It’s Hard Having Children & An Excerpt!

You’d think it would stop after the labor pains, or perhaps the teenage years, but I’ve discovered that no matter how old your children are, you always worry about them.

My youngest son’s hobby is restoring heavy duty equipment. Recently, while loading some caterpillar tracks to recycle at the local scrap yard, the tracks shifted and caught his index finger, tearing off the fingernail and a chunk of the end of his finger. And while it has healed nicely, I’ve still not recovered from the incident.

Dad on cat

My dad on his grandson’s cat

I worry, probably needlessly, but I’m his mother, and all I want is for my boys to be healthy and happy and unhurt.

The hero in my contemporary romance, Always Remember, worries about his daughter, too. The single dad of a 17 year old girl, he’s raised her the best he could, and still…

(Excerpt from Always RememberAfter getting bucked off his horse, the heroine is giving Nate Coltrane a lower back massage when they’re interrupted by his daughter Sara…)

“Dad?”

Along with the sound of her boots tromping across the floor, approaching the entryway, he caught the strain in her voice.

“I—oh, excuse me. I didn’t know you were busy.”

Nate raised his head from his folded arms. “Come on in. Jess was just giving me a massage, trying to fix my sore back.”

Right, and another two minutes, you would have been fixing her.

As if she’d heard his thoughts, Jessie scrambled off him, landed on her rear end, then leapt to her feet. Nate shifted slightly, enough to notice the flush that darkened her cheeks.

“We were finished anyway,” she explained in a breathless rush. “And I was just leaving.”

Always Remember by Sheila SeabrookRight about now, Nate wished he could leave with her. As she ran from the room, the humor of the situation hit him. They’d been caught like two randy teenagers, only it was the daughter, not the parents, terminating their foreplay. Now, how did he go about hiding his aroused state from his perceptive daughter?

“So what’s up, squirt?” Other than me. Nonchalant, pretend like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Like his world hadn’t shifted and tilted for the second time since Jessie’s arrival.

Sara snatched the pile of mail from the coffee table and slid onto the floor beside him. “You didn’t tell me you hurt your back. Diablo? You know, I’ve been thinking. Maybe you need professional help.”

“You mean a shrink?” He reached out and ruffled her hair. Thanks to Jessie, his back did feel better, but now he had another ache he wished she’d stuck around to cure. Suddenly, the floor felt hard and uncomfortable. “Sara, Diablo and I have an agreement.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sometimes I think I should’ve been in charge of you instead of the other way around.” She ducked out from under his hand and looked him square in the eye. “You realize, of course, that what you two were doing in here was totally unacceptable.”

Laughter burst from his chest.

“Well, I’m not a kid anymore. I’ve been trying to tell you that for years.”

No, she wasn’t a kid. She’d grown into a beautiful young woman, as mature and self-reliant as her mother. How had he gotten so lucky? She’d never given him a lick of trouble, not the way Jessie and him had tested their parents’ patience.

Sara sorted listlessly through the envelopes, tossing the bills aside before spreading her favorite magazine on the floor between them. Nate noted the pallor of her cheeks, the bluish smudges beneath her eyes. He wanted to ask her what was wrong, but feared the question would send her running up to her bedroom like last time.

Better that he be patient and wait for her to come to him. When she was ready to talk, she’d do it in her own good time.

He bumped her on the shoulder. “What are you reading?”

(End of excerpt)

So what kind of unfun and worrisome things have your children done? And how long did it take you to recover from the incident?

Originally published at Women Unplugged.

Always Remember Released!

Always Remember Released!

Always Remember coverAs you know, I’ve just released my new contemporary romance, Always Remember, and this is what one reader posted on my Facebook page: “Just reading Always Remember. It is GREAT! Read 21 chapters before I had to put it down. Love those kinds of stories. Great job! Looking forward to the next one.”

And a few hours later, the same reader posted this: “Done! Haven’t read a book that fast in forever. What a terrific book!”

To say I’m a little overjoyed at the response would be putting it mildly. 🙂

Always Remember is a story near and dear to my heart. If you received the latest copy of my newsletter, then you’re probably aware that this tale was inspired by a true life story. You see, before my parents were married, they had a baby and gave her up for adoption. Years later, after her adoptive parents passed on, she made an attempt to contact her birth parents. She hoped to track down her mom or her dad, but never in a million-zillion years did she expect to find them married to each other, with four other children who quickly enveloped her into the family.

While this isn’t my parents’ or sister’s story, Always Remember captures the pain and heartbreak I saw that summer, as well as the joy and happiness of a family reunited.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Always Remember, and laugh and cry along with my characters. If you enjoy it, please recommend it to your family and friends.

