Olivia nor Woody have any clue they ‘re going to fall in love.

The dinner goes well . . . too well. When Woody returns home that night, he realizes that Olivia has embedded herself in his bachelor heart. But the pull of chemistry that develops between them overrides their ability to resist. Suddenly Cupid’s frying pan to the head becomes more painful than the lawsuit.

That fourth scotch had been a serious lapse in judgment. After leaving Wolfe’s Tavern at nine, Woody climbed the steps to his colonial, his striped necktie hanging in two exhausted strands from his collar. The key fought with his fingers as he tried to match the notches in the lock.

The sisters had worn him out, especially one of them: Olivia. Unable to stop himself, he’d kissed her on the cheek before he left. A second lapse in judgment. He knew better than to get emotionally involved, to waver his focus on the matter at hand. She’d returned the gesture with a tight embrace. No conflict of interest there, he recalled of Olivia’s warning when he’d met her. Her citrusy fragrance lingered on his shirt, opening all his senses.

Under fuzzy aim to the closet, his white shirt made the rim shot into the laundry basket. Compelled by a force he didn’t understand, he pulled the white shirt from the laundry basket and wadded it into a tight ball. A whoosh of sweet lemon . . . with a hint of spice . . . ginger.

A series of emotional twists and turns now come into play: Woody needs to take a side between his elderly mother and Olivia in the lawsuit; Olivia is in a fight to protect her dead mother’s reputation; Woody is afraid his secure routine is being turned upside down; Olivia is afraid of betraying her dead husband’s memory; and Olivia fears upsetting the relationship with her two sisters.

But love conquers all. And, yes indeed, that first sleepover plays on their collective fears. The initial coupling doesn't turn out to be the cathartic experience one hopes for, but it forces Woody and Olivia to look at themselves in the mirror. 

There’s so much material for an author to work with when writing about new relationships of older characters. An iceberg of life experiences can ground the love boat. But that’s why readers cheer them on. A deeper meaning lies beneath a consoling hug, a deep kiss, and the importance of just holding each other.

No matter how old we are, childlike emotions and desperate needs of the heart surface when it comes to falling in love. Suddenly, nothing makes sense. And just like when we fell in love for the very first time, we internally hyperventilate with a thumping heart.

And it hurts so good.



Photo: Micah Brooks
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Kalispell, Montana with her husband, stepdaughter, and their brainiac cat, Princeton. Courtney writes for the baby boomer audience. She spent 28 years as an executive in the entertainment industry and used her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor, and mystery. She studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, Courtney is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal.

Print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com.
Check out all of Courtney's books: 

courtney-pierce.com and windtreepress.com 

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."




Coming in 2020!

When Aubrey Cenderon moves to Montana after the death of her father, the peace and quiet of Big Sky Country becomes complicated with a knock on the door from the sheriff. An injured grizzly bear is on the loose and must be eliminated before it kills again. The sheriff's insistence that she buy a gun for protection will present Aubrey with some serious soul-searching, because the grizzly-on-the-run is hunting for her too . . . for a different reason.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Seeking the first times...

Hey hey everyone! 

Welcome on this first day of Spring


I struggled to come up with a first to talk about...
           the birth of my children - amazing!
                     my wedding - awesome!
                         my first car - soooo cool (it was Mustang)

And then there are those first that turn in hundreds of thousands...
             bacon maple doughnuts - drooling here
It's love at first sight EVERY TIME I open the box

                     the Lord of the Ring movies - here take my 3 hours of life
                          creating new recipes with vodka - never gets old

But as I pondered all of these, I realized that I wanted to talk about my fear - what if I run out first? I what if I EVERYTHING that I can do, I have done? I mean there will always be getting stranded on a desert island with Matthew McConaughey but that is a first that isn't very likely to happen.

I mean I've tried ALL the doughnut flavors! I'm not having any more babies (okay I'm glad about this - no woman my age should be having babies in my opinion). There will never be a new Lord of The Rings movie...The list of first are shrinking.

You see where I'm going? What happens when the 'firsts' in your life are all gone? Well, you keep experiencing them like they were the first time.

For example, it doesn't matter how many times I go to the beach - less than a mile from my home - and watch the sunset, it's like the first time. The colors are a little different. The waves are never the same. 




We need to allow ourselves to experience the joy and happiness that first times brings... even if it isn't exactly the first time.  It's the first time that minute that you have experienced whatever it is.

Every time I take a bite of a bacon maple doughnut, I close my eyes. I savor each bite. 

I circle the day in my planner when the local ice cream shop opens for the year. It's a big thing at our home, it's supper that night. Nuts are protein, ice cream is dairy, the cherry on top is a fruit and I have everyone eat a stick of celery before we go as the veggie. We drive down there talking about we are going to get. Wondering if they will have our favorites from last year. It's a first.


Do you have favorite things that give you that first rush every time you do it?  If so I'd love to hear them. 





Wednesday, March 18, 2020

You Aways Remember Your First ...

There's nothing like holding that first book baby in your hand.



Back in 2012 I'd been writing for a long time and but was yet to finish a story. Having shiny object syndrome when it comes to story ideas didn't help! So many started, so few (none!) finished.

