If I Won the Lottery


graphic (eye candy) Winner Winner Chicken DinnerDon’t we all have that dream of winning the lottery?  Even if we don’t want to waste money buying tickets for what is statistically a lost cause, it is not unusual to have discussions with friends, coworkers, and family about what you’d do if you ever won the lottery.  This is especially true when a local jackpot has reached unbelievably high numbers.

We all have things on our “if I won the lottery” list.  Travel.  A new house.  A couple of fancy cars.  Custom clothing.  Paying off our parents’ mortgages.  For some, starting an animal sanctuary, or contributing to a church, are at the top of the list.

As I get older, it is easy to pare down to what I think is the most important in my life.  When I was young, a dream of winning the lottery meant a new car, a house, the usual things.  But these days, when I think about what I would do if I came into some money, I can only think of three things that belong at the top of my list.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t other things on the list, but there are three at the top.  That’s because there are three things that I love above all other things.  Please note I’m not talking about people – because that is as whole other discussion!

Writing.  This is a no-brainer, right?  I’m a writer.  A published author.  The time I spend writing is important to me.  Whether I’m writing a blog post, an email to my mother, or putting scenes in my latest novel, these times are when I feel happiest.  Even if there is writer’s block, I’d still rather be writing than doing most anything else.  Except for…

Gardening. Growing my own food and having a beautiful flower garden are two of my greatest joys.  I like being able to go outside in the morning to water my potted plants in the shade, while gazing at the perennials happily blooming in my flower beds.  Roses, lilies, Dianthus, hens and chicks, and many others I don’t know the names of.  Even if I didn’t live in a state that is cold and mostly snowy 7 months of the year, I would still love having the beauty of my flowers around.  Then there are the vegetables.  Between my plot at the community garden and my two vegetable gardens at home, we eat well.  Squash, tomatoes, kohlrabi, cabbage, green beans, eggplant, cucumbers, lettuce, and herbs all grace my garden space.  I also grow pumpkins for carving in the fall.  Nurturing seedlings to grown plants, then harvesting their plenty, gives me a great sense of satisfaction.  Even when it is hot and I’m sweating buckets, I’d still rather be in my garden than doing most anything else.  Except for…

Cooking.  I’m a trained and talented foodie.  Good food graces my table most nights, and good food is a subject I can talk about nearly unendingly.  All those wonderful veggies I grow?  They often turn into dinner.  I also know the best places in town to purchase wonderful veggies, including the local farmer’s market and an independent organic retailer.  My cooking repertoire is large, and I can do anything from 20 minute meals to crockpot wonders to complex all-day meals.  I love to cook.  I’ve had a lot of practice, and can look at a new recipe and know immediately what isn’t going to work and needs to be adjusted.  I am not into fancy baking (too much work) but have no problem babysitting an all-afternoon recipe for mushroom steak.

So how would I spend my lottery winnings?  Well, a nice house with a kitchen that comprised half of the square footage would be a start.  Professional 6-burner, 2-oven gas range, oversized stainless-steel fridge and freezer, and an electric oven for baking cakes.  A place for people to sit and join in on the cooking, and plenty of windows or skylights for natural light.  Oh, the cooking I would do!  And of course, that house would sit on a decent piece of land that would allow for a decent-sized kitchen garden.  Herbs, veggies, a few fruit trees – the goal being to provide most of what would be needed for the household.  And then there would be my office-slash-library.  Because a good writer needs inspiring space, and room for all of her reference materials.  There would be comfortable chairs surrounding a fireplace, floor-to-ceiling built-in book cases, and an extensive corner desk in front of a bank of windows looking out onto either my garden, or woods.  Also, the door would lock.  A writer needs her privacy, as well!

What would you spend your lottery winnings on?  What feels important to you?

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Excerpt:

“Who said anything about a relationship?” he said, standing up so he could tower over her again. “I’m just trying to have a little fun. You know, fun?”

