Back in the Saddle

Horse and rider looking at the mountainsBack in the saddle.

Maybe. I don’t have a horse. Not even sure I know how to ride one.  Be that as it may…

It’s been a long year.  Really, a long 18 months.  So much in my life has changed in this time, that I really do feel like I’ve lost myself somewhere. My marriage is over, I’m living life as a single mom again, I’m working working working to keep busy, plus pay the bills, and it is just my youngest daughter and I trying to conquer the world.  Not the life I had seen in all those times I gazed into the future.

I think I kept things together pretty well the first six months or so.  But the last year…it’s just been a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of tears, a lot of reorganizing my life and my house and my finances, and a lot of helping my teenager navigate our new normal. That last thing takes the most effort, and as a mom, I have put myself on the back burner a lot. I don’t regret that, but I do miss me.  The me that could get through to-do lists like a champ, who could always see the happy in the darkness, who could always find a way to get through.  I am still here, so I guess I’ve still got that last thing going for me.

But with a new year comes new resolutions, and I set them just like everyone else.  But this year, those resolutions were a very short list.

1. Stop finding a reason to cry about something every day.

2. Get back in front of the keyboard and finish something already!

Today is January 7th, and I’ve got the first thing under control. So far so good. Not that it hasn’t taken a great amount of effort, but this is a chapter of my book that I need to close. Looking backward is only useful to assess your history and plan an how you will use your future.  Beyond that, it is time to stop staring at what is gone.

That second thing…

That takes some real guts, and ambition. I have struggled so much to get that second novel finished. I’ve stretched myself so thin in other ways. I still have my side/second business in addition to my day job, and I won’t be giving that up. That side work will help me fund my retirement, which, while still 8 years away, is close enough for me to be paying much more attention to.  I started a craft business last year, mostly doing shows, but have an Etsy shop. The crafting, for me, is very zen.  I can sit in front of my sewing machine for hours, working on projects, ripping out mis-sewn seams, and get up from that feeling refreshed and whole. While it hasn’t been a huge success, yet, I am enjoying it, and again, it will be something I can do in my retirement.

But the stories in my head deserve to be out on paper (or screen, as the case may be) and it’s time for me to devote as much time to that as I do to the crafting. And it isn’t going to get done unless I sit in front of the keyboard and get things written. How I do that other than to sit down and write, I don’t know. I still am not in a position to write every day, but writing once a month isn’t going to cut it either.  LOL

But since I only have two resolutions, I should be able to do this, right? I did it before, and Fairest of the Faire is something I’m really proud of.  I need to feel that pride again. It’s time for me to turn this completed chapter of my life, and get back to work.

What are your new year’s resolutions?  I’d love to hear them!



*scratch scratch*

*scratch scratch scratch*

Danged mosquitoes!  Serves me right for getting into the weeds.  But there were blackberries there and I just had to have some. So sweet and juicy.

So how is Camp Nano going, you ask?  Quite well, actually.  This past week I was able to take two separate scenes and finally get the transition between them in place.  Since I’m writing this novel by breaking my own rules, I wasn’t sure whether I”d ever get to this point.  I wrote one of the scenes a couple of months ago, and the other one a few weeks ago, and this week, was able to transition between.  It was a really great feeling to have put them together – like finding that last edge piece on a jigsaw puzzle that brings the whole thing together.

Of course this is just one transition out of dozens that need to be written, but still, I proved to myself that it could be done, and I’m feeling better and better about where I’m going.  This week’s goal is to get the party scene written.  This has been hanging over my head forever, and I know how I want it to end, but can’t figure out how to get there.  I’ve been scratching some notes in the dirt next to my cot, but then I step on them and they are gone.  I should probably use a pen and paper, but when I light the lamp so I can see, the skeeters get me!

If you’re doing Camp Nano, let me know how you’re progressing!  This is the first year I’ve done camp that I feel like I’m actually getting something accomplished!

Oh, Loretta

What seems like a long time ago, but is really only about six years, I was part of a writing group that met every Wednesday at the local library.  I lived in a semi-rural area, kind of like I do now, and the library was a great gathering place.  It had been built in an old grocery store that backed up to thick woods, and sat in a plaza with a very authentic Mexican food restaurant, and a Shell gas station.  That’s how it is in rural areas – things are tucked in the strangest places.