I'd entered comps, placed. Got a request from an agent at conference, yet still hadn't got my butt into gear and finished something.

Then I came across a call for sexy short stories for an anthology by a very small digital publisher and figured submitting was a great way to make me actually finish something (and a rejection from a small, obscure publisher wouldn't hurt as much as one from a big name).

A deadline (imposed by someone else) works wonders. I wrote the story. Finished it !  That in itself was a first and gave me a sense of accomplishment. Ok, it was under ten thousand words, but I'd finally written 'The End' on something. I sent it off and didn't really think about it after that. Mission accomplished.

When an email arrived saying my little story would be in 'The Boys Of Summer' anthology, I was ecstatic. It was validation from 'someoone who knows' about writing' (a publisher) that maybe, just maybe, I had a modicam of ability.

The anthology was digital, but print was available so I had to get a physical copy of my first ever published story. A book, with my name on it! So exciting.

The story also had a 'first' for my couple Jasmine and Luke who are already an established couple. If you'd like to know what it was, and like your stories a little spicy, I'll be re-releasing their story as Jasmine's story in Book 1 of my 'Hothouse Flowers' series very soon. Here's a bit of a sneaky peep at the cover.

If you'd like an advance copy to review, drop me a line here.

The short, steamy introduction to the 'Hothouse Flowers' (Rose) is available here.

I hope everyone is coping ok with all the craziness of the current pandemic. One upside is that if we're restricted to our homes, at least it gives us plenty of reading time (yes, and writing time). Let's hope this 'first' world wide crisis is also the last.

Keep safe.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Book Under the Bed ... by Delsora Lowe


I wrote my first novel, in 2000, long before I ever heard of romance writer’s groups. I moved from Maine back to my hometown of Washington, D.C. for a job as the alumni director at the Quaker High School where I graduated (now fifty <gulp> years ago.)


The only fiction I ever wrote was when required in English class, but I always loved writing research papers and human-interest stories for the non-profit magazines where I worked. But this first story gnawed at me until I finally sat down and wrote…and wrote…and wrote. I think it ended up somewhere between one-hundred and one-hundred twenty thousand words.

The setting was northern coastal Maine in the town in which my daughter was married. I changed the name and made it a fictional town, but that town was my inspiration. Side note: oddly that town was also the inspiration for the first novella I published (The Legacy of Parkers Point) sixteen years later as part of a Maine writers anthology. The coincidence was that the anthology author group decided to fashion our fictional town after that same coastal town.


While I was editing my first book, it got wiped off my computer and lost forever (along with all the heartfelt poetry I wrote about living in D.C. and near the Pentagon during 9/11). Luckily, I tend to print things off, so the book and most of the poetry are somewhere in a box. Unluckily, I may never unearth it. Luckily, the book is probably best left buried, although maybe I will rewrite it. The story still swims through my head.


The book was about a seasoned-character who finds a second chance at love. It is her daughter’s wedding week at a seaside Maine resort and she meets a man who works in college admissions. Yes, parts of this are taken from real-life, the daughter and her wedding and the setting. But the rest is fiction. And strangely, again, eleven years after I wrote this book, I ended up working in a college admissions office. But at the time I wrote the book, I worked down the hall from a high school admissions office.


I can’t remember the couple’s entire journey to reach their happily-ever-after, but I do know that the hero’s severe depression plays a huge part in the story, as does the heroine’s hurt from a contentious divorce. Were I to ever rewrite it, I would probably try to make it a bit lighter, even while including those elements. But who knows how it would turn out? As a pantser, my characters tend to tell me their story as I write it.

Still, after twenty years, as we go into 2020, this story still has a grip on me.

Is there anything you’ve done in your life that still grips you into taking action—whether recreating or adding to the experience?
AUTHOR BIO

~ cottages to cabins ~ keep the home fires burning ~

Delsora Lowe writes small town sweet romances and contemporary westerns from the mountains of Colorado to the shores of Maine.

Author of the Starlight Grille series, Serenity Harbor Maine novellas, and the Cowboys of Mineral Springs series, Lowe has also authored short romances for Woman’s World magazine.

THE LEGACY OF PARKERS POINT
Two lives, one legacy—the lure of Parkers Point
One Runs From …
Inheriting his grandfather’s estate on the rocky point in Serenity Harbor, Maine is the perfect escape from the biggest professional disaster of Grayson Mann’s life. Will distance and space help Gray heal old family and professional wounds enough to open his heart to love?
One Runs Toward …
Lauralee Adler struggles to save the family art gallery as she watches her aunt succumb to Alzheimer’s. Returning to the small coastal town is payment for the kindness that saved her life and soul. Now she’s on a quest to find her father. Will this trip home help her learn to trust and finally convince her she can truly belong for the first time in her life?
Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Parkers-Point-Serenity-Starlight-ebook/dp/B0743NVCC6/
Books2Read


Clip Art Credits:
Faces: http://www.clipartbest.com/clipart-RcdaMzRai
Seasoned Couple:
https://pixabay.com/photos/beach-wedding-happy-couple-sunset-1934732/
School Building: 7fe280c7970b7e5dd68f93b3f51144a3