Posted in Writing

Fiction Based on True Events

Every story comes from somewhere. No writer wakes up on a Tuesday and thinks “It’s time to write my next book. I’ll just roll my character dice and spin the plot wheel, then sit down at my laptop and boom! Bestseller.

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Nope, not gonna happen that way. Something sparks an idea. The idea turns into a story kernel. Then the hard work begins. The development of goals, motivation, and conflict. Coming up with the big black moment, and the smaller setbacks along the way. Figuring out how this happily ever after is right for these characters.

It’s always a little awkward when friends have read my books. Recently someone started reading Swept Away, which was sparked by a real-life event. My husband and his brother went fishing a few years ago and they pulled someone out of the river who had been swept into the rushing water. The rest of the story is completely made up, but people still ask if my husband is “Carson or Cody?”

In all honestly, there’s a lot of my husband in all my heroes. But also a lot of me. And who I wish we could be.

When Hunter Pence was traded to the San Francisco Giants, I got the idea for Worth The Trade. And while I adore his enthusiasm and charisma, the character of Marco Santiago is a figment of my imagination. Besides, Hunter found his own romance heroine and I wish him and Lexi a lifetime of love.

A photo of pitcher Barry Zito caught my eye. He was standing against a backstop with his guitar leaning against the chain-link fence. I knew I had to write a guitar-playing pitcher for Making A Comeback. But Nathan Cooper made a mistake. A big one that could have cost him his career. I needed my character to have taken steroids, despite the fact that the player who inspired him didn’t.

And while I might have had shortstop Brandon Crawford in mind when I first introduced Bryce Baxter, his character didn’t marry his college sweetheart and have three of the cutest kids in the National League like the real player. And by the time I wrote Earning A Ring, Bryce had become his own person.

I’m working on a book featuring a female ballpark announcer. I’ll research Renel Brooks-Moon, but her story is her own, and I’ll only use pieces of her experiences to create my character. And I’ll toss in some backstory inspired by a firefighter I saw sleeping in the laundry room of a La Quinta Inn where I stayed on vacation with my family. None of what happens in the book happened in real life.

I also want to write a small town series, set in a town similar to McCloud, California. But I will make up the town, the people, and the conflicts. The mountain is real, as well as the beauty, but I may need businesses that don’t exist. I’ll need to stretch the truth to tell the story. But I let you know up front that it’s fiction. I may create a hotel or restaurant that looks like one I’ve been to in real life, but what I really want is for the reader to picture one they’ve been to. Maybe it’s been a while, or maybe it’s their own weekly hangout.

The same thing goes for names. I work at a school and it’s impossible for me to use names that aren’t shared by students, staff, or families.

Of course, as a romance writer, I will occasionally get the wink, wink, nudge, nudge “So the love scenes?” Yes they are based on real life experiences, and other books I’ve read, and movies, and fantasies, and pure imagination. If the reader is trying to figure out which part is which, then I didn’t do a very good job with those scenes.

 

 

 

Posted in Adventure, Books

Get Swept Away by a Good Book, Not The Storm

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.

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Here is a picture of the American River last summer.

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And earlier this week.

 

Stay safe, stay dry, stay inside with a good book. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Reflections on 2016 and Looking Ahead to 2017

It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone. I know a lot of people are looking forward to the New Year with hope. “Maybe 2017 will be the year when I (insert dream here).”

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For those of you hoping to finally achieve whatever goal you’re hoping for, whether it’s better health, financial freedom, or following a long-held dream, I say go for it. It’s not too late, and it’s not too soon, either. Of course, dreams don’t always come true on our timelines, but they never come true if they remain only dreams.

But before I think about what I want to accomplish in the next year, I need to reflect a bit on what I did do in 2016.

I released three books in 2016.

Earning A Ring, More Than A Game 4 came out in January

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Swept Away, A Swift River Romance 1 released in July

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And right before Christmas, In Too Deep, A Swift River Romance 2 came out.

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I attended my second Romance Writers of America National Conference in San Diego. I got to meet my publisher, several of my fellow Kensington authors and some of my favorite authors. I cried through Robyn Carr’s Lifetime Achievement Award and laughed with my new best author friends.

I celebrated my 23rd Wedding Anniversary with my husband.

My oldest son graduated from High School and my youngest son graduated from Middle School.

My Senior went to the State Ski Championships in Mt. Shasta.

My younger son went to Italy with his grandparents and aunt  uncle.

We took a family trip to Wilson, Wyoming, near Jackson and the Grand Tetons.

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We spent most summer weekends on the river, where my oldest boy worked as a raft guide and the rest of us played in our own raft, bringing friends and family along for the ride.

And we will end the year where we began it, on top of Mt. Shasta, for night skiing and celebration.

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Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year.

Posted in Books, Romance, Uncategorized

In Too Deep, A Swift River Romance #2

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.

Oh, baby!
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?

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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.

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Posted in Books, Random, Teenagers, Uncategorized

December Birthdays and New Releases

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.

 

Posted in Books, Romance, Writing

What I’m Working on Now

Taking a quick break from edits on Diving In, A Swift River Adventure #3 to update you on new releases, sales, and upcoming projects.

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In Too Deep, A Swift River Adventure #2 will be out December 20, 2016

Swept Away, A swift River Adventure #1 is on sale for 99 cents until December 4.

I’m working on a proposal for a new series, a small-town romance series set in a fictional Normal, California, located at the base of Mt. Shasta. The former mill town and its residents is dealing with growing pains as tourism increases. Healing crystals, fly-fishing, and skiing are just some of the reasons people are coming to Normal. Love that’s bigger and more majestic than the mountain are reasons they stay.

I haven’t quite given up on my More Than A Game series. I have three more books in the planning stages. I have a third baseman, his twin sister who happens to be a better ballplayer than him, but chose to enter sports medicine, a groundskeeper, a ballpark announcer, a cocky new catcher, and a rookie infielder are all looking to score.

I’ve also updated my website.

And as always, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter and I’m trying to figure out Instagram.

 

Posted in Books, Romance, Uncategorized

Swept Away, A Swift River Romance Book 1, On Sale Now

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With the upcoming release of In Too Deep, A Swift River Romance Book 2, coming in December, my publisher has put Swept Away on sale for a limited time on Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and Google.

What better way to hold on to summer a little longer than spending long hot days on the river, and longer hotter nights in the arms of a sexy whitewater guide?

Carson Swift may look exactly like his twin brother Cody, but they’re as different as tie dye and camouflage. Reliable, responsible, and usually the designated driver, Carson is also over being his brother’s keeper, but suddenly his plans to break free are complicated by the woman they fish out of Hidden Creek . . .

Lily Price is not your typical damsel in distress. Infidelity, infertility, and downsizing provide a triple threat to her ego, but falling into the swollen river nearly ends her life. If not for the handsome stranger—make that two handsome strangers—she might not have had a chance at having a baby by any means necessary . . .

As Carson helps Lily overcome her fear of the river, she helps him save his rafting business from going under. She also saves him from abandoning all that is important to him in order to get a taste of freedom. Together they find that love is the ultimate adventure.