Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A new venture...

The latest writing venture...a new blog where we can talk about other authors as well as offer great give-aways: TreasureLine Books & Publishing. I've had to put my own writing on hold somewhat but seeing the dreams of other authors come true is making it all worthwhile. The blog begins with a giveaway: "Coffee & A Copy" where someone will win a signed copy of Jackie Bullen's "Memories Outloud" and a bag of specialty coffee just for sharing a memory! I hope you will join us there and be patient with me as all these new pursuits get underway. I am actually continuing to work on my own writing behind the scenes. Writers write because they have to!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Write Me A Love Story

Ever since he’d found out what she did for a living, Lance Dixon had been dogging her to write a story about him. Carmen Collier was quickly becoming very irritated with the otherwise overall well-pleasing man. Oh yes, Lance was handsome. He had sparkling ocean blue eyes and dark, wavy hair; perfect for the main character to run her fingers through. His smile was disarming, framed by full lips that her eyes might feast upon before they lavished upon her the most tender of kisses. He was tall but not too, athletically built yet not in an intimidating way. Oh he would be the perfect hero in one of Carmen’s stories or novels if description alone was all that was needed.

Carmen Collier was a romance writer; the queen of fluffy, happy-ever-after stories. Yet she required more than a pretty face to help her fashion a real-life person into a full-fledged fictional character.

“Whatcha workin’ on?” Lance asked, sliding into the seat across the table and flashing that gorgeous smile her way.

“Why are you here, Lance? You’re never here on Tuesdays,” she retorted to the owner of the Coffee Garden, the little shop with tables ideally situated among a garden-like setting where Carmen had, until recently, enjoyed mornings of Espresso, croissants, and writing. Lance had purchased the unusual shop about a month and a half ago and begun to “befriend” his regular customers. Most of them loved the attention lavished on them by the handsome owner. Even Carmen hadn’t minded the brief chit-chatty moments at first.

Then she’d made the mistake of bringing him a copy of her latest book and topping that by telling him that her characters quite often walk onto the pages from real-life collisions with actual people.

“Will I find my way into one of your stories?” he’d asked.

“Perhaps,” Carmen had flirted a bit. “Just what type of story would you like to see yourself in, Mr. Dixon?”

“Oh that’s easy,” he’d shot back. “A lovely little romantic interlude between the handsome Coffee Garden owner, new to town and the business, and the wildly famous romance author whose very appearance takes his breath away.”

Carmen had stared at him for a moment; the word-wielder was stumped for a comeback. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of his request, or the way his eyes washed over her, or the way his foot rested against hers under the table. Was he truly making reference to the two of them? At last she’d chosen humor to rescue her from uncertainty.

“You know any women that would fit that description because I’m afraid I’m just not quite wrapping my head around a character quite like that. Must be the blonde hair.” She’d looked down at the light reddish-brown hair that cascaded off her shoulder. “Hmm. Or not...” He’d laughed and left her with a “Funny girl,” comment.

But the next morning he’d been right back in the seat across from her asking if she’d written him a story yet.

“Sorry. It takes inspiration,” she said shaking her head. “I’m not a formula writer like some. I write from my heart.”

“Ah,” he nodded. “Time…and something to inspire you.”

“Precisely. Now go away so I don’t lose my current train of thought. Josh Green is working up the nerve to plant an unexpected kiss on the unsuspecting Caroline French. Important stuff in the world of fluffy romance.” She’d smiled as he looked at her with a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding kind of look. He’d smiled back, shaking his head as he left her table to visit with other customers.

Each day as she broke her fast at the Garden, he’d join her and ask. Every time she’d answer the same. That morning she was particularly irritated as the story she was working on was giving her fits; a pivotal point of pieces she could not get to fit in her mind.

“Lance! I’m not going to write you a love story just because you ask me to. I can’t do that! I don’t work that way. I need inspiration. I need…”

Lance stood quickly from his spot opposite her and walked to stand beside her chair. She stared up at him with crinkled brows unsure of the expression on his face. Then, without warning, he grasped her upper arms and gently pulled her to him.

