For the last two weeks, I’ve been in holiday prep mode, decorating the house and baking my family’s favorite holiday treats. Let’s face it, the rest of the 364 days of the year, the only thing they get is banana loaf, so at this time of year, I tend to go a wee bit overboard.
My mother, like many of my heroines’ mothers, has stepped in to ensure the holiday feast is a success. Two weeks ago, she deemed my holiday turkey wasn’t big enough or fresh enough (okay, I confess, mine has been in the bottom of the freezer since last spring, so she’s probably right). Last week, she appeared at the door with a lovely 20 pound turkey that right this minute is roasting in the oven. (Thanks, Mom…on Boxing Day, I’ll drop off the turkey bones so you can make your delicious turkey soup!)
The family will arrive in a few hours. By then, we’ll have the table set and the rest of the food prepared. And in far less time than it takes to prepare the meal, we’ll all be stuffed and ready for a nap. 🙂
I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your support this year. Whether you invested your precious time to read one (or all!) of my books, left a much coveted review on Amazon, Goodreads, or one of the other online retailers, or joined me for a special event like the recent Naughty & Nice Blog Hop, your support means everything.
Whenever I’m faced with a stubborn character or plot, I think of you, my dear readers. Your comments and emails mean so much to me, so please keep them coming.
From my house to yours, I wish each of you a happy and safe holiday season. May 2014 bring you good health and joy.
Coming February 2014, The Marriage Pact,
a Cranberry Cove romantic comedy.
Caught between a wedding and a hard body…
Stay tuned for more details in January 2014!
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.
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.
Then 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.
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.
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: Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, All Romance Ebooks
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.
As usual, Kim did a super fab job on the cover and below is the first composition she sent me.
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.
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.
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!
I’m at the moment in my latest mess-in-progress when everything sucks. The plot is filled with holes. The characters are a crazy mess. I’ve thrown everything into the story pot and it tastes like chicken soup gone bad.
Yes, the first draft of Terms of Surrender is complete. You’ll briefly meet the heroine — Harley Jane Davis — in Always Remember. She’s an emergency room nurse who recently lost her twin sister and who volunteers at the local women’s shelter. When she ends up in the middle of a domestic situation, she’s rescued by the hot-guy-who-got-away.
Enter crisis negotiator Gage Toryn.
Gage may look like he has it all together, but deep down, he’s as messed up as they come. A victim of his violent childhood, he fears the monster inside and refuses to let any woman get too close.
I’m turning their world upside down, one road block at a time. 🙂
First 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!