If he’d been an animal, she was sure he’d have had hair raised on the back of his neck, he seemed so angry, and it struck her painfully. She hadn’t wanted to anger him or hurt him. She turned away from him and closed her eyes to tamp down the tears she knew would come if she let them. She crossed her arms over her chest, to hold in the pain. Being tired made her much too vulnerable.

“Yes,” she finally said. “I know about fun. Life isn’t always fun, though.”

“Princess.” His voice was soft, tender. “I won’t hurt you. It’s not in my plan.”

Despite herself, she felt the shivers of desire race down from her shoulders, down her arms and legs, and back up to that secret, soft place at her core. She bowed her head and gritted her teeth, hoping for the feeling to go away.

“And what is your plan, Gage?”

“It’s a simple plan. I want you to feel good. I want to feel good, too.”

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

I Make No Apologies


blushing emoji faceA few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast interview with author Marlow Kelly. She and the podcast host talked about why we apologize, or feel we need to, for being “just a romance writer.”  Readers, too, often apologize for reading them.  A shrug of the shoulders, an embarrassed smile, a redness in the face.

But the fact is, the romance genre sells somewhere between $1.3 and $1.5 billion a year.  That’s billion with a “B.”  Romance novels comprise about 17% of the fiction market, bigger than any other genre.  It is about the same sales as all sci-fi and mystery sales combined.

Yeah.  We’re here.  We’re reading, and we’re writing.  Why should we feel embarrassed about that?  We make the publishing world go around.  We earn publishers a lot of money.  Arguments are made all the time about romance being “just for women” and “junk food.”  This may be more a matter of the marginalizing of women than anything else, but the truth is, romance novels are consumed regularly and voraciously by women all over the world.  And women buy and read more books than men.

Thus, the thriving market for them!

I used to apologize for my writing.  I could be found saying, “oh, it’s just a contemporary romance” when people would ask me what I was getting ready to publish.  It is not “just” anything.  My novel took as much work to write as literary fiction.  There was research to be done to create the right setting, create believable characters, and write a plot that (in my case) contained a bit of mystery and suspense along with a standard love story and a Happily Ever After ending.  Writing is not easy.  Writing a believable story is not easy.  Writing characters that a reader will care about is not an easy thing.  Editing is not an easy thing.  Getting a publisher to look at a manuscript is hard.  Getting published is even harder.

I didn’t publish “just” a romance novel.  I published a romance novel.  Let me repeat that in my big-girl voice:  I WROTE AND PUBLISHED A ROMANCE NOVEL.  My novel will be read by women in many walks of life, with many different life circumstances, and for a few hours, I will have given them a romantic escape with my characters.  I didn’t JUST write a contemporary romance novel.  I WROTE A NOVEL.

I am proud of that, and all of my sister-writers should be proud of themselves as well.  No apologies, no blushing, no “just” anything.  Read what you want proudly.  And write what you want, proudly.

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Excerpt:

“Who said anything about a relationship?” he said, standing up so he could tower over her again. “I’m just trying to have a little fun. You know, fun?”

If he’d been an animal, she was sure he’d have had hair raised on the back of his neck, he seemed so angry, and it struck her painfully. She hadn’t wanted to anger him or hurt him. She turned away from him and closed her eyes to tamp down the tears she knew would come if she let them. She crossed her arms over her chest, to hold in the pain. Being tired made her much too vulnerable.

“Yes,” she finally said. “I know about fun. Life isn’t always fun, though.”

“Princess.” His voice was soft, tender. “I won’t hurt you. It’s not in my plan.”

Despite herself, she felt the shivers of desire race down from her shoulders, down her arms and legs, and back up to that secret, soft place at her core. She bowed her head and gritted her teeth, hoping for the feeling to go away.

“And what is your plan, Gage?”

“It’s a simple plan. I want you to feel good. I want to feel good, too.”

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Just One More Thing


PostscriptHave you read a book that had an epilogue?  I have, and I like them.  In fact, I like them so much that I tend to write epilogues myself.  Even thought a story comes to a conclusion, sometimes there is just an extra bit of the story that still needs to be shared.  I like to go beyond the Happily Ever After, and show what happens next.  What happens later.