Always Remember by Sheila Seabrook (original cover)

Original Cover

Always Remember … I’ll never forget.

Story Synopsis:

A midnight summons from rancher Nate Coltrane brings singer Jessie Adams back to the heart of the Rocky Mountains — not to see him again, but to say goodbye to her dying mother. Seventeen years ago, Jessie gave up Nate’s child for adoption and she hasn’t been home since. How can she sit by her mother’s side, surrounded by constant reminders of all she loved and lost? How can she face Nate without telling him the truth about the child he never knew existed?

Nate doesn’t think Jessie has the guts to return home and face him, but when she does, he’s afraid of losing everything he loves…for the second time in his life. But he’s made a promise to her mother. Bring Jessie home. Give the dying woman one last opportunity to heal the rift with her daughter. Nate will do anything for Jessie’s mother because if not for her, he might never have known the love of his child.

But sometimes the truth turns out to be a lie…

Ebook available at: Amazon US, Amazon CA, Amazon UKSmashwords, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, All Romance Ebooks

Print book available at: Amazon US, Amazon CA, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iBooks

The Story Behind the Story…

Next week, I’m sending out my newsletter with a behind-the-scenes-peek into the true story that inspired my latest release Always Remember. It involves a 45 year old secret, but thankfully there’s a happy ending to this tale. So if you want the scoop, sign up for my newsletter. In the meantime, here’s a short excerpt from Always Remember.

My heroine, Jessie Adams, has just arrived at the hero’s ranch. This excerpt begins as she walks into the house where she grew up and sees her parents.

Lasso Divider

There was nowhere left to run and hide, so Jessie forced herself to move into the semi-darkness of the bedroom where a nightlight shone in the corner, casting shadows onto the walls. She looked past her mother to where her dad sat beside the bed, his once handsome face newly lined with worry.

Would he forgive her for staying away for so long? Her heart was bruised enough without adding more guilt to the rest.

In the mournful silence of the room, he lifted his gaze from his wife’s face, the ready laughter she remembered in his eyes gone, replaced by shades of sadness. She held her silence while he focused on her, experienced a moment of fear before recognition crossed his features.

Always Remember coverThen the lines of sorrow on his face eased. He placed his wife’s hand on the quilt, gave it a loving pat. With hands braced on his knees, he pushed himself to his feet and came around the bed, the stiffness of old age apparent.

Relief swept through Jessie and she went into his open arms. He clasped her tightly to his chest, squeezing with a strength that belied his feeble appearance. “Oh Dad. I’m sorry I didn’t come earlier.”

“Hush, sweetie. It’s enough you made it now.”

She wanted to stay there forever, her cheek pressed against his shoulder, safe and secure like when she was a child. Jessie inhaled the familiar scent of pipe tobacco that clung to his clothes as if he’d just left the porch swing moments before their arrival. Too soon, he released her and turned her toward the bed.

For the first time since she entered the room, Jessie looked at her mother. Really looked. Her knees turned liquid. Guilt slammed the breath from her lungs.

“Your Ma’s been asking for you day and night. So afraid we might not get hold of you in time.”

Without taking her eyes off her mother’s haggard features, she was aware of him moving around to the opposite side of the bed and of Nate stepping forward to stand at her side.

“She has good days here and there, but mostly now she just wants to sleep. Asks for you whenever she wakes up though.”

The robust, energetic woman Jessie remembered was gone. The woman lying on the bed was a shrunken, fragile replica of her mother, skin stretched tight over the bones in her face. Hands, once strong and beautiful, were lined with prominent veins and covered with translucent flesh.

The woman asleep on the bed wasn’t robust and indestructible. She was frail and small and helpless.

Jessie took her mother’s hand into her own. It was warm, the skin soft as a newborn’s, the flesh sagging with the passing of years. So many of them gone, lost. Wasted.

As the wail of a long lost child echoed through her thoughts, a sob worked up her throat.

Oh God, Mother, what did I do? What did we do?

A tear slipped down her cheek. Choking back a sob, Jessie gently laid the fragile hand back on the bed, turned and collided with the broad expanse of Nate’s chest. He caught her by the shoulders, his touch firm, warm, familiar…missed.

“Jess?”

Concern flashed in the shadow-darkened depths of his gaze. How could he still care after all she’d taken away from him? Because he didn’t know. He might never know.

Pulling free of his hold, she raced from the room, out the front door, and into the quiet darkness of the night.

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So head on over and sign up for my newsletter, and discover the story behind the story.

