Please welcome with me our Guest Author — Diane Burton
What is it about change that is so scary? We get very comfortable doing the same thing in the same place. Change takes us out of that comfort zone. Yet without change, we grow complacent and stagnate.
I read an inspirational quote on the bottom of a calendar once that pretty much summed up the attitude I should take. Roughly paraphrased, it said: Change is all around us. It’s how we deal with change that matters.
You would think I’d be used to change. During my husband’s career, we moved five times. Only five? Geez, I thought it was more. Felt like more. Each time, in a flurry of getting a house ready for sale, finding a new house, saying good-bye to friends and family, I worried about what my new life would be like.
At our first move, I met a woman who said she cried for the first six months she was in this new place. Whoa. I couldn’t imagine that. Yes, change is hard. Our first move was exciting. A great opportunity for my husband, a new adventure. The second move was “back home”. That was so great. Close to family and long-time friends again. That didn’t last. Off again to a new place. The bloom on the rose was fading. The next time was the hardest. I was not just leaving the life I’d established in that community, the kids weren’t coming with us. They were either in college or had just graduated and had the choice. Their choice was they weren’t moving there. Leaving without my children was the worst. I was obnoxious to my husband about moving again. But, when he said I could stay and he would come home on weekends (like a lot of men his age did), my attitude changed. I had a choice. So, I pasted on a “happy” face, found us a new home, and moved. Only to do it all over again two years later.
I read one of those allegorical stories about a couple who were entering a town to which they were considering moving. They met a couple leaving and asked them about the town. “You’ll hate it here. It’s the worst place we’ve ever lived. Glad to be leaving.” The first couple continued on and came upon another couple leaving. When asked about the town, this couple said, “You’ll love it here. It’s a wonderful place to live. We hate leaving.” It’s all about attitude.
The best part of our moves was how many new opportunities I had. But, I had to look for them. I had to go out of my comfort zone, find interests, go to meetings, make myself part of the community. Easy, no. Necessary, absolutely, if I wanted to make the best of a new situation.
Willingness to make a change is key. Not a spur of the moment, regret later change. Rather, it’s weighing the pros and cons before making that change. Then, a willingness to try something new.
Change is all around the characters in Switched Resolution, the third book in the Switched series. Jessie is pregnant; Marcus has to adjust to her pregnancy (not exactly for guys on Earth, let alone a guy raised on another planet) plus he has to convince his mother, sister and his twin’s friends that he’s Scott. Too many people know Scott is masquerading as their starship captain; Veronese is adjusting to being in love. Meanwhile, rebels stole their starship and they have to get it back. Change causes disruptions and can make all of them stronger . . . if they let it.
Blurb for Switched Resolution
Actions have consequences as Space Fleet Captain Marcus Viator and NASA reject Scott Cherella discover when they switch places. Switched Resolution, which wraps up the Switched series, takes the reader from Earth—where Marcus adjusts to a pregnant Jessie—to the starship Freedom commandeered by rebels, to the chase ship with Scott and Veronese aboard.
Excerpt from Switched Resolution
A bright red convertible, its top down, turned off the dirt road into Jessie’s drive. Her large black puppy of indeterminate heritage went into protect-his-territory mode. Max, who according to Jessie was a mixture of Labrador retriever and Irish Setter, began his usual frenzied barking, which alerted anyone within hearing range that an intruder was present.
“Speaking of your mother . . .” Jessie nodded to the approaching vehicle. “She loves that car. Your sister hates it. She thinks your mom is losing it because she traded in your dad’s Lexus for a Mustang. Okay, Marcus, this is your big test. Can you fool your mother into believing you’re Scott?”
“I will have to, won’t I?” Until he decided to tell his mother the truth, he would have to deceive her into believing he was his twin. Just as Scott would have to deceive Marcus’ crew.
