Do Overs, Mulligans, and other Second Chances
I don’t know about you, but when I look back on the unrolling spool that is my thread of life, I sometimes forget about the sinuous curls of discovery, the multicolored braids created with family and friends, or the shining ribbon that is purpose. Nope, I see the snags clear as day–probably because I am an inveterate perfectionist and can rarely sit back and enjoy something for what it was. I always see the flaws first.
I think that’s especially true of those “The Road Not Taken” moments where you have one path that bends in the undergrowth and the other, grassy and wanting wear. Apologies for the shameless theft from Robert Frost, but if there’s a man who understands lost opportunities, it’s Frost. We make a choice that seems right at the time, but we always wonder what would have happened if we’d gone the other way instead.
I have a bunch of these moments in my life, like choosing the tiny private college out of state instead of taking the scholarship to the big university whose football team is on TV every Saturday. Dating that one guy twice and not getting engaged either time. Resisting the urge to go to law school after the GRE scores came in. Staying in my high school classroom instead of making the leap to the university level. Cooking dinner for a man I hardly knew as a first date and talking about religion and politics the whole night (I married that one). All of those, in retrospect, were exactly right for me.
But what about the others, the ones you’re sure you should have done differently? I have a few of those as well. Like not buying Apple stock in the late 80s. Not taking political science or rhetoric classes, which I would have adored. Or saying yes to that nice young man who asked me to be his date to the West Point Hop because I had a boyfriend. THE WEST POINT HOP, ladies. That boyfriend turned out to be a dud, so I totally should have frozen my toes off in the gray stone castle by the Hudson and gone to the ball with a handsome future officer. (Did I mention he played football for Army? I was so lame as a college freshman.) But then again, who knows? Would I have ended up talking politics and religion with exactly the right man, who most certainly did not go to West Point? I’ll never know. But it’s fun to think about.
In my book The Devil You Know, Domnhall and Calla met young. Like most young people, they both made mistakes and spent far too much time wondering where they went wrong. When they get a second chance, they have to work through a decade’s worth of resentment in order to find their way back to each other.
I had a great time putting Dom and Calla through the wringer–I hope you have just as good a time reading how it all turns out!
I’ll gift a copy of The Devil You Know to one commenter who’s willing to share a do over (successful or disastrous!) in the comments below.
From Nancy : Keep reading for five more chances to win!
Sister Jaunties KathIeen O’Brien, Katherine Garbera and I had the pleasure of working with Mimi on a contemporary romance series called the Scandalous Billionaires, which is set on Italy’s fabled Amalfi Coast. The exclusive Isola del Sole is a billionaires’ playground. Intrigue, adrenaline, and deception rule the day for the wealthy De Luca brothers and their closest friends—but only the right women can ignite their passions during the hot Amalfi nights. For a limited time, the set is available for a special price! But today, in honor of Mimi’s visit, we’re giving away five copies. This prize won’t be available until after the pre-order period, but if you comment today, you just might find one waiting in your in-box on May 3. So, please tell us about your do-over moments and check back tonight at 8pm to see if you’ve won one of the five Scandalous Billionaires sets. We will announce Mimi’s The Devil You Know winner Sunday.
I’m so glad that October is here. The last of summer is fading and it’s fall. I’ve decorated my house with, if I’m honest, maybe too many pumpkins, fall leaves and wreaths, but I love it. I’m transitioning into my favorite long sleeved shirts and my writing gloves and getting ready to bundle up and write about warmer climates. It’s so nice to visit favorite locales in my writing. My imagination is vivid and I can almost feel the heat of the California sun and the smell of the ocean on the wind as I write.
When I was working on EYE CANDY it was the scent of chocolate in Candied Apple and it might have been the bowl of M&Ms on my desk but I could definitely taste the chocolate as I wrote. Okay now I’m thinking that had nothing to do with the power of my imagination. 🙂
Do you have a favorite place that you visit? I’ve lived in a lot of different states and two countries so each one holds a special memories for me. Tell me about you favorite place to be entered to win a copy of EYE CANDY.
In my new book HOW TO MARRY A DOCTOR (July 2015 Harlequin Special Edition) Dr. Jake Lenox and his life-long best friend, Anna Adams, make a bet that that they can find each other’s soul mates within five dates.
Jake said, “…Let’s agree that the first one who succeeds in making a match for the other wins.”