Our group was small – a couple in their 40’s who drove from the city out to our meetings, a 30-something woman who had just been published by The Wild Rose Press (my publisher, who I was contracted with in 2014), myself, and Loretta.

Loretta was by far the most interesting person in our group.  She was 84 years old and “finally living her dream of writing.”  She had wanted to be a writer all her life.  She was full of stories.  She was working on a “true” story that involved people at the local VFW hall bar, aliens, mad cows, swamp gas, and murder.  She would read excerpts to us at our meetings, and it didn’t take long for me to look forward anxiously to the next chapter of her story.  It was fantastical stuff, written in awful format, but the story was enough to keep you interested.  She even wrote a “short” story for our non-juried anthology, in which we published stories from our group and from another writing group in the area.  A Tongue in Cheek History of Jefferson County was published the summer before I moved from Missouri to Colorado.

One of the things we did as a writing group was to give ourselves challenges.  I wasn’t fully invested in my novel-writing at that point, but the writing challenges gave me some inspiration to work with.  Sometimes, I provided a prompt from my Write-Brain book, which had a lot of prompts to work with.  We wrote to “the first thing I noticed was the splotch of catsup on his white shirt,” and “Down in the swamp,…” But Loretta’s favorite writing challenge was the six-word challenge.  All of us would provide six words that needed to be used in a story, giving us 30 words to work with.

Loretta’s favorite “word” was “cobalt blue.”  Yes, that’s two words, but we’re talking about Loretta, and no one ever had the heart to call her on “cobalt blue.” Any time we did this challenge, that would be her first contribution.  She loved that phrase. And to be honest, it made is be really creative about our stories.

I was able to use cobalt blue, along with all the other words, in a story I wrote that deserves to be a whole novel.  I love that story, and the main character, Bernice.  If it weren’t for Loretta, I wouldn’t have that story.

I am pretty sure Loretta is no longer on this earth.  I have no way of checking, as I’ve lost contact with the people in that writing group.  But I will never forget Loretta.  Every evening when the sun goes down, and the sky turns that deep, colorful blue you get at twilight, I think of Loretta.  Any time I see a blue dish, or a young lady with blue hair, I think of Loretta.  When I think of writing fantastical stories with aliens, or I pass a VFW hall, I think of Loretta.

And when I read my short story, called “Bernice,” I think of Loretta.  The story is published online, and maybe you’ll take a click over and read it.

As always, I’d love to have your comments.  And is there someone in your past that you will never forget, where certain sights or smells or sounds will bring that person back to life in your mind, even though they are long gone?


Fairest of the Faire

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.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Truth or Fiction?

Photo of a man and woman from the knees down, standing close togetherOnce upon a time, there was a girl and a boy. She was standing in line outside her professor’s office door, ready to fight to the death over a final grade she didn’t feel she deserved. If she knew why he was there, she doesn’t remember, or never knew. But she was upset, and he was there, standing in line with her. She noticed his skin, smooth as a model’s, and the way his voice rumbled up out of his chest and sounded like music, and the strange green color of his eyes – not hazel, not emerald, but something in between. At one point he touched her shoulder, to calm her, she supposed, but then she could feel his voice through his fingertips and she was lost.

Her memories of him are specific. The 1972 Ford LTD he drove, with mud behind the wheels because he was a farm boy and farm boys didn’t believe in washing cars no matter how much mud got on them. The way he laughed, his teeth all white and straight and his head tossed back. The way he held her hand and it never got sweaty or uncomfortable. The way he looked at her; like she was the only thing in his world, as if he were (and probably was) listening intently. The way he kissed her, his hand on her cheek or fingers slid into her hair to keep her close. The way his black cowboy hat with the thin silver band covered his face in shadow, making him mysterious.

All they ever did was kiss. No more than kiss. They kissed at the door when he returned her to her dorm after a date. He kissed her at stop lights, leaning far over the console while she giggled and tried to play hard to get. He kissed her under darkened stone archways on campus as they walked home from some event or other. He kissed her by the big lake that every college student hung out next to either to drink or make out or just to stare at the stars. He kissed the back of her neck when she was trying to play Ms. Pacman at the local pizza joint. He never missed a chance to kiss her.