Always Remember, available now in eBook format at the following locations: AmazonSmashwordsKoboAll Romance Ebooks

 

Always Remember Cover Reveal!

Last week, I received the final cover for my August 2013 release ALWAYS REMEMBER. Because we went through several designs, I thought I’d give you a behind the scenes peek at the cover process.

Originally, I’d found the image of a couple I wanted to use on the cover (below). Since ALWAYS REMEMBER takes place on a ranch outside of Cochrane, Alberta, I went with a western look. I loved the couple’s pose in this image and the look of the guy screamed babe-magnet. Yeah, he fit the image of Nate Coltrane just perfectly. But I didn’t like the woman’s snarky smile because it didn’t portray my heroine properly, so I asked my designer, Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs, to cover up her face.

Western Couple

As usual, Kim did a super fab job on the cover and below is the first composition she sent me.

SheilaSeabrook_AlwaysRememeber_comp01b

The cover is beautiful, isn’t it? In fact, when I first saw it, I thought it looked like a painting worthy of being hung on my wall. Except there was one problem with it. I felt readers could mistake this book for a historical romance.

So we went back to the drawing board and Kim came up with a more contemporary look.

SheilaSeabrook_AlwaysRemember_POD_comp02b

Again, totally gorgeous. Now you know why Kim designs my covers. 🙂 There was no way readers could mistake ALWAYS REMEMBER for a historical romance now, but the man looked like he belonged on a golf course instead of a ranch. We tried a cowboy hat on him. Uggg. And I really missed my cowboy hero from the first cover.

After some discussion, during which time we played with the first image to see if we could come up with something that I’d be happy with, I decided the original image of the couple — with that gorgeous cowboy guy — wouldn’t suit the contemporary cover I wanted.

We restarted the process and I headed online to gather new information to send to Kim. I looked at existing covers that projected the feel I wanted for my book (very contemporary) and went searching for an image of a couple that would represent Nate Coltrane and Jessie Adams, the hero and heroine from ALWAYS REMEMBER. At last, I resent my request and crossed my fingers.

Always Remember - POD Cover

And WOW! I’m totally in love with Kim’s design. With the purple hues and the romantic couple front and center, this cover is absolutely-perfectly stunning! I now have it as the desktop on my MacBook Air, my iPad, and my iPhone, so I can admire it every day before I get down to work on book two of the Rocky Mountain Romance series.

What are some of your favorite covers? Go ahead and leave links in the comments below. And out of the three covers above, would you have chosen one of the other covers? If so why? Hey, we’re all different and I get that and I’m very interested in how others perceive cover design.

Thanks for sharing this special moment with me and remember to sign up for my newsletter!

 

Always Remember Is Almost Here!

books-stackedFirst off, if you haven’t had the opportunity to check out Brenda Novak’s Annual Auction for the Cure for Diabetes, please take a look at the notification on my righthand sidebar. The WG2E Street Team has put together a special basket which will be auctioned off on May 28th. Go ahead. Click on the link, check it out, then come back here for more news. I’ll wait. 🙂

Great, you’re back. Thanks for returning!

I’m taking a short break from The Marriage Pact. The characters are being stubborn, so while they sort their problems out, I’ve been hard at work on ALWAYS REMEMBER, a book near and dear to me for very personal reasons. ALWAYS was one of my RWA Golden Heart Finalist manuscripts, and I’m thrilled it’s finally ready for publication.

The fabulous Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs is working on the cover right now. You may recall she created the fabulous cover for The Valentine Grinch and I’m very excited to see what she comes up with this time.

ALWAYS REMEMBER is a full length contemporary romance. To whet your appetite, here’s the story blurb from the back cover of the book:

Get in, get out.

A midnight summons from rancher Nate Coltrane brings singer Jessie Adams back to the heart of the Rocky Mountains — not to see him again, but to say goodbye to her dying mother. Seventeen years ago, Jessie gave up Nate’s child for adoption and she hasn’t been home since. How can she sit by her mother’s side, surrounded by constant reminders of all she loved and lost? How can she face Nate without telling him the truth about the child he never knew existed?

Nate doesn’t think Jessie has the guts to return home and face him, but when she does, he’s afraid of losing everything he loves…for the second time in his life. But he’s made a promise to her mother. Bring Jessie home. Give the dying woman one last opportunity to heal the rift with her daughter. Nate will do anything for Jessie’s mother because if not for her, he might never have known the love of his child.

But sometimes the truth turns out to be a lie…

Watch for the cover to come sometime next week. Until then … happy reading!

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