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.
When I was fourteen years old I was moaning the fact that I would never have a boy friend. It seemed that every time I liked a boy he liked another girl. I was destined to be an old maid.
My mom laughed and sat on my bed and shared a story of what she called her first love, her lost love. I listened as she told me how before she’d met my dad the small Cajun man with laughing eyes and black wavy hair, she had loved a tall blond man that could sing like a professional and when they danced she felt like her feet never touched the floor. They dated under the watchful eyes of my grandmother for almost a year.
My mom was not allowed to go on a date without her mother accompanying them. But it became too much for my mom’s man she loved with all her heart. He asked permission to take her on an afternoon drive, just the two of them. His request was denied. His pride and I guess his honor was questioned. He told mom that he couldn’t do this anymore and that if he wasn’t trusted now he probably never would be so he walked away, saying he would not return but for her to know that he loved her and would never love another.
Broken hearted she moved to New Orleans to live with an Aunt, where she later met my dad, and after a long while they married. Years went by and I was born, and when my grandmother came to help she told my mom that her first love had returned shortly after mom moved to New Orleans, but my grandmother refused to tell him where she’d gone.
Years later she sat next to my dad in the hospital when she heard a familiar voice. She knew without looking up it was him but there he stood in his dress blues, he was now a service man. She said she so wanted to talk to him and have closure, but just then she and my dad were called into the doctors office. He never saw her.
My dad died at the age of fifty-five and my mother came to live with us, many an afternoon she and I would sit on my front porch and she would recount her past, and the stories would almost always turn back to him. She wondered if he’d ever married, if he knew she thought of him? My mom and I decided to look for him, and that we did for years, but every lead turned into a dead end. She died at the age of eighty-four, without closure between she and her first love. But before she died she did find out from her brother, that he had run into the man ten years before and that he’d never married. He told my mom’s brother, the good one had gotten away.
So when I wrote the second book in my Bon Amie Series, SNOW ON MAGNOLIAS, a secondary romance story was born about a young girl and a young soldier, it is one of my favorite parts of this book. Maybe because in my own way I am still trying to give my mom closure.
Have you ever written any personal stories into your books? As a reader do you enjoy knowing the behind the scenes info on the books you read?
Oh by the way that fourteen year old drama queen, did not end up an old maid, I’ve been very happily married to my best friend for 52 years.
Award-winning author, Hattie Mae was born and bred southern, cutting her teeth on cornbread and greens and running barefoot through the canals of her small Louisiana town. So when it came to writing, there was no question as to where to set her books. She’s now writing her fourth book set in Bon Amie, a busy little town nestled in the heart of Cajun country. She’s also published a short story in The Cup Of Comfort For Teachers. The love of books and writing runs in her family, Hattie’s daughter is award-winning historical romance author, Robyn DeHart. When not writing you can usually find her playing with her grandchildren or cooking up some healthy versions of tasty southern fare. She lives in central Texas with her husband and one crazy cat. You can find her online on Facebook, Twitter or via email.