They kissed goodbye when the semester ended, and he went home to Iowa, and she to Missouri, and they wrote letters to each other. Long, eloquent letters talking about what they were doing, looking forward to the return of the fall semester. He sang at rodeos and opera houses and helped his dad put up hay and round up cattle. She worked in a factory and read smarmy romance novels and went swimming and worked in the family garden. Once, in July, he visited, driving down from Iowa to go with her and her family to a lake for a long weekend. He swam in the lake with her, and rowed her around in a boat, even though he was afraid of the water. He fished with her father and helped the little ones catch lightning bugs at dark. He said please and thank you and yes ma’am and her parents thought he was a fine young man. She blushed just to say his name.

But when fall came, and she headed back to university eager to see his green eyes and feel his lips on hers and his hand holding her hips close to him, he met her with a stony stare. “Jesus wouldn’t like what we did last spring,” he said. Her face fell in shock, her heart stopped beating, and she reached for him, but he backed away.

She never saw him again. But for years, for many many years, even until today, she wonders about the what-ifs. What if he had not gotten religion? What if she had reached again, and touched him? What if she hadn’t given up so easily? She heard about him over the years through a mutual friend, and he stayed his path, which surprised her. That velvet voice could have made him a millionaire a thousand times over, but instead he became a preacher, and married himself a proper girl who didn’t kiss boys in the back seats of cars or under darkened archways or at stop lights, and fathered five little girls. She imagined the little girls with his dark hair, olive skin, and incredible green eyes. She imagined them living in a little white house in town, with a vegetable garden and a picket fence and clothes strung up to dry on the line, all wearing white dresses and black shoes, while he wore his preacher’s collar and spoke eloquently in that velvet voice, while everyone stopped to listen.

And she wondered, always wonders, “what if,” even when it makes her heart hurt a little to think of him.


The story you just read is true, and I am that girl.  I didn’t share it because of its sadness.  I shared it because of its beauty, its joy, its memory.  I shared it because it is good to remember beauty, and love, and how wonderful it is to be able to love, even when the love ends.

Love is strange.  It excites and thrills, but it can also bring a deep despair.  Decades can go by, and a lost love can still keep place in one’s heart. But love is life and there are few regrets when it comes to love.  As a writer of romance, this is even more my truth than it might be for someone else.

Do you have a real-life love story?  I’d love to read it.  Please share in the comments!


Fairest of the Faire

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.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)


Writing With the Group

writing at the coffee shopI found a new writing group.  I’ve gone three times, and with the exception of the last time, when there was entirely too much talking from one of the members, it has been a good thing.  As I struggle and struggle with trying to get that second book written, I am using anything and everything to try to push my writing forward.  That’s the way most of us do it, right?  When the first thing doesn’t work, you try the second thing, the third thing, the millionth thing. This is one of those things.

I like writing groups, for the most part.  Getting out of the house to write does make a difference in how my brain works.  I have a lovely home office with a lovely view of my shade garden in the back yard, and a happy cat who is more than willing to sit nearby and offer me her silent judgment moral support. The problem is the home office is in the home.  There is wash to be washed, dishes to make their way into the dishwasher or dish drainer (yes, I live with people that are not so fastidious), weeds to be pulled from the garden beds or water to be put on garden beds, a basket of peaches on the counter ready to turn into jam, a baby quilt needing to be stitched, or that Ted Talk I want to listen to.

The coffee shop has terrible wi-fi but great coffee.  And in a group, there are other people trying to make their goals.  Listening to what they are working on is inspiring sometimes.  “The first thing I noticed was the blood,” one of the writers tells me.  That is his opening line.  He is his mother’s sole caregiver – she has dementia.  Getting out to write helps him to not go insane.  “Let me tell you about the iron bird,” another writer tells me. She’s 70-ish, retired, and hand-writes in the most beautiful handwriting.  She reads a short passage from her WIP, about a wadi in the dessert, that is surrounded by surreal and amazing creatures, including the iron bird.  She describes the sound of the iron bird’s movements in wonderful, lyrical language.

And me?  I’m writing a scene about a car crash and redemption.  My words are not as beautiful, but I’m getting thee story down, and I will go back and make it more beautiful.  At least, I hope so.