There’s a video circulating out on the Internet right now, that kind of brings this point home.  These two meet, many years after they parted, and the emotions are strong.  But the story ends at the end of the video.  I want to know what happened next.  I know the story didn’t end there, that is just all of the story they are going to show us.

In Fairest of the Faire, I have an epilogue.  It shows my hero and heroine at a later time, living their lives.  It reinforces the happy ending I had already written and ended the story with.  Like real life, sometimes a novel doesn’t end at the end.  The epilogue helps to wrap up those details for me, both as a writer, and as a reader.

How do you feel about epilogues? Love them?  Hate them?  Think they are a waste of time?  Leave your answers in the comments!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Excerpt:

“Who said anything about a relationship?” he said, standing up so he could tower over her again. “I’m just trying to have a little fun. You know, fun?”

If he’d been an animal, she was sure he’d have had hair raised on the back of his neck, he seemed so angry, and it struck her painfully. She hadn’t wanted to anger him or hurt him. She turned away from him and closed her eyes to tamp down the tears she knew would come if she let them. She crossed her arms over her chest, to hold in the pain. Being tired made her much too vulnerable.

“Yes,” she finally said. “I know about fun. Life isn’t always fun, though.”

“Princess.” His voice was soft, tender. “I won’t hurt you. It’s not in my plan.”

Despite herself, she felt the shivers of desire race down from her shoulders, down her arms and legs, and back up to that secret, soft place at her core. She bowed her head and gritted her teeth, hoping for the feeling to go away.

“And what is your plan, Gage?”

“It’s a simple plan. I want you to feel good. I want to feel good, too.”

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

 

And The Thunder Rolls…


Fairest of the Faire book coverThere are better times for tornado sirens and severe thunderstorms to happen.  I’m sure there is.  But here it is, the night before Fairest of the Faire’s release, and we are getting sirens, hail, rain, and wind.  We’ve had to evacuate to the basement twice when the sirens went off.  Tornadoes have touched down just north and west of my home along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado.  We never get tornadoes this far west. There is understandably a bit of freaking out going on right now.  Even though I’m from the Midwest, and have only lived here four years, I have not forgotten the power of the tornado.

But I thought, between thunderclaps and sirens, I’d better get this blog post written about Fairest of the Faire.  So I’m sitting here in my basement, laptop on my knees, tapping this out.

I’m so excited to finally see my book in print, and scared to death that no one will like it.  This has been a long and winding road, with plenty of ups and downs, to get to this place.  Maybe the thunder is an appropriate accompaniment to this momentous event in my life.  I have always loved storms, and was the crazy kid standing on the covered patio watching them roll over the hills toward my childhood home.

So with thunder and lightning and everything exciting, I welcome this new chapter in my life.  If you buy my book, and like it, please leave me a review on Amazon or on Goodreads (no matter where you purchased the book).  I promise, I’m working on a second book, so there will be more of my work to read in the future!

I would love to hear from you – comment here, or look me up on facebook (links below).  In the meantime, here is my book blurb, and an excerpt, to whet your appetite!

Back Cover Blurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Excerpt:

“Who said anything about a relationship?” he said, standing up so he could tower over her again. “I’m just trying to have a little fun. You know, fun?”

If he’d been an animal, she was sure he’d have had hair raised on the back of his neck, he seemed so angry, and it struck her painfully. She hadn’t wanted to anger him or hurt him. She turned away from him and closed her eyes to tamp down the tears she knew would come if she let them. She crossed her arms over her chest, to hold in the pain. Being tired made her much too vulnerable.

“Yes,” she finally said. “I know about fun. Life isn’t always fun, though.”

“Princess.” His voice was soft, tender. “I won’t hurt you. It’s not in my plan.”

Despite herself, she felt the shivers of desire race down from her shoulders, down her arms and legs, and back up to that secret, soft place at her core. She bowed her head and gritted her teeth, hoping for the feeling to go away.

“And what is your plan, Gage?”

“It’s a simple plan. I want you to feel good. I want to feel good, too.”

Buy at Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback format!

Buy at The Wild Rose Press (my publisher).