Book o’ My Heart

oldtheaterMy mother and father had a “meet-cute” — an event that brings a “fated” couple together for the first time, usually in a cute, romantic way. She worked at the candy counter in a movie theater in Seattle. He was a cocky, slightly inebriated sailor, just in from Korea.

He flirted with Mom’s best friend, who already had a steady boyfriend, one who was due to walk through the door at any moment. Mom to the rescue. What are best friends for? She stepped over and distracted the handsome but too happy young sailor. Her mission accomplished, she felt pretty good. When the young sailor sobered up, he came back. Several times. And then they eloped.

They eloped all the way to Biloxi, Mississippi. At the end of Dad’s furlough, he left Mom with his family in West Tennessee. My dad was not totally honest and up front with his young bride (she was only seventeen, he was nineteen). He talked long about his home (as in long, tall tale). He told Mom that his mother and step-dad lived on a ranch in the rolling, green hills of West Tennessee. They had horses and cattle.

IMG_4622In actuality, they were sharecroppers who lived in a rickety house. The cows weren’t theirs, and the horses–work horses that pulled a plow. And that house–no indoor plumbing. A fireplace for heat. Bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Grandma cooked on a wood stove. And they raised cotton and corn and everything they needed to live. They worked hard all day long, every day.

No rolling, green hills either. Flat. Dirty. Muddy. Mosquitoes. Snakes. Yuck.

My Mom was from a broken home. She lived with her Mom in urban Seattle and spent summers at her Dad’s in urban L.A. They were middle class. She dressed well, ate well, and was popular in school.

Culture shock. Dad went back to the Navy. Mom stayed with his eldest sister and her husband and young daughter, in a slightly better abode closer to town. With summer came heat and humidity the likes of which, Mom had never experienced. And she was pregnant.

I’ve wanted to tell this story for a long time. I’ve wanted to write it, but each time I tried, I failed. Not long ago, after I had finished re-reading the Book of Ruth, an idea popped into my head–a “what-if.” What if this happened in more modern times. What if I set it in West Tennessee…in the 1950’s? I could combine the two stories I loved so well.

I talked about it–a lot–to everyone I knew. Mom shared more memories. My older brother (the baby in the above narrative), helped me research it. I got excited about it then sat down and began to write.

Last week, it released. Annabelle’s Ruth is that book of my heart. Inspired by the biblical Book of Ruth, and also by my mother’s early experiences.

But wait–I don’t want to leave you with a negative idea of West Tennessee. Seen through Mom’s young eyes, it was not her favorite place, but she spent most of her life there and ended up loving it. My dad could never be far away from it, especially while his mother lived. And it’s roots are deep in my heart. I don’t live there anymore. I live in Kentucky with my husband of more than forty years. I love it here, but I still like to visit West Tennessee. I have family there, and it holds precious memories of Grandma, and the aunts, and numerous cousins.

It gets under the skin of my heroine in Annabelle’s Ruth, too. She finds a reason to love it, sets down roots, and stays.

I hope you’ll love the story I’ve woven from these two threads.

If you’d like the chance to win a free copy of Annabelle’s Ruth (Kindle or print — winner’s choice), then leave me a comment here, or on my Facebook author page (you can also enter the GoodReads contest on the right).

Annabelle's Ruth FRONT final Cover

 

Unlikely Merger – In Progress

11112210_858579607541022_8504991036842170166_oHave you ever worked for a company that was swallowed up by another company? Acquisitions can be painful. Sometimes even fatal (to your job). In the collaborative novella Unlikely Merger, the heroine works for an acquisitions firm. Mercy Lacewell has to learn to choose the right businesses for her father’s company to fund or buy. A wrong decision can cost the firm a lot of time and money. The stress of the position nearly grounds Mercy before she gets started.

I worked for a small civil engineering company that was bought out by a larger architectural engineering company. The buyout was a relief for the owners who were nearly at the end of their rope financially. The employees were dubious. Would we be fired to make room for corporate replacements? If we were retained, would we like our new bosses? What other changes were in store?

These are all concerns that our heroine needed to address when she sat down with prospective companies. What did this acquisition mean in dollars and cents to the employee? Bottom line–what did their future hold? She was inexperienced, but her natural abilities pushed her through this exhausting process.

One of the most difficult requirements of her new position is travel. Based in Denver, she has to fly all over the country to interview and assess the prospective businesses. Each of our chapters deals with a different location. And of course, she meets a different eligible bachelor each time. But Mercy keeps her distance, because she’s a professional, and she’s sort of an introvert. Merger? Unlikely.

IMG-20150130-WA0008But one of these guys will end up as Mercy’s forever. Once again, Write Integrity Press is releasing one chapter a day on their website. Once the last chapter is released, the readers will be invited to vote for their favorite. For more information, and to read the chapters, click the link here:

Write Integrity Press: Unlikely Merger Chapter Two

On July 1st, you can download the book, with its final chapter–the proposal–absolutely free on Kindle. It will remain free through the 5th of July and then, it’ll be 99¢.