“Lance…” One arm encircled her, holding her tightly as the fingers of his other hand walked expertly up her spine and into the curly mass of her gorgeous reddish-brown hair. Their eyes remained locked; hers dreamily expectant, his warmly mischievous. Slowly he lowered his mouth to hers. She could feel the smile on his lips as they met. She didn’t care. All she cared about was melting into him and the way he was making her feel.

When at last he pulled away, Carmen felt as if her knees were too weak to support her. She continued to lean against him.

“Is that enough inspiration for the famous author?” he whispered against her hair that tickled his cheek.

“It’s a good start,” Carmen said at last. “But sometimes I have to go over these things again and again before I get my head fully wrapped around them. You available for further research?”

“It is my day off,” he answered. “I have time if you do…”

“Carmen? Carmen?!” she heard her name being said over and over. Her eyes snapped open. Bewildered, she looked up at the smiling face of the handsome barista from the little espresso shop.

“Oh! Lance! Sorry,” she laughed, embarrassed at her complete absorption. “I was just…I had a thought running through my head.”

“It looked like a good one.” Oh his smile was so inviting. “How’s that class going? Did you get your romance story written that you were working on last week?”

“It’s due tomorrow. I was having trouble with the idea but it seems I finally got my inspiration after walking in the door of the Coffee Garden.”

“Well,” he spoke mischievously, “I’d sure like to think I was able to help. Maybe someday you’ll be a famous author and you can write a story about me.”

Carmen giggled nervously and Lance thought perhaps he saw a slight stain of a blush creeping into her cheeks. He sat her cup on the table, winked, and waltzed off to wait on the other customers.

Carmen watched him intently. “Someday,” she thought. “Someday may be sooner than you think.” She began to write him into her love story featuring herself as the leading female main character.

The following is a work of fiction. All characters and events are fictitious. Any similarities to real persons is entirely coincidental…

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Queen Elizabeth Friendship

Okay, I am NOT friends with Queen Elizabeth. Sorry if that was misleading. I do, however, have a friendship that has blossomed around a Queen Elizabeth rose. Last week my doorbell rang and I opened it to find my 94 year old friend, Evelyn Strong, standing on my porch with a rose bush in her hands....a Queen Elizabeth rose bush that she had purchased for me to plant in my yard as a living reminder of our friendship. I love this woman.

I met Evelyn 7 years ago when my oldest daughter went into 2nd grade. She just so happened to be a fairly permanent volunteer in Mrs. Dugan's classroom and, while she fostered relationships with all the children in the classroom, it was my then two year old tagging along to take big sis to school everyday who won her heart. They bonded in a big way. My friend Nina Wilcox Mota once said when people love your children you love them. I paraphrased, of course, but that was the gist of her statement. It's true. Seeing the love that passed between my little girl and Mrs. Strong sealed our relationship as well.

Now many of you may not know but I spent several years creating custom designed greeting cards. I often gave new designs and samples to Mrs. Strong as a little "just because." One of those cards featured a beautiful Queen Elizabeth rose...a card near to my heart because it was created from a photograph I took of my neighbor's rose. He was an older gentleman caring for his wife. We often visited over the back fence, he put up with my dogs, made us pumpkin pies, and shared his own writing with me. He also loved his roses. I was working on a set of those cards for him when he passed on...his family used them as thank you notes after his funeral... bittersweet. Mrs. Strong loved those cards. When Christmas rolled around she had me create several sets for gifts and most recently ordered two more sets (I still do cards on request). Along with her card sets, I surprised her with a copy of my book Becoming... which just so happens to feature that rose on the cover. She was thrilled.

Evelyn Strong has touched many lives. My story Big Shoes To Fill is based on her. When I gave her a copy of my co-authored Time Out On A Roller Coaster and told her the story was based on her, she told me she'd always been accused of having big feet! What a wonderful sense of humor she has. And how very blessed I have been to have been touched by this wonderful woman.

Last year Mrs. Strong moved up to 3rd Grade along with Mrs. Dugan. She will tell you it was not an easy move. I can tell you it was a "God move" because guess who entered 3rd grade this year and was placed in Mrs. Dugan's classroom? That's right. My daughter....the one who was the two year old tag along.
KJRH Channel 2 in Tulsa ran a story on Mrs. Strong not too long ago. If you follow THIS LINK it will take you to the story. There's a video also. Both very worth your time.

God bless you, Evelyn Strong. Thank you for being a part of our lives.