I’m working on a new series. It’s a small town standalone series. In case you don’t know what a “standalone series” is, it’s a series of books that can be read out of order, with each book that can be read on its own. The series is tied in some way, by setting, family, a group of friends, a band of brothers, teammates, etc. But each couple gets their own story and their own HEA (happily ever after).
My new series is set in a fictional Northern California town near Mt. Shasta. You can see why I’m inspired.
The town plays a part in the series, the former mill town is experiencing growing pains as a tourist destination. The residents are struggling with accepting the much needed boost to the economy that an influx of visitors brings, but they fear losing the town’s character and becoming too big, too fast. Having grown up in Tahoe, I know that too many tourists can take away some of the joy in living in such a beautiful spot. I’ve also visited small towns where I couldn’t get a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning because the only coffee shop was closed. Shop owners complained of lack of business while posting signs such as “Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks” next to their limited store hours. The beauty of fiction is that you can have the best of both worlds.
There will be skiing.
Maybe kids and dogs. Colorful characters, run ins with wildlife, a snowstorm or two, family secrets, small town politics, enjoying the sunset, skinny-dipping… what else would you like to see in small town romance?
I write Romance. The tagline I’ve come up with for my books is “Adventure Sports Romance.” This describes both my baseball books and my whitewater rafting series.
I feel like I need to write a disclaimer about my rafting books. My books are more heartwarming than heart-stopping. Kind of like rafting in normal years, where you have a few exhilarating moments scattered along with stretches of beauty and peacefulness and fun.
Even though the first book in my Swift River Romance series opens with a rescue as the meet-cute, the creek Lily is plucked from is really just a small creek, swollen from normal runoff in mid-May. Other than a few bruises and adrenaline overload, she can laugh about the experience over a few beers afterwards.
This year, the river is different. Most years on the South Fork, the biggest risks are sunburn, dehydration, or bumps and bruises from hitting a rock when falling out. Oh, and rattlesnakes. After more than twenty-five years rafting with my husband (with a few years time-out when our kids were little) my only injury was a banged up tailbone from falling out on Troublemaker and hitting a rock ten days before my first RWA National Conference. I still can’t do sit-ups, but I’m okay with that.
This year the water levels are high. Very high.
Notice the helmets, wetsuits, and life jackets. Also, even though this was a private trip, we have two trained guides. My husband has thirty years experience, and my son has done several training trips this spring at high water. While many college kids spent their Spring Break on a beach somewhere slamming beers, my son did a refresher safety course and first aid. He also has a food handling card.
His safety training came in handy over the long weekend. On Saturday, we planned to do a full river trip, which would have taken about four hours at this water level. (I couldn’t tell you what it was running, I leave that to my guides). But the first few rapids were big. And in our old bucket boat, we took on a lot of water. There were no eddies to pull to the side to bail and catch our breath before the next rapid. Also, my husband gave our second bucket to some guys who thought they could just use their helmets to bail. Not a good idea.
Anyway, the river finally slowed enough for us to bail and have a picnic on our boat. The rocks we usually park on are underwater now. My oldest son, the guide, decided to boogie board on a smaller rapid so he put on his fins and got out ahead of us a little ways.
Downriver, on our right we saw some guys with a throw rope and at first thought they were training. Then we saw the bright yellow paddle jacket in the water where they were aiming the rope. My husband quickly rowed to the shore and grabbed his throw rope and ran back up the bank yelling for my son to avoid the bushes as he made his way to shore.
A kayaker had become snagged by her spray skirt on some bushes and couldn’t grab hold of the rope. It took a team of experienced guides, ex-guides, and kayakers to finally pull her free and into one of the other boats. Thankfully she was able to walk with assistance to meet the ambulance that met us at the campground downstream. Fortunately, someone had a satellite phone since cell coverage is limited along the river. Only one company has coverage and residents have fought any additional towers.
She was checked out by the emergency medical crew and as far as I know didn’t need transport to the hospital.