Anna wrinkled her nose. “Knowing you, you’ll let a good woman go just to win the challenge. You’re so competitive.”
“But if you think about it,” he said, “who will be the real winner? One will win the bet, but the other will win love.”
Little do they know, their soul mates have been right in front of them all along.
Friends-to-lovers story is one of my favorite kinds to write. I love the idea of a man and a woman building a relationship on a foundation of friendship. There’s something so solid about it since they’ve gotten to know each other from the inside out.
In celebration of Jake and Anna’s five dates to “true love,” here are five behind-the-scenes facts about the story:
1. Kate Walsh and Jake Gyllenhaal were the inspiration for Anna and Jake.
2. In the story, Anna drives a yellow VW Beetle. That was my first car – and it didn’t have air conditioning.
3. Dr. Jake Lennox makes a brief appearance in my bachelor auction book, CELEBRATION’S FAMILY.
4. I make a Pinterest board for each book I write and pin pictures of my characters, their clothing, the book’s setting and anything else that might serve as a visual for the story. Before the book is published, Harlequin authors have to complete an “art fact sheet” for the art department to use when they’re designing the cover. I usually send them links to the pictures I pin during the course of the book.
5. Before Jake and Anna discover that they’re each other’s perfect match, they had to go on some bad blind dates. I may or may not have drawn on personal experience for a couple of the dates poor Jake and Anna endured. Haha! 😉 Hey, you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince, right?
Have you kissed (or simply dated) any frogs? Tell me about your worst or best date and I’ll give two people who post a copy of HOW TO MARRY A DOCTOR (e-book or print, your choice) so you can read about my –er– Jake’s and Anna’s bad dates.
Love At First Sight
My senior year in high school, I worked afternoons and Saturday mornings as a teller at a local bank. It was a portable building, the kind frequently used to add extra space to an overcrowded school, and it had a walk-in lobby and three drive-thru lanes. I was working the lobby one afternoon when a man I’d never seen before walked in. He went to the opposite counter and filled out a banking slip before approaching my window.
He was tall, with curly brown hair and the bluest eyes I have ever seen. He hands me his deposit slip and asks if I can verify the account number because he just had his eyes dilated and he isn’t sure he wrote it correctly. I recite the account number, then glance to the name, Tim Schliesman. There’s something familiar about the name, but I can’t quite place it. The deposit slip also had a place for the address, which he’d filled in. My heart is doing one of those beat-skip-beat-skip rhythms that made me wonder if I’m actually breathing or not.
Me: “You live at 31 Huck Finn Drive? We’re moving to 21 Huck Finn Drive. We’re going to be neighbors!”
His lack of enthusiasm doesn’t lessen mine. But seriously, he could have cared less about anything I was saying. I finish the transaction and send him on his way, watching his Levi clad butt walking toward the door. He even looks good from behind!
As soon as the building is empty, I wave the deposit slip at my co-workers. “Okay, who knows this guy?” Everyone is shaking their heads. It’s time for Plan B. I call the main bank and ask them to pull his information card. Mainly, I want to know his age. I find out he’s three years older than me, which means he should be in my freshman yearbook.
Cue the Mission Impossible music! I spend the night searching through multiple yearbooks, trying to find him. No luck. I did, however, locate two other guys with the same last name. They are younger than me so I’m guessing they’re his brothers. At this point, there’s really nothing else I can do. We’ll be moving in two weeks, so I wait it out.
Our new house is directly across the street from his. He spends a lot of time doing yardwork and I spend an equal amount of time watching him. Then I get this brilliant idea to work in the yard, too! I pull out some spandex bike shorts and a sports bra and go in search of the lawnmower. Luckily, we have a brand new one. I take off across the yard, mowing an uneven path while waiting for him to notice me. When he finally looks up, I wave and smile. Unfortunately, steering the mower with one hand causes me to hit the culvert under our driveway. The mower makes a horrible screeching sound and smoke rolls from the motor. I’ve just ruined a $300 lawnmower. Ooops!
No more yardwork for me.
By now, the senior prom is approaching and I want *someone* to be my date. Except, he’s never shown any interest in me and I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. I’m completely and totally in love with this guy. Can’t eat, can’t sleep, in love. Instead of going to prom, a group of friends go to dinner and then head to the Holiday Inn for a party. We walk through the front door and guess who is standing behind the desk? Yep, it’s him. He works as a night auditor and I just know he’s going to tell my parents.