AND at some point during the month of June, something BIG is happening here. On this blog. So watch for it. You can also “like” my Facebook author page–right over there (see right margin)–to keep up with what is happening. If you ask me in a comment, either here or on Facebook, you may win a special prize. But you have to ask.

Bonus Materials! Follow the links below for more personalized information about the key characters in Unlikely Merger.

Marji Laine:  Human Icicle

Julie Arduini: If We Could Have been Part of a Company Merger

            Carole Towriss: Dustin’s Detour Bellview Texas

            Jennifer Hallmark: Sacred Journeys by Carole Towriss

Fay Lamb: Meet the Heroes of Unlikely Merger: Dustin Rogers

Port of Call Valentine’s Day

In the wake of my work on The Love Boat Bachelor … I have a confession to make:

I get seasick walking on a pier. I have to ingest heavy doses of ginger to go canoeing or ride on a ferry. For this reason, I have never wanted to take a cruise vacation. I’ve walked plenty of beautiful beaches, and driven over the amazing bridge connecting the Florida Keys. Stood at the southernmost point of the continental USA. I’ve even sailed on a clipper ship–heavily dosed with anti-vertigo medication–as long as I’m pro-active, I’m fine.

Confession: The closest I’ve ever been to a cruise ship.

Though I’d never been on a cruise, I was intrigued by the story idea for The Love Boat Bachelor. After I read Jerusha Agen‘s opening chapter, I knew–I did not want to miss this one, with its ample opportunities for humor and romance. I jumped in head first and had a blast.

Caribbean beach scene

Choosing a destination was difficult for me. They were all so beautiful, but I had never been to any of them. So I went via Google and Pinterest. Each location had its own flavor, offering the best snorkeling, the best dolphin-viewing excursions, the best surfing, etc. So I took the dartboard approach. I landed on … well, you’ll find out when you download the Kindle version of book. The download is FREE for the first three days.

I love an adventure, so if someone offered me the opportunity to go on a cruise, I’d be all in. Maybe I would like it so much, I’d be like the elderly lady who lives on one instead of in a retirement home. Think of it! An attentive wait-staff, housekeeping, all the food you can eat. New adventures every day, new people to meet and get to know. An extrovert’s dream-come-true! But I think even an introvert like me could find something to love about a cruise.

This is my second excursion into the world of collaborative storytelling. And I loved it. It’s a writing prompt. You’re given the details and asked to create a story within certain parameters. It kind of takes the pressure off, but it’s challenging, too. Your chapter becomes a piece to a puzzle that will fit perfectly to create a whole, complete story.

Many, many thanks to Tracy Ruckman of Write Integrity Press for including me in this latest adventure. This is my fifth release and each one is more exciting (for me) than the last. I hope you’ll enjoy reading the finished product, as Brent Teague sets out on the adventure of a lifetime. Settle in, and enjoy the cruise!

The Love Boat Bachelor will be released–with its final chapter–on Kindle. Watch for it there.
Release date: February 14, 2015
Available as a FREE download for three (3) days! –I can’t wait.

The Love Boat Bachelor Needs You

As this posts, we’re moving in to the final two days of the chapter releases for The Love Boat Bachelor. I hope you’ve had a chance to read them. Maybe you already have a favorite! Well, after tomorrow’s chapter is released, you’ll have a chance to vote. Please do! It’s like Dancing With the Stars. The contestants perform, the judges give them points, but the callers choose the winner. 
Which chapter touched your heart? Which heroine belongs with Brent Teague? It’s up to you.
Team writing a story like A Dozen Apologies and The Love Boat Bachelor is surprisingly fun. It’s interesting to see where the other authors take the story. I feel both honored and humbled to work alongside such talented writers. 
Don’t forget, The Love Boat Bachelor will be available as a free download on Kindle, February 14th – 17th
After it’s all done, please check out other works by these authors. Several of them have multiple books published, and include a number of my favorite reads from the past year or so.
Jerusha Agen

Jerusha Agen brought Brent Teague to life in last year’s A Dozen Apologies. Her opening chapter in The Love Boat Bachelor draws you in to the story.

You’re there with Brent as he fights the temptation to flee before he ever boards the ship. Jerusha Agen has also written the Sisters Redeemed Series, —This Dance, This Shadow, and This Redeemer. She also collaborated on: A Ruby Christmas, and A Dozen Apologies.

For more information about Jerusha Agen, visit her Website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

   Our greatest wish is that you are entertained and blessed by our stories. If you enjoy these books, please consider recommending them to your friends.

You don’t need a ticket for this cruise, just a link to the website, like this one:
Chapter Seven Port of Call: Barbados

E-mail to Roselle: From Barbados

Port of Call: Bridgetown, Barbados with Lacy Dickinson 

Monday’s Chapter Six:

Chapter Six Port of Call: Bonaire

E-mail to Roselle: From Bonaire

Last Week’s links