So if you are so inspired by reading my books, that you want to get out on the river, please use an experienced commercial company. I can recommend ARTA River Trips, but there are many other companies with experience and training.
Or if you really want to play it safe, get your thrills from the safety of your eReader.
Pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training. Teams are gearing up for a new season. Baseball is coming. And BETTER THAN PERFECT, the first book in the More Than A Game series is now being offered for FREE! It’s like extra innings for your eReader.
Get ready to fall in love with Johnny Scottsdale and his Goliaths teammates. They’re willing to give it their all on the diamond and in love.
Johnny “The Monk” Scottsdale has won it all on the baseball diamond. He’s even pitched a perfect game. Known for his legendary control both on and off the field, his pristine public image makes him the ideal person to work with young players in a preseason minicamp. Except the camp is run by the one woman he can’t forget…the woman who made him a “monk.”
Alice Harrison once traded her dreams so that Johnny Scottsdale could make it to the Majors—and then everything fell apart. Now here comes Johnny back into her life, just when she’s ready to finally step up to bat. This time she’s not letting up, even if she has to reveal what she’s kept secret for too long from her son and Johnny. She can’t be sure how things will turn out, but she’s not leaving until she swings for the fences…
It’s February, and that means a very special day is coming up this month. On February 14, Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training.
Oh, and I’m told it’s also Valentine’s Day. Which is the perfect time to share a Romance with your sweetie.
Come on, Ladies. How many times have you wished your man has acted more like the heroes of your favorite Romance novels?
And how many times have you Men wished there was some kind of manual to help you understand women?
Guess what. There is hope. Which is at the heart of the Romance novel. And in my More Than A Game series, there is also baseball.
I’ll admit, that I’m especially romantic about baseball. One of the first movies my husband took me to way back when we were dating was Field of Dreams. And for my bachelorette party, I watched Bull Durham with my bridesmaids. Our Anniversaries often involve baseball games. Oh, and a few years ago, my ultra romantic husband bought me Javier Lopez’s batting helmet at the game used store at San Francisco Giants Fan Fest.
And I have a bit of a romantic side myself. I did name the hero of my first book, Johnny Scottsdale, after my husband. Well, the name his cousin used to call him when they were kids to tease him. Cousin Mike told my sweet honey that he wasn’t really a Mathews, his real name was Johnny Scottsdale, and he was left on the doorstep. But I got the last laugh.
So, if you’re looking for a Romance that you can share with your sweetie, I have had several men tell me they enjoyed Better Than Perfect. And it happens to be on sale this month for only 99 cents. Plus, the eBook means they don’t have to worry about their friends seeing the cover.
The other books in my More Than A Game series are good too. And they just might inspire a game of catch, or whatever.
Hope you enjoy celebrating Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training day. It’s the most romantic day of the year. (Unless you’re married to a pitcher or catcher. Then the rest of us thank you for your sacrifice).
California is experiencing major storms this winter. After several years of drought, we’re finally getting a really wet winter. I mean, really, really wet. The local meteorologist said this recent storm has brought us up to 197% of normal precipitation. Wow.
Hopefully, the damage won’t be too bad, and farmers, wildlife, and cities will benefit from replenished water reserves.
Many are looking forward to epic whitewater this summer. I know I am.
When I first started writing Swept Away, the first book in the Swift River Romance series, we had experienced a fairly late winter. My kids were still playing baseball and the first month of the season was hampered by rainouts.
Then we experienced several years of drought. But last year it started to turn around, and with a lot of help from my editor, I revised the book for publication in July.
It’s currently on sale at most major retailers. Only 99 cents to get a taste of whitewater and the ultimate adventure–love.
Here is a picture of the American River last summer.
And earlier this week.
Stay safe, stay dry, stay inside with a good book.
It’s release day. In Too Deep, A Swift River Romance #2 is finally here. It’s the second book in my new series, and my sixth book overall.