As the car came to a stop, Jessie said softly, “He always teases her about buying it so she can pick up guys. Drives your sister nuts. Oh, and he always kisses her on her right cheek and ask how’s his favorite girl. And don’t forget to speak with a drawl, like we practiced. When Scott was with NASA, he lived in Houston and sounds—”
“—like that actor Tommy Lee Jones whose movies we watch every night. Haven’t you told me all this fifty million times?” He grinned, pleased that he remembered a colloquialism she used often.
“Total exaggeration, on both counts. We have more interesting things to do at night than watch movies. We have to make up for lost time.”
Her knowing smile sent flares of sexual awareness shooting through him. Oh, yes, much more interesting things.
Six long months of lost time. Time while she despaired of him returning. Time they would never get back. Despite the fact that the breakout of war was not his fault, he could not control the guilt he felt over her anguish. If his superiors had had their way, she would still fear he would never return. If it wasn’t for his twin . . .
As hard as he found it to assimilate himself into life on Earth, Marcus often wondered how his twin fared as captain of the Freedom. Each time Marcus thought of the enormity of what he had done, he worried about the ship, the crew. What if— Maybe he should have—
No. This was where he wanted to be. Here, on Earth, on a farm near Ann Arbor, Michigan. With Jessie and their unborn babies. It truly was. He had no regrets.
“Max,” Jessie yelled at the barking dog. “Friend.”
The animal dropped to his haunches, tail wagging, tongue lolling. There were times, not often, when the dog actually obeyed. After the woman got out of the car, she stooped and petted Max who sat obediently for three seconds before tearing off after a flock of birds. His big feet—which Jessie said he hadn’t grown into yet—tangled, and he tripped. He rolled over, flipped back onto his feet, shook himself off and raced after the birds.
Laughing over the dog’s antics, Gloria Cherella—the woman from whom Marcus had received half his genetic makeup—walked toward the workshop, her head high, spine straight, with a little bounce to her step. She wore a red and white checked blouse tucked into the waist of blue jean capris and white tennis shoes. Her golden brown hair, cut in a short bob, feathered her plump cheeks. Nicely rounded, with laugh lines around her eyes and upturned mouth, Gloria Cherella was a sharp contrast to his Serenian “mother”, with her worried eyes, pinched mouth and tightly-controlled manner. From Gloria’s face, Marcus could see her open happiness.
Imitating his twin’s loose-limbed stride, Marcus went to meet her. He kissed her on the correct cheek and said what his brother always did.
Giggling, she patted his cheek. “I should hope not, Scottie dear. Jessie should be your favorite girl.”
Doing his best to mimic Scott’s drawl, Marcus said, “Ah can have two fav’rits, can’t Ah, dahlin’?”
Then he smiled at Jessie, giving her a special look. She responded with a special look of her own, reminding him of their kiss and of what they would do that night instead of watching movies. By the stars, how he loved that woman.
His mother looked from one to the other before squeezing his arm. “Go on with you.”
“How was your trip, Mrs. C.?” Jessie had gone behind her workbench while Gloria approached.
He wondered if she had done so to give him time to greet . . . his mother. How odd that sounded.
“I had a marvelous time. You absolutely must go on a cruise to Australia. Absolutely beautiful. Sydney! Melbourne! Cairns! Fabulous, absolutely fabulous! You know, it’s Autumn there. The scenery. Oh my. I took an obscene number of pictures to bore you with. I love the digital camera you gave me, Scottie. No film to mess with. You know how your father insisted on taking all the pictures. He said cameras were too complicated for me.” She gave Marcus a sly grin. “I wish he could have seen me. It was so easy.” Her expression changed. “If he were here, we never would’ve gone on that tour. He didn’t want to leave the U.S.”
How odd to hear casual references to the man who had hated Marcus’ very presence, who had heaped guilt on his mother, and demanded that she abandon the babe she had so desperately wanted. After a moment he realized he was thinking of his Serenian father while Gloria referred to her husband, Marcus’ biological parent.