He doesn’t. But my brother is friends with his brothers and he spends hours over at their house. He usually comes home and says, “Tim doesn’t know you’re alive!”
By now, four months have passed and it doesn’t seem to matter how many hours I spend watching him from our living room windows. I have to accept the fact that he obviously doesn’t like me and certainly doesn’t want to date me. I have to give up on him.
I’ll never forget that day. I pulled into our driveway after running some errands and he was outside using the weed eater. I didn’t bother to wave, I just went inside. Then I found my favorite window and watched him one last time. I had to give up on love because, obviously, men were stupid.
Ten minutes later, my doorbell rang. When I answered, guess who was standing on the other side? Yep, it was him. All sweaty, covered in grass and looking nervous.
“Hi.” I answer.
“I’m wondering if maybe you’d like to go out for dinner or a movie sometime?” he asks.
It was honestly the last thing I expected him to say, and it took me several seconds to respond. “Sure, I’d love to.”
That was the beginning of a courtship that lasted two years before we married. I like to say, “It was love at first sight…for one of us.”
My hubby always responds, “I was blinded by your beauty.”
Don’t you just love a happy ending?
I’m giving away an autographed copy of Protecting His Brother’s Bride to a North American reader. Here’s your question: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for love? Leave an answer in the comments section by noon on Saturday. Winners will be notified Sunday on the Jaunty Quills blog so be sure to check back.
For more information on Protecting His Brother’s Bride, please check out the following links:
Author FB page = http://bit.ly/JanOnFB
Friend you on FB = http://bit.ly/ChatWithJan
Harlequin Excerpt = http://bit.ly/Jan-Protect-Excerpt
On Sale at Harlequin = http://bit.ly/Jan-Protect-HQ
Kindle = http://bit.ly/Jan-ProtectKindle
Goodreads = http://bit.ly/JanOnGReads
Friday is release day for my first Montana Born book, BEAUTY AND THE COWBOY! It’s the first book in Tule Publishing Group’s Big Marietta Fair series.
A couple of weeks ago, I told you about some of my summer memories that inspired the feel of the book. Today, I want to talk about the music that helped keep me in the zone as I wrote this story.
Every book I write has a soundtrack, but the one for BEAUTY AND THE COWBOY is extra fun. Every song on the list lends itself to the feel of this friends-to-lovers story.
Here’s the playlist:
Goodbye in Her Eyes – Zac Brown Band
Mama’s Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert
I Hope it Rains – Jana Kramer
Springsteen – Eric Church
Sure Would be Cool if You Did – Blake Shelton
Night Train – Jason Aldean
My Eyes – Blake Shelton
I’m On Fire – Bruce Springsteen
I Want Crazy – Hunter Hayes
Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band
Goodbye in Her Eyes fits so well, because as the story opens, Charlotte Morgan, or Charlie, as those closest to her call her, is about to get engaged to the man she’s dated for six years. The only problem is, she has a sinking feeling that this isn’t the happily ever after she’s always dreamed of. The two have dated long distance for a lot of the time they’ve been together and now that they’re about to take the first step toward making the relationship permanent, the ring pinches. Charlie just can’t bring herself to pretend it’s okay. How can she when all she wants to do is get that darned marquise off her finger?
Without giving away too much of the story, the next two songs on the playlist Mama’s Broken Heart and I Hope it Rains give a good hint to what happens next. Thank goodness her lifelong friend, Jesse Guthrie, is there to help her pick up the pieces.
Jesse has had a thing for Charlie for as far back as he can remember, but one of the two of them has always been otherwise engaged…until now. That would account for the next six songs on the list. Give them a listen. They’ll give you a hint as to what happens next.
And then there’s Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown Band. That song is just pure fun and gets stuck in my head. So, I had to include it. Plus, I imagined it playing somewhere in the background as the friends who are edging closer to something more enjoy the Big Marietta Fair.
The fabulous folks at Tule Publishing put together a collection of videos for each of the songs. Here’s a link: BEAUTY AND THE COWBOY video playlist
After you click on the first one, the rest play automatically.
One song I wish I would’ve added to the list is Rick Springfield’s Jesse’s Girl. Let’s consider it a bonus track.
What’s your favorite song on the playlist? Or if you’d rather, tell me your favorite song that’s not on the list. One person who posts will win a Kindle copy of BEAUTY AND THE COWBOY. I’ll post the winner’s name on Sunday.