TGIF…Heroes

One of the less talked about heroes in my stories is probably Derek Smythe from A Country Kitchen Christmas. Mainly because this is a short story. I wrote it for a Christmas short story contest one of my writing chapter members puts on almost every year. The criteria was it had to be 10K words or less, set in the south, be based or at least inspired by your favorite Christmas story or dereksmythemovie. To make it more interesting I decided to make this an Inspirational romance. I never thought I could do one and I felt it was very light on the elements, but from the negative reviews I got it was more than enough for some readers to not like it. But let’s get back to Derek Smythe our hero.

Ten thousand words doesn’t give much room to go into great detail about the characters, but Derek didn’t need much.  He fell in love with Penelope Anders in high school, but was too shy to tell her. Instead he spent time staring at her from afar, but she noticed and it annoyed her. Then after high school when her aunt passed away and Penelope was forced to auction the farm off to pay taxes, Derek decided to use his college fund to save Penelope’s home. The only problem was she didn’t want the farm saved. She couldn’t wait to get out of Crater’s Corners.

It isn’t until Penelope finds herself in a pickle and is forced to return to Crater’s Corners and the Anders farm for Christmas that she sees Derek again. You see, Miss Penelope has been writing a very successful Country Kitchen Cooking blog for the Southern Cooking Channel. Everything is going fine until she’s informed that the new CEO ran a contest giving one lucky winner the opportunity to spend Christmas with her at the Anders farm (oops!).  The CEO even decides to broadcast a live cooking show from the farm where Penelope and the winner cook dinner. Another big Oops because Penelope can’t cook. She’s been using her aunt’s unfinished cookbook manuscript to pass herself off as a cook.

Have you figured out what Christmas story this is based on yet? I’ll give you a hint: It’s a Barbara Stanwyck movie.

When Derek bought the farm it was in need of many repairs and he’s spent the last several years trying to maintain the place. His bank account has taken a hit and he’s regretting his hasty decision to save the place for Penelope. Ready to throw in the towel, he prays for God to show him the answer. When the producer of the Southern Cooking Channel shows up on Derek’s doorstep wanting him to allow Penelope to return to the farm to fulfill the terms of the contest he agrees only if he gets a new roof and septic system for the farm. The producer calls his bluff and his prayer is answered.

If you haven’t read about Derek and Penelope then I won’t spoil the story by telling you more. You can pick it up for 99 cents at Amazon.  And as for the Barbara Stanwyck movie you can catch it on Turner Classic Movies in December. It’s a real treat. I love it about as much as Jimmy Stewart in The Shop Around the Corner.

 

What are You Reading Thursday?

Today I’ve been reading a very good review for one of my books Because of Rebecca. I just happened upon it over at Amazon and couldn’t believe it. It is always a nice surprise to get a great review and to see what others think about your work.

She gave me a 4 star rating, but I clearly feel that her words make it more of a 5 star in my opinion. I do not know who this reviewer is other than the username she uses when posting at Amazon. However, I’d like to thank you for these insightful comments. Here are her words verbatim:

Rebecca Davis’ life is one built on, and shaped by the secrets that she keeps. 
There is just one problem with that however.
The secrets…are not hers to keep.

Because of Rebecca offers so much more story than one is used to in Southern-based Historical Romance.
The ladies in this book are far from the wilting wallflowers, swooning and batting their eyes suggestively at every man they see. These heroines(and yes, there are many) are forces of nature in frilly petticoats. Rebecca Davis is a woman unafraid to live her life by her convictions. Even if doing so could leave her a spinster; in one case. Or even cost her life. Rebecca’s aunt, Josephine, is a woman haunted by a secret in her past as well. A secret that has had farther reaching consequences than she could have ever imagined. A secret that like Rebecca, she believes has doomed her to a life without love.

Jared Hollingsworth, a plantation owner in the old south, running his plantation with new rules. Rules which fly directly in the face of his slave owning counterparts. Rules which label him a pariah among the good southern gentry of Mississippi. Rory Hollingsworth, a man whose secrets could prove the most damaging to everyone involved. A man who is the catalyst for a chain of events that will change each person’s life forever.

This is an awesome story with more twists than a hedge-maze, more secrets than the CIA, and more romance than Cupid. 