But sitting with writers with such talent makes me want to go back to my back-burner project, the story about Bernice.  She is on the Spectrum, and she is amazing. Bernice has a story to tell, if I ever have time to devote to her.  I have a kind of long bit of her story, if you’re wanting something different to read.  You can read it here.

Do you like writing groups?  Are you part of one or do you have a group of people you regularly write with?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Wildfires, Monsoons, and Mojitos

This blog post is part of the Authors of Wild Rose Press Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop! There is a Kindle Fire giveaway (see end of post!).

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Wildfires, Monsoons, and Mojitos

I work, live, and create in Colorado.  Most people think that means I must live on the top of a mountain somewhere, and it snows year-round.

But Colorado is a diverse place.  I live at “altitude,” but not in the mountains.  Most of Colorado is higher than 3500 feet above sea level.  My town sits at 4,987 feet above sea level.  But the mountains, or at least the start of the foothills, are some 10 miles west of my town, and the highest peaks are 50 miles away or more.  I live in what is considered the “high plains,” but the mountains are pretty much in my back yard.  And I have been here five years, and have yet to see snow earlier than the first weekend of October, or later than Memorial Day.

Okay, so yeah, it can snow here into near-summer.  But like many areas of the country, our climate has its extremes.  When summer finally comes, we bake under a merciless sun.  And that whole thing about thin air and being closer to the sun?  That is all true.  Sunburns can happen in January.  I know, I’ve gotten a sunburn in January.

We’ve had several over-100-degree-days this summer, and I don’t care where you live, whether the air is dry or not, 100 is hot.  HOT. And with hot, dry air, and a blazing sun, and crazy pop-up high-based thunderstorms with lightning, we get fires.  Hot, scorching, mountain-burning fires that go for days.  This year, we have had several fires, and two are still burning madly, gobbling up thousands of acres of pine trees and brush.  Many of us are hoping desperately for an early monsoon season.  Monsoon here is when we get Pacific moisture moving up from the south, mixing with wind from the mountains, which creates intense bursts of rain that raise the humidity but also keep the ground wet.  Wet ground = no more fires.

But in the meantime, we are all looking for ways to stay cool.  Many Coloradans head uphill, into the moutains, where temperatures are 30-40 degrees cooler. That cool air comes with a nice breeze, but a warm sun.  It’s as close to heaven as one can come!  But if I can’t go uphill, then I look for shade.  In a dry climate such as ours, finding a nice tree to lounge under can make all the difference.  Add in a cool, refreshing drink, and suddenly that 100 degrees doesn’t feel so bad. I am blessed to have a shady yard, and pretty flower gardens, so hanging out in my favorite wicker chair in the back yard with a tasty drink in one hand and a great summer read in the other is one of the most relaxing things I can do.  And my favorite drink?  My own personal take on a mojito!

Susabelle’s Perfectly Cool Mojito

  • 10-12 mint leaves
  • 1/2 lime, cut in wedges
  • 4 slices cucumber (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1 1/2 ounces rum (I only use Bacardi Gold)
  • Ice

In a bowl or deep glass, place the mint, limes, and cucumber.  Mash vigorously with the end of a knife handle or wooden spoon to macerate and remove the juices.  Strain this mixture into a glass, being sure to press all those juices into your glass. Add the rum, club soda, and as much ice as you’d like.  Stir well.  Garnish with a lime wedge, cucumber slice, and mint sprig.  Enjoy!

(Mojitos are versatile and can be made with any number of cool summer ingredients. The only requirement is mint, lime, and rum. I’ve used melon – honeydew or watermelon – and berries as well! Experiment!)

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Bookiversary and a Kick in the Pants

In all the hubbub of the Wedding That Never Was and having a house full of guests for the last four weeks, I missed my Bookiversary!  June 5, 2015, Fairest of the Faire was released to an unsuspecting public by my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.  Millions, er hundreds, er, dozens were sold.  Well, not that many dozens.  Like two dozen.

I didn’t really expect more than that, though.  First books are a hard sell.  It takes a few books to build a solid readership.  It can be the best book in the world, that first one, but there are a lot of books out there, and a lot of choices, and that’s just the way it is.  There are a whole lot of Susabelle Kelmers out there, and not that many Stephen Kings and Neil Gaimans.  Not that I’d EVER put myself in that second category!