An uncomfortable silence ensued until she again glanced at Jessie then aimed a pointed look at him. “I’m glad you finally came to your senses and decided to marry Jessie. I always knew you would do the right thing. Like your father, despite his faults, you are a good man. I wish he could’ve lived to see you settled down.”
Grief passed across her eyes. Marcus had no idea what to do.
“We really should have said something to your sister about letting us tell your mom our good news.” Once again, Jessie saved him.
Gloria’s momentary sadness disappeared and she laughed. “Do you think that would have stopped her? I know my daughter. I love her dearly, but she never could keep a secret.”
“Ah’m sorry, M-Mom,” he stumbled over the word. “We shoulda told ya first.”
She cocked her head at him then smiled. “As long as you invite me to the wedding, I’m fine. Now, Jessie dear, I know your parents will want to take care of everything, but I would dearly love to help. I hope you will let me.”
From his observations of Jessie’s parents, Marcus rather doubted any assistance would come from that quarter.
“Of course,” Jessie said. “I’d love your help.”
“I’m just so excited that my baby is finally getting married.” To his surprise, she hugged him again.
As he was quickly discovering, Terrans often hugged. An unusual occurrence for him. He tried to relax and return the embrace of the woman who should have raised him. Max returned from bird chasing and began bumping Marcus’ leg then Gloria’s in a bid for attention. When they ignored him, the dog tried Jessie. She shooed him away.
Gloria held out her arms to Jessie who seemed to have no qualms about accepting a hug. “Oh, I can’t wait to see that grandbaby. May I?”
She reached toward Jessie’s protruding abdomen. Jessie took her hand and brought it to rest on top. Gloria’s eyes widened, and she quickly removed her hand. “It kicked. Oh, my goodness.” She giggled and touched again. “Active.”
“Oh, yes.” Jessie laughed. “Very active.”
“Do you know what it is yet?”
“I—We want to be surprised,” Jessie said. “We can tell you we’re having twins.”
Gloria jerked her hand away as if burned. “Twins?”
She actually stumbled back against Marcus. He put his arm around her to steady her and felt her tremble.
“Are you okay, Mom?” He was surprised how right it felt to call Gloria that.
Jessie ran back into the garage and brought out a canvas chair. As he eased his mother into it, Jessie asked, “What happened?”
Gloria touched her temple. “I’m being silly. Pay me no mind.”
“Seriously, Mrs. C. Did Max trip you?”
“No, no. It’s nothing.”
Jessie went back into the garage and came out with a paper cup. “Here’s some water. Do you think the heat got to you?” The late April day, which started out cool, had gotten progressively warmer.
“No.” Gloria took a sip of water. “Hearing about twins always . . . affects me. I—I thought I was going to have twins. When I was pregnant with you, Scottie.” She patted his hand.
Since he and his twin had switched places, Marcus often had to remind Jessie to call him Scott. More often than not, she called him an endearment, like honey. Hearing his own mother call him by another’s name seemed . . . wrong.
Gloria cleared her throat. “One day, I felt— I can’t explain it. I felt different. The doctor said he must have been mistaken about twins. When you were born, I was so sure there would be another baby.” She pulled a tissue out of her pocket and dabbed at her eyes. “Don’t listen to me, Jessie dear. Nothing will happen to your babies.”
Marcus knelt beside her and held her hand. It seemed like the right thing to do. He knew exactly what had happened all those years ago, and anger surged through him as her words reminded him of the Gemini Experiment. Only a lifetime of controlling his emotions enabled him to conceal visible evidence of hatred for the one who had stolen his mother’s baby. Her other baby. Him.
Switched Resolution is available at:
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing science fiction romance. Besides the Switched series, she is the author of The Pilot, a series about strong women on the frontier of space. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren. For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
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Thank you Diane for taking the time to drop by my blog today and share with us. We wish you the best of luck with your writing.