Rebecca and Josephine are real women, with real fears, hopes, and dreams. This makes them very likeable. Jared and Rory are two sides to the same coin. Although they go about their lives in decidedly different ways. This novel takes great pains to address the evils of such hot button topics as: slavery, death in childbirth, and illegitimacy. The thing that makes this author’s treatment of these topic different from others being that there are no quick fixes. The characters are allowed to live with their choices and the consequences of said choices for better or worse; while still pursuing the joys of hearth, home, and children. 

The passion in this read is not of the firecracker or bodice ripper variety. This would be more of a story wrapped slow burn. It is there, but you have to wait for it.

Wow… I don’t know what else to say about this review except wow.

Guest Author Monday

Today please welcome our Guest Author — Marcia King-Gamble

What’s love got to do with it?  Anyone remember those lyrics made famous by singer, Tina Turner?

Over the years, I’ve thought about those exact words and wondered if there was truth to them.  As a writer and a people watcher I have a tendency to look at couples while they’re out and about. Watching people interact help me create stories in my head.  Over time I’ve begun to wonder what brings people together and what makes them stay.  I want to believe that love is a powerful emotion, however I’ve come to the realization that sometimes it just isn’t so.   Based on behaviors I’m beginning to wonder if love even entered the equation.

Yes, I know it’s a strange thing for a romance writer to say. We’re supposed to believe in opposites attracting, and the powerful pull of chemistry. We’re supposed to believe in happily ever after.  And I do.  But what about the old baggage that surfaces, the stuff that prevents us from really connecting and falling in love?

If you’re like me, you need a mental and physical connection.  Pretty on the outside, though appealing, has never swayed me. I prefer prettier on the inside.  I don’t care how much money a person has or how perfect the package appears to be, I’m all about show me don’t tell me. Because I know what’s perfect for you may not be perfect for me.

This brings me to why I am here today, wondering why so many of us settle.  Disillusionment maybe or to protect our hearts?  We settle for fear of loneliness. We settle because being single means being a loser.  We settle for financial reasons and we settle because the evil that we know outweighs what we don’t know.  And perhaps if we’re not engaged emotionally, it’s easier to get out.  No wonder the current divorce rate.

When I set out to write my upcoming release, I thought about all this. I had this vague story in the back of my mind and I didn’t know where it would go. I looked around and saw kids so grossly overweight because of poor eating habits, and I thought here’s a story waiting to be told; one about childhood obesity and damaged hearts. Now how could I marry the two in a way readers would understand?

The result of this reflection culminated in my September release, titled, Baby I want you.    The story is about a retired athlete who appears to have everything.  Faced with a second chance at love, Palmer Freeman is reluctant to go there. He’s been cheated on.  Now his focus is on expanding his growing empire and certainly not on love.  He adores his two daughters, but one he doesn’t understand. His twelve year old is more interested in food than people or education. Georgia, the older, is his sensible, model child.

Set on Anastasia Island in the St. Augustine area of Florida, hero, Palmer Freeman is expanding his land holdings. He’s amassed wealth because of the products he endorses. Palmer is most passionate about fitness. Savannah, his problem child doesn’t fit his image.

What Palmer does not anticipate is the almost instant connection between, Savannah and the neighbor whose property he’s been after.  He fights his attraction to Anais, the city “girl,” but soon he realizes the attraction is much more than physical. It’s based on respect for her tenacity and her ability to hold her own.

Predictably, at the end, love does conquer all.  But to get there risks are taken and hearts placed on the line. Hero and heroine must take chances, and like the real world must do the work needed to sustain a relationship. They don’t settle and neither should you.

Love in their case is not a secondhand emotion. Nor is it a sweet old-fashioned notion.  Love is the powerful emotion that makes them risk their hearts.

Dinner PicMarcia King-Gamble is a national bestselling author of 27 novels and four novellas. She invites you to visit her at www.lovemarcia.com and like her Facebook page.

Thanks for joining us today, Marcia!  We’ve enjoyed having you.

Sunday Sundaes

I went to another bridal shower today. I have not two, but three cousins getting married in the next two months. Two are getting married on the same day as I found out today. I know I’m invited to one of those weddings so I hope if I get invited to the other that they are not at the same time. It’s an excited time for these girls and their families. And then there is the one cousin who is single that everyone is trying to set her up with someone and she isn’t interested. She’s working and going to school and she said she doesn’t have time for dating. I totally get where she is coming from. She’s perfectly content with being single. When the time is right I’m sure she’ll know it.