I’m badly in need of a kick in the pants to get going and finish that second book.  I can blame my lack of production on a lot of things, starting with work, family obligations, taking care of a house and a garden, etc.  And those things do get in the way, but there are still moments that I could use more effectively.  I never seem to be able to find the time to write, or the time to read.  A woefully tall stack of novels sits in my closet waiting to be read, while their smaller stack on my nightstand whine pitifully at me when I try to sleep.  Just last night, I finally picked up the Mary Jane’s Farm magazine I bought before Easter and read the first 30 pages or so.  They are talking about naturally dying Easter eggs, and the best chicks to buy for your newly-built henhouse.  Chick season is long gone, and I won’t be coloring any boiled eggs for quite some time.

Today is July 2nd, and yesterday started Camp Nano, an offshoot of NaNoWriMo, and I’m going to be punching that keyboard and trying to get my novel finished.  I’ve set a modest 20K-word goal for the month, but it sure would be nice to end up with a finished rough draft.  So I’m going to be pushing myself, and hoping that some of my writer friends can poke me and prod me and remind me of my priorities.  I need to get back on the writing train, focus my energies better, and write that story I know I have inside me.

Feel free to hit me with your nagging, ideas for keeping on track, and anything else you think might help me. 🙂



What Never Was

Wedding DressesI know I’ve been MIA for the last two months or so.  I’ve been on a runaway train.  At least, that is what it has felt like.  You see, my daughter was getting married.  There were halls to book, ministers to talk to, rental chairs to acquire, caterers to visit, cakes to taste, and wedding dresses to alter.  There were bridesmaids dresses to sew and decorations to buy and discussions about colors.  Once we were all on the train, it only sped up, and we didn’t even have time to breathe.

You will notice that I said she “was” getting married.  On Friday, two weeks before the wedding, everything came to a screeching halt. It was more than cold feet.  My daughter and her intended not only called off the wedding.  They called off the whole relationship.  There is a wedding dress in my closet with pins where the hem should be.  There are three enormous plastic bins of decorations, paper products, etched glasses for the head table, and bags of bubbles cluttering up our guest suite.  There are five cases of water, six cases of Capri Sun, and 500 plastic drink cups taking up residence in a corner of the living room.  There are checks written to be mailed to the caterer, the minister, the hall, and the DJ.

And we sit, somewhat stunned by the sudden stop, and the overwhelming nature of what needs to be done next.  Notifying guests, canceling reservations, figuring out what to do with all the “stuff” that fills the house.

All of this, I suppose, will make a good story some day.  Or perhaps I’ll be able to use some of this experience in one of my novels.  But after two months of not even thinking about writing, I’m feeling pretty danged rusty.  And I will probably not have a lot of time to write until the end of June, as we deal with the fallout from this major life change, and also while there are still family in town.  Most of the family has decided to come anyway, and have a vacation instead.  And since we live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, I say, “why not?”  Come on out.  I already have the vacation time scheduled.  I’m happy to show you around, ad happy to spend time with you, even if the circumstances aren’t what we had originally planned for.

June 2016 will always be, in my mind, “What Never Was.”  As a planner, as a Type-A personality, when things go wrong or change drastically, it is a difficult adjustment.  But I can do this.  And bottom line, this breakup was for the best, and my daughter is a very strong, very brave young woman who knew she couldn’t go through with the marriage, and knew that to cancel was the right thing to do.  I’m very proud to have raised such a girl.

A Clear Head

Trees in Seaport Village, San DiegoI apologize for the lack of a post last week, but I was visiting beautiful San Diego, California.  It was a work thing for my day J.O.B., which means I was stuck inside most of the day.  But since Daylight Savings Time was in effect, I had two hours of sunshine to enjoy after each day’s activities.  I’m not one of those that goes to the after-conference gatherings to drink and socialize.  I’m much happier going out and taking a walk, sitting and enjoying the scenery or people-watching (doesn’t every author engage in people watching?), and decompressing for the day with a good book.