For the first time in her life, adventure reporter Miranda Wilde has a plan that doesn’t involve scaling mountains or swimming with sharks. Miranda is about to do something scarier—she’s about to become a mother. Determined to deliver the news to her unborn baby’s father, Miranda arrives in Swift River to find the rugged resort owner with whom she shared an unexpectedly sexy weekend. Except Carson Swift is out of town—on his honeymoon—leaving his twin brother in charge. It’s all Miranda can do not to fall apart in Cody Swift’s strong arms….
Miranda is the only woman who ever tempted Cody to settle down, which is exactly why he doesn’t reveal that he’s the twin who shared those soul-searing nights with her. Cody knows Miranda needs more than a rough-edged river guide to give her the life she deserves. Then he learns Miranda is carrying a baby—his baby—and he’s ready to stake his claim. But can he prove his heart is in the right place—and that this is one adventure they’re meant to have together, for a lifetime?
He could do this. Get her on the river, show her a good time, and somehow find a way to bring up the fact that he was the guy she was looking for, not his brother, Carson. Cody had been kicking himself for not making plans to meet up with her again after their little adventure in the desert. But they’d both made it very clear that a continued relationship was not possible. She lived in San Francisco, but traveled a lot for work, so it would be difficult to connect.
And Cody? He’d never had a relationship that lasted longer than a weekend. And by Sunday he’d felt trapped. So he’d been surprised at how disappointed he was to watch her drive away after five days together. He knew the name of the magazine she worked for and she knew he had his own company in California, but they hadn’t exchanged numbers or any means of communication.
So now he wondered what had made her change her mind. Or was it just coincidence that brought her to his river? His company? Didn’t matter. She wanted a story. He’d give her a story. Hopefully one with a happy ending. Maybe a love scene or two.
“So, Miranda.” Just saying her name brought back memories. How her skin held the day’s warmth like the sandstone. How her smile brightened his nights like the full moon. And her touch? Her touch was like an oasis. “You’ve been on the Yampa. What other rivers have you run?”
“The Salmon, the Pacuare, the Zambezi.” She rattled off the rivers in Idaho, Costa Rica, and Africa as casually as someone might list roadside attractions.
“I haven’t traveled outside of California much.” Cody hoped he didn’t sound too much like a stick in the mud. “I’ve got pretty much everything I need right here. I’ve got my river to run, trails to hike or bike, beautiful women to entertain.”
He flashed his trademark grin, hoping she’d fall for it, like she had back in Utah.
While everyone else is busy with holiday shopping, office Christmas parties, and decorating and baking, I’m trying prepare for the release of my 6th book In Too Deep (A Swift River Romance #2) on December 20th.
I also have the next round of edits on my 7th book, coming out next fall. Oh, and get the proposal finished for the next series.
But I got a little sidetracked by my birthday last Monday. We had a simple celebration, dinner with my husband and two sons. Then my mom came into town and took me to dinner the next night. And we had a Christmas party on Thursday. And on and on it goes.
As I get older, and my kids get older, I have found the joy in doing and buying less. I’m happy with a nice dinner and maybe a warm pair of socks. And the giant barrel of cheese balls my son’s bought me. (Although at least one of them helped me eat the whole thing).
My kids are happy with less, as well. They needed new ski equipment this year and we went ahead and got it now instead of waiting to put it under the tree. Because, hey, there’s snow. And they have already gone up enough to have paid for their passes that we bought them at the end of last season.
I see some clothing and gift cards making their way into the stockings and under the tree. And Hot Wheels, because they are a tradition in our family ever since my oldest was two and would get extremely excited to get a new Hot Wheel.
I wish I could get half as excited by anything as he was over a new car or Thomas train when he was little.
The only thing that comes close is getting a great review on one of my books. Or hitting a bestseller list. That would be a great gift. Even getting a message from a reader telling me that they enjoyed my books is much more meaningful than some trinket or knick-knack or even jewelry.
But I’d be okay with a nice dinner out, a bottle of Boeger wine, and of course books by my favorite authors.