Something about traveling for my job, not only do I get to learn new things and network with colleagues from all over the country, but I get a lot of “thinking” time.  And thinking time can usually mean working on my novel in my head.

And I did a lot of that last week.  As I struggle with making my characters real, and building a story that gives those characters something to do, that thinking time is exactly what I need.  When I’m home, there is laundry, meals to be cooked, the television is blaring in the other room, my daughter may be (badly) practicing her flute.  There are phone calls to make, bills to pay, floors to mop, gardens to weed… One would think I could do some thinking while folding a load of warm towels fresh from the dryer, but apparently not.  I’m usually thinking about the next chore that needs to be done.

Away from home, my only concern is where I’m going to have dinner that night, and what time I should go to bed in order to be up at a reasonable hour the next morning for my next session.  No cleaning, no bed-making, no meal preparation.  Easy-peasy.

So my brain wanders off a lot.  What if the purposely distanced father decides he wants to have more to do with the daughter he abandoned all those years ago?  What if my artist heroine shows her obsession with the hero, the guy she has known most of her life, by putting his face in every mural she paints around town?  And that hero, a butcher, but also a musician, what would happen if he could hear the ghost that the heroine hears?  How would he react, and what would he do about it?  And could he give up his learned career to make music instead?

Plenty of puzzle pieces there to work with.  But with thinking time, those puzzle pieces are slowly falling into place.  Not forced, but by shaking everything out and seeing where it lands.  The puzzle pieces that don’t fit are slowly being discarded into the bag of Ideas For Another Novel.  As the puzzle pieces fall into place, a path becomes clear for me to write that story.

If you’re a working mom, how do you find your “thinking time?”  Do you fight with your puzzle pieces the way I do?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Oh, and just for your amusement…apparently this week one of the boats on the San Diego Pier lost control and crashed. I’m posting a video of it below.  This is the same place I was last week, and one of the boats in the background of the video (the Cabrille that you can see just to the right as the Hornblower is coming in fast) is the ferry boat I would take between the mainland and Coronado Island during the week.  Kinda scary stuff!

The Cooking Heroine

Green beans

Some of my home-grown green and royal purple string beans.

My heroines are sometimes so much like me.  Or maybe, I just feel compelled to insert some of myself into them.  After all, who do I know better than myself?  But one thread running through all of my heroines is that they cook.  Every work-in-progress, my published novel, all have a heroine who cooks.  In Fairest of the Faire, Connie makes a mean buckwheat pancake.  In Second Chances, my terrible self-published novel, Genevieve runs a bed and breakfast.  The entire story is sprinkled with her cooking.  In my current WIP, my heroine cooks some plum-braised pork chops, and uses her own canned peaches to flavor her fresh-simmered steel-cut oats.  The historical novel I’ve been piddling with for the last ten years has a heroine who spend all of her time in the kitchen on an Italian estate.  Another WIP that I drag out and work on once in a while woos the hero with a home-cooked Italian meal, even though she has spent much of her adult life traveling the country in an RV as a freelance photographer.

It’s all about the food.

Maybe it’s because I’m fluffy.  Maybe it’s because I like to cook.  Maybe it’s because I like food.  Maybe it’s a result of my generation, where women did cook, and cooked a lot.  Or more likely, it’s how I bring my heroine back to earth.  It’s a way of making her “real” in a way.  I often refer to my heroines as “sweet,” and my stories are sweet as well.  So having a cooking heroine seems natural to me.  Her appeal to most men would be pretty assured.  At least in my mind.

I have read books that were sprinkled with recipes, or where the heroine was a caterer or baker, and there would be recipes at the back of the book that I could try myself.  I always like these types of books.  It’s like getting a bit more for your money.  “Look!  Free recipe!”

I know I don’t think about it consciously.  It is just something that sort of happens.  I am fascinated by recipes, never pass a facebook post with a recipe without clicking, and pick up used magazines from the free table at the library if they have a recipe on the cover.  I love to cook, and spend a lot of time in my kitchen working with delicious ingredients.  Maybe I missed my calling somehow.  Maybe I should have become a television chef.  The thought amuses me.

What down-to-earth things do you have your heroine do?  Is the purpose to make her more “real,” more like a woman you would actually meet in real life?  Do you talk about cooking in your novels?  Let me